Sightseeing and activity spots
Yuhazu Spring, the source of the Kitakami River, and Mido Kannon
(Kitakamizan Shintsuho-ji Shogakuin Temple of the Tendai sect)
The Kitakami River runs from the north part of Iwate down to the south and into Miyagi where it flows into the Pacific Ocean at Ishinomaki. It is the 4th longest river in all of Japan with a length of 250km.
Yuhazu spring is the source of this river.
There is a legend that long ago in the Heian Period, a warrior named Hachimantaro Yoshiie came north to battle the powerful Abe clan in Tohoku. After a long day in the hot sun, he struck the crook of his bow (Yuhazu in Japanese) into a rock, from which then sprang forth water, forming Yuhazu Spring. There is a statue of the bodhisattva Kannon here that is said to have been brought by Yoshiie and donated to this temple where he worshipped.
Happy Hills Farm
This is one of the few large-scale dairy farms in Iwate. The cows at this farm eat special feed that is made here so their milk has a subtle sweet flavor and is exceptionally delicious. These cows are bred using the latest technologies and visitors can view the excellent environment where they live.
Omachi Shopping Street
This is the central shopping area of the Numakunai district of Iwate. This area once prospered as a post town along the Oshu Kaido. Vestiges of this time still remain with the line of old traditional houses on this street. On the first Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in October every year, this area is host to the Iwate Town Fall Festival. This festival features multiple traditional folk performances including the Koma Dance, Shishi Dance, Nanatsu Dance, as well as the Kitakamigawa Seiryudaiko Drumming Group. There are also amazing traditional floats paraded through the town in the old Nambu fashion with dolls and artificial flowers covering them. During the day this parade of floats and traditional dances fills the streets with rich pageantry. Don’t miss it!
There is a local legend that 1200 years ago a giant serpent had its lair near here. A human sacrifice was needed to appease this serpent, and a woman had been chosen. This woman’s daughter, Yoriju, chose to sacrifice herself in place of her mother. Her story is celebrated here, and her name was given to the public hall on the Omachi Shopping Street. There is a bronze statue of Yoriju and paintings of the legend on the wall.
This renovated traditional storehouse was first built in 1890 in the center of the Omachi Shopping Street and was originally called Numahyo Gofukuten. Now it is a restaurant serving locally sourced food. Enjoy the relaxing hardwood environment while you dine.
Wakuwaku Salon Joi
This building was originally the residence of the Numahyo Gofukuten that was also built in 1890 in the Omachi area of Numakunai in Iwate. It was remodeled into a Japanese-style lounge and event space 15 years ago. In the local Japanese dialect, Joi means lounge. (Wakuwaku means excitement.) So they selected the name Wakuwaku salon Joi.
This is the largest farm in the town of Iwate where visitors can enjoy dairy farm activities and try making sausages with no additives. This vast area of pasture is completely free of pesticides and agricultural chemicals, so cows are raised in a natural, healthy environment free of stress. Just gazing at the cows grazing there might dissolve the stress of your daily life as well.
A bronze statue of Keiko Sonoi
Keiko Sonoi was a top star of the all-female Takarazuka theatre troupe, and later became a film actress. The most well-known among the films she appeared in was Muhomatsu no Issho, starring Tsumasaburō Bandō. During World War II she was part of a theatre group that was touring around Japan giving performances during the wartime. She was performing in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped and ended her life there at the tender age of 32. In 1996 a bronze statue of her was built here, where lived in her youth and dreamed of her future. Then in May of 2019 she was inducted into the Takarazuka Theatre Troupe’s Hall of Fame.
Niku no Fugane Kawaguchi Factory
The main restaurant in Numakunai is the origin of the local Numakunai-style offal, which is very popular. (Offal is a very popular local dish and is called “horumon” in Japanese. The root isn’t from the English hormone, but rather a word in the Kansai dialect meaning something that is thrown away, as intestines used to be discarded before people in Japan learned to love eating them.) Now, 55 years after the founding of this restaurant, a new factory and shop was opened in the Kawaguchi area of Iwate and has succeeded in producing the first cured unheated additive-free Cecina in all of Japan. The popularity of this delicious Iwate shorthorn beef is spreading throughout the world.
Ishigami no Oka Roadside Station and Ishigami no Oka Art Museum
This roadside station is located on National Route 4 along the Numakunai Bypass. They have a great selection of local items from Iwate including fresh fruits and vegetables as well and mountain greens and other local products. The attached Iwate Town Ishigami no Oka Art Museum has a permanent outdoor exhibition of sculptures as well as regularly scheduled exhibitions introducing authors that are connected to Iwate. The lavender fields are particularly famous, and the area is beautiful throughout the year with various flower blooming and the leaves changing in the fall. (*The outdoor exhibit is closed for remodeling until early summer 2020.)