Sosei Partners (Tono) 9/6 ~ 9/9


Sosei Partners gathered 13 participants from 8 countries to contribute to the revitalization of a beautiful city in Iwate Prefecture --Tono. Yesterday, the members gathered early in the morning at Tokyo Station, feeling nervous but mostly excited to finally head to Tono! 


The sky was cloudy, and the temperature was much lower than we had expected; however, we enjoyed the beautiful view of the mountains and rice fields that surrounded the city center. We were greeted by the president of NPO Tono Yamasato Net who taught us about the origins of Tono and some of the critical issues Tono faces today.


In the afternoon, we had a lovely time trying Hittsumi, a traditional dish of Tono, at Ito-ke, and later headed for the Tono Municipal Museum to learn about the Tono folklore and the traditional lifestyles in mountains, outlying villages, and downtown areas a few hundred years ago.

Afterwards, we walked around the town, trying local ice cream topped with doburoku along the way, and discussed our first impressions of Tono, some of the issues we saw, and the direction we should head with our project. 

At night, we finally met our lovely hosts who welcomed us with open arms. Talking to them, tasting the local food, and experiencing the rural lifestyle, far different from the fast-paced lifestyle of Tokyo, was definitely the highlight of the day!





遠野市 2日目

We gathered at Tono Furusato Village today for a short tour of a tourist attraction that displays the cultural heritage and lifestyles of Tono back in the old days. We learnt about the traditional techniques of smoking straw-thatched roofs, the architecture of magariya- a house in which humans and horses live together, and other interesting facts. After which, under the guidance of a local grandmother, we knead our own soba dough from soba and buckwheat flour, and boiled it into soba noodles for lunch. 


We were split into two groups- one went out into the city to do a survey of the top tourists attractions, whereas the other discussed about how we can better improve the current facilities, and better promote the city as a whole. Tono faces a multitude of problems, but at the same time is bestowed with rich natural, cultural and historical resources. We believe that Tono has the potential to revitalize if we apply the right strategy, while working closely with the locals. 




遠野市 三日目

Today we experienced the real, authentic beauty of Tono by riding our bikes along the bright green rice fields; our cameras were glued to our hands, hoping to capture even a fraction of what we were seeing in front of us. 


We visited the Tono Mirai Zukuri College that uses a closed junior high school campus as a community space to promote interaction and create a deeper value to Tono City. We split into three groups to discuss and suggest various ideas to utilize their space.

In the afternoon, one group visited a sake brewery, another learned about ongoing projects of Tono at the Tourist Center, and another visited local farms, known as “drop-by farmers”.


We finally headed back to our host-family’s house to fully enjoy the local lifestyle and talk to our host-family for the last night. We shared our thoughts and ideas of Tono, and expressed our vision for a sustainable future of the city.






遠野市 四日目

On our last day in Tono, we made a presentation to the locals about our thoughts and feedback about Tono, and also our suggestions to make it a more attractive place for tourists. Although our trip ends here, I believe this is just the beginning of our relationship with Tono.