Taneyamagahara in Iwate

A plateau where you can meet "Matasaburo of the Wind"

By Kyoko Nishi    - 2 min read

 450km from Tokyo north along the Tohoku Expressway, transfer from the Mizusawa IC to National Route 397 and head 30km east. After several minutes along the highway, as you ascend the narrow mountain road, all of a sudden before your eyes is a vast open grassland. Here is Taneyamagahara. This wonder of nature encouraged Miyazawa Kenji to write the novel "Matasaburo of the Wind" (風の又三郎). The 800m high altitude plateau spans Iwate Prefecture's Oshu City, Sumita Town, and Tono City.

The setting is described in the words of the novel:

Wind, blow hard, blow hard!
Set the green walnuts flying
And the sour quinces flying
Wind, blow hard, blow hard!

In early June before the rainy season visits, the pleateau is sparse and the sky seems endless. The sound of wind fills the surroundings, encouraging dandelions to dance gracefully from one side. It would not be a surprise to see "Matasaburo of the Wind" riding the breeze in such a magical scene.

At Tanayamagahara in Iwate Prefecture, you can take in Miyazawa Kenji's "Landscape of Ihatov", a plateau designated in 2006 as a national spot of beauty. Ihatov ( イーハトーブ) is a fictional land that was born from Kenji's imagination. It is a place where beautiful nature sometimes becomes angry at the humans it is raising. This anger can express itself as farewell or death. Nevertheless, in the utopia of Ihatov the two characters representing the word despair 「絶望」 do not exist. Since Japan experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, the world has once again been attracted to the world view of Kenji.

At Taneyamagahara, you can enjoy things such as hiking, bird watching, camping, and other outdoor activites. At night, look up to the starry skies of the heavens and imagine the galatic railroad (a reference to another Miyazawa novel) chugging across the Milky Way. The world of Kenji Miyazawa continues to attract admirers throughout the generations.

Nearby facilities include a restaurant, store, area for bathing, campground, and lodge. Note that the area can only be accessed by car, there is no public transportation.

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Justin Velgus

Justin Velgus @justin.velgus

Justin Velgus (ジャスティン ベルガス) is the Miyagi Prefecture Partner for Japan Travel and a longterm contributor since 2012 with a focus on the Tohoku region.  Justin has written extensively for JT, and other publications such as VisitMiyagi and Sake Today, amassing over 350 published articles introducing the travel and culture of the region. Justin's wealth of experience and knowledge comes from studying in Akita, teaching English in Miyagi through the JET Program, and promoting sake overseas for the government of Fukushima. Now Justin helps with inbound tourism and regional promotion while also enjoying his role as a volunteer tour guide in Sendai, the gyutan capital of the world.

Original by Kyoko Nishi

Join the discussion

Radica Sooknarine 6 years ago
Very poetic! It's such a beautiful view :)
Anupama K 6 years ago
Such a beautiful place :) nature at its best!
Veronika Tomanova 6 years ago
It's rather a rural place, isn't it?