City of Fish, Iron and Rugby
Roughly located in the central part of Sanriku Fukkō National Park , Kamaishi has had a thriving fishing industry since long ago, and has grown to become the main fishing port of Sanriku’s fishing grounds. At the same time, Kamaishi was the first place in Japan to successfully manufacture iron using blast furnaces imported from the West in 1857. Kamaishi still manufactures iron to this day and is recognized as the birthplace of modern iron manufacturing in Japan. As the city’s iron industry thrived, the Shinnittetsu Kamaishi Rugby Football Club was born. Now known as the Kamaishi Seawaves Rugby Football Club (RFC), the team is famous for their unprecedented accomplishment of winning seven consecutive Japan championship titles between 1978 and 1984 and played an important role in Kamaishi being chosen as the host city for the Rugby World Cup in 2019.
Kamaishi, with its long history of national and international exposure through industry and sporting events, has become an “open city,” where visitors are always welcomed. After the Great East Japan Earthquake, Kamaishi has been attracting more and more people, especially younger people who ultimately decide to move to Kamaishi permanently.
Various kinds of Toramai, known for their use of uncommon Toragashira puppets
Kamaishi preserves a variety of local folk performing arts and is often called “the place where local folk performing arts of the Sanriku Coast come together.” The best example would be Toramai (tiger dance), which is performed with large puppets called Toragashira (tiger heads). The use of Toragashira in Toramai is quite uncommon throughout Japan. In this Toramai, a pair of operators acts as a tiger by manipulating Toragashira and Toramaku (tiger curtain), a large cloth on which tiger patterns are printed. As a saying goes, “a tiger goes a thousand miles and returns a thousand miles.” Tigers are considered resilient and Toramai, symbolizing this resiliency, is performed as a prayer for safety during fishing and ocean navigation. Because of a belief that tigers have spiritual powers to bring fire under control, Toramai has been passed down for generations as a religious protection against fire disasters.
Toramai is performed across the coastal regions of Iwate. Among these places, Kamaishi has as many as 14 organizations dedicated to this art form and each one of them preserves dance pieces and rhythms that are unique to them. They vary from bold and dynamic dances mirroring the ballsy spirit of native coast villagers to elegant dances incorporating Daikagura. Besides Toramai, many other folk performing arts have been passed down in the region, including Kagura, Daikagura and Shishiodori, and have been designated as Important Cultural Assets by municipal governments.
Hashino Iron Mine
The Hashino Iron Mine, located in the northwestern part of Kamaishi, is the oldest blast furnace still existing in Japan. It is a historical asset designated as a World Heritage Site, and is featured in “Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining,” which tells of the industrial revolution in Japan from the end of the Edo period to the Meiji period.
Address| 2-6 Hashinocho, Kamaishi, Iwate,026-0411,Japan(Hashino Iron Mine Information Center)
Phone｜ +81 (0)193-54-5250
Kamaishi Iron History Museum
Established in 1985, this museum preserves the unparalleled achievement of Oshima Takato and many other people who dedicated their lives to the iron industry in Kamaishi for the sake of future generations. In 1994, it was renovated and reopened as a comprehensive museum on the iron industry. The museum presents a theatrical presentation of iron manufacturing utilizing a full-scale restoration model of the Hashino Iron Mine blast furnace number 3, and included in its permanent collection is a large mural of an Ammonite fossil, a gift from Kamaishi’s sister city Digne-les-Bains, France. Because it is located on high ground, it is also considered one of the best spots to overlook Kamaishi Bay.
Address|3-12-7 Odaira-cho, Kamaishi,Iwate,026-0002,Japan
Phone｜ +81 (0)193-24-2211
Former Office of the Kamaishi Iron Mine, nationally registered as a Tangible Cultural Property
This building, formerly used as a general office of the Kamaishi Iron Mine Corporation, was gifted to Kamaishi City when the company moved their office in March 2008. At the same time, the city received a gift of informational materials related to Kamaishi Mine from the Nittetsu Mining Co., Ltd.
Address| 90-2, Dai 1 Chiwari Kasshicho, Kamaishi,Iwate,026-0055,Japan
Phone｜ +81 (0)193-55-5521
Kamaishi Local History Museum
This museum was founded to preserve and pass down the history of Kamaishi. Most of the permanent collections are gifts from the city’s own citizens and because of this, it is considered the people’s museum hand-crafted by the people. This museum covers a variety of themes such as nature, history, archeology (with a panel on shell mounds from Yakata, a National Historic Site, for example), iron manufacturing, folklore, local folk performing arts, Kamaishi in the Showa era, wars (including information on damage caused by naval gunfire), and tsunami and earthquake disasters.
Address｜15-2 Suzukocho, Kamaishi,Iwate,026-0031,Japan
Phone｜ +81 (0)193-22-2046
Kamaishi Civic Hall TETTO
This hall was established to comprehensively support various civic and cultural activities to stimulate the city, its culture and the arts. The nickname “TETTO” comes from Tetto or City of Iron in Japanese, which signifies the deep ties between Kamaishi and iron, and from tetto, the Italian word for roof.
Address|1-1-9 Omachi, Kamaishi,Iwate,026-0024,Japan
Phone｜ +81 (0)193-22-2266
Kamaishi Tourism ＆ Products Association Official Site “Kamaishi Tourism Kama Navi
Kamaishi Tourism ＆ Products Association
Phone: +81 (0)193-27-8172
Kamaishi Information Portal Site “EN Trance”
Kamaishi Community Development Co., Ltd.
Phone: +81 (0)193-22-3607