The origin of the name "Iwate"

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ページ番号1006979  更新日 平成31年2月20日

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There are many origins behind Iwate’s name, but the following legend has been passed down along the years.

name 01

Near the Token-ji Temple in Morioka City’s Mitsuwari neighborhood lies three huge boulders with giant ropes wrapped around them. These rocks are said to have been flung from a volcanic eruption from nearby Mount Iwate. The nearby villagers called them “the god Mitsuishi (three rocks)” and they became a spiritual gathering point as the years passed.


name 02

Around this time, an evil demon called Rasetsu started to pester the townspeople and travelers in the area. The villagers prayed to their god Mitsuishi to stop Rasetsu from tormenting them, and soon thereby Mitsuishi pinned Rasetsu to the boulders and tied him with a massive rope.


name 03

A petrified Rasetsu howled, “I’ll never do harm to this village again! Please forgive me!” The god Mitsuishi said, “I’ll let you go if you show me proof that you’ll never do any harm again.”


name 04

And so they say the evil demon Rasetsu planted his hand prints upon the giant boulder and then ran away to Mount Nansho in the south.


Even today, during rainy weather, you may be able to spot what looks like a hand print upon the surface of the rock. That is why they call this land Iwate, because “iwa” means rock, and “te” means hand.

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Office of International Affairs, Department of Homeland Promotion
(020-8570) 10-1 Uchimaru, Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture, JAPAN
Phone number:019-629-5765 Facsimile:019-629-5254
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