About Hirono Town




Preface: Typical Japanese country town between satoyama and the sea

Hirono is a typical Japanese country town, consisting of the sea, satoyama, an urban area spreading out on the flat land between them, and a railroad running north-south through the town, several small rivers, and hills. The town has one supermarket, six convenience stores, a surfing spot on the sea, and a thermal power plant and national soccer training center on the outskirts of town. A 20-minute bicycle ride from the seaside embankment takes you to a rural satoyama farming village that looks like something out of the Hayao Miyazaki’s film “My Neighbor Totoro”.

Fukushima City, the prefectural capital, is less than 2 hours away by car, and by train it takes 2 hours and 40 minutes at the earliest by limited express from Hirono Station. It takes 2 hours and 46 minutes to Tokyo Station by limited express “Hitachi” train.

It is difficult to realize when living in large cities such as Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Osaka and their metropolitan areas, but such lands are spread all over Japan. They are another and very attractive aspect of Japan.

History of the area

From Archaeological Perspectives

There are many traces of human habitation in the area where Hirono Town is located today.

Earthenware and stone tools dating from the Early Jomon Period (11,500 to 7,000 years ago) to the Early Jomon Period (7,000 to 5,500 years ago) have been excavated at the Uedago 6 Site discovered in Kamikitasago. The Uetago 6 site is located in the satoyama area to the east of the Dokkamegi settlement.

Stone tools from the Paleolithic period, Jomon period earthenware, Yayoi period earthenware, and the remains of a Heian period dwelling and kiln have also been excavated from the Oriki Site in Oriki Aza-Tate. The Oriki site is located on the right bank of the Oriki River, in the hill where Seitokuji Temple is located.

In addition to these, the remains of an early modern ironworks have been found on Okamiyama in the Kamiasamigawa River, and the remains of several medieval castle buildings have been found on the hilltops in the Hirono.

For more information, please visit this website (Japanese only).

Political History

During the Kofun period (3-7th Century), the area was ruled by a rulers called Iwaki-no-kuninomiyatsuko, who belonged to the Yamato royal authority. Later, the administrative districts to which this area belonged changed rapidly, such as Taka-no-kuni, Hitachi-no-kuni, Mutsu-no-kuni, and Iwaki-no-kuni, but from the 8th century, the area was settled as Mutsu-no-kuni, and became Mutsu-no-kuni Iwaki-gun(county).

In 1180, Iwaki-gun was divided into three parts, and the area where Hirono Town is located became Naraha-gun of Mutsu Province. During the Middle Ages (Kamakura Period, Nanbokucho Period, Muromachi Period, and Sengoku Period), the area was under the control of the Iwaki clan. However, after joining the western forces in the Battle of Sekigahara, the Iwaki clan was ousted by the Tokugawa government, and during the Edo period, this area came under the direct control of the Edo shogunate. At the end of the Edo period, in 1851, the villages of Kami-asamigawa and Yusuji became Tako domain territory as punishment for the Tako domain scandal in Katori County, Shimofusa Province. This was apparently meant to confiscate the rich agricultural lands of Katori County and replace them with mountain villages in Naraha County.

During the Meiji Restoration, the name of the administrative district to which it belonged changed frequently, but in 1876 it came under the jurisdiction of Fukushima Prefecture, and in 1879 Naraha-gun, Fukushima Prefecture, was established.

In 1889, Hirono Village was established, and in 1940 it became Hirono Town.


The largest industries are the Hirono Thermal Power Plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company and factories located in the industrial park in the northern part of town. Agriculture is dominated by dual-income farmers who grow a combination of rice, vegetables, and livestock.

The town also prospered as a post town on the Rikuzenhama-kaido highway that ran from Senju to Iwanuma until 1898, when a railroad line was opened from Tabata Station in Tokyo to Iwanuma Station in Miyagi Prefecture.

Hironomachi Landscape

Photographer: Yusuke Aoki, All Rights Reserved.