Moka/Mooka City (Mooka-shi)
Moka/Mooka City (Mooka-shi/真岡市) was borne through the merger of four neighboring municipalities (one town and three villages) in 1954, and since then it has been developed as a well harmonized city of agriculture, industry and commerce. Mashiko is a famous place for ceramic art. If you like cars, you should go to see “Twin-Rink Motegi.” You probably also can come up with something along the lines of the SL train, cotton (Moka/Mooka cotton used to be very well-known during the Edo period), and industrial parks. The SL (Steam Locomotive) Mooka Railway nicknamed “Cotton Way” runs the Moka railroad.
Moka grows strawberries, melons, pears, grapes and tasty KOSHIHIKARI race. There are around 60 manufacturing companies which are in their business operation in the industrial estates. They enjoy the third largest shipment in the prefecture.
The Igashira Park with yearly variety in its nature attracts almost one million people every year. In adjacent to this there is the Moka Igashira Hot Spa, health-improving facility, attracts almost 500 thousand visitors from inside and outside the prefecture every year. Moka Citizens’Golf Course is situated cleverly in nature in a dry river bank of the Kinu River and attracts almost 40 thousand visitors with its high-grade-golf-course service.
The Moka Line which is loved by people under the name of “Cotton(Rail)Way” offers its service through two running steam locomotives which carry romance and dreams. Moka’s Summer Festival is a poetic charm. It lasts for 3 days, from July 22 to 23, and features portable shrines, street stalls, processions of floats and a fire-work show and is already established as one of the prefectural famous festivals. Especially the night of the fire-work show is the climax of the festival. Underneath 20 thousand fire works set off by the Gogyou Rjver, almost 200 thousand spectators are attracted by the portable shrines carried across the river, the street stalls and the performances of bumping the floats each other. Among others are – Nature Education Center,Science Education Center, Nemotoyama Nature Observatjon Center and JOHO Center in the city of SLs and a spa which develops to be modern through harmony with nature and respect for its tradition and culture.
Nicknamed “Cotton Way”
The body of the train features the design of a flying bird which resembles the letter “M” for Moka, as well as the natural colors seen alongside the railroad.
Since the establishment of the Moka line was proposed in 1960, residents situated alongside the railroad have protested stridently against any such closing, leading to the establishment of the “Moka Railway Co.” as a third sector on April 11, 1988.
The new railway is called the “Cotton Way,” named after “Moka cotton,” a traditional local product of Moka, and the “kotton gotton” sound emitted by the local train. Cotton Way is an important transportation resource for people commuting to their schools and workplaces. The “Kawamata-go,” a C12-model steam locomotive, was revived in March 1994, and this steam locomotive runs on Saturdays and Sundays in conjunction with the holding of various events.
Outline of Moka City
Moka City is situated in the southeastern part of Tochigi Prefecture, and is surrounded by the unspoiled nature of the Hakko Mountains to the east and the sizable Kinu River to the west.
Moka City is situated within a 100-km zone stretching from the capital city of Tokyo, and is just two hours away on the Tohoku Shinkansen, which departs from Tokyo Station. The city has an area of 111.76 km2 and a population of about 62,000. Moka City is an ideal local city featuring advanced urban planning, developing industrial estates, and improved agricultural fields, in addition to having a well-balanced mix of agriculture, industry, and commerce.
This area has been the center of political, economic, and cultural activities in the Haga district. During the Edo period, its local product, Moka cotton, was famous all over Japan. Moka City was established in 1954 through the merger of four neighboring towns and villages. Agriculture was the primary industry in the old days, but as many as 60 companies are operating in the city today. Moka City is developing into a high-tech town with large-scale industrial estates.
The design was selected on October 1, 1954, from among numerous entries submitted by the general public. Officially established on December 20, 1954, the emblem was designed based on the Chinese character “Ma,” with the circle in the center expressing the unity of mankind.
Moka resident’s charter
Moka City is surrounded by the clear waters of the Kinu River as well as the Hakko Mountains. Local residents have succeeded in developing the city from its early beginnings on a vast land full of greenery. We are proud to be Moka City residents, and have established this charter in the hope of providing residents with bright and healthy lives.
– We take good care of everything in order to create a beautiful environment.
– We are thoughtful and helpful to each another.
– We work hard to build up a rich lifestyle.
– We value education and nurture higher levels of culture.
– We follow the rules to create a comfortable hometown.
Cotton is the city’s official flower
Around 380,000 tans of Moka cotton were produced each year during the latter part of the Tokugawa era. This high-quality product was known all over Japan, and was processed using a comprehensive system that began with cultivation and included production. The attractive, innocent-looking cotton flower with its five light-yellow petals reminds people of Moka’s history. The cotton flower is also used in the design of the Moka City Mayor’s Prize medal.
The “zelkova tree” is the city’s official tree
Zelkova trees are deep-rooted and long-lived, and therefore serve as a suitable symbol for Moka City. In the old days, many of the better-quality zelkova trees in this area were sold in the Utsunomiya, Kanuma, Yuki, and Shimodate areas. Currently, numerous zelkova trees can be found in the city, and three have been designated as cultural assets and natural monuments.
The skylark is the city’s official bird
The small, pretty skylark. Its fondness for flying high in the early spring sky and its song symbolize the dreams and hopes for the future and make people yearn for their hometown. The skylark is an unforgettable wild bird, which is appropriate for the people of a city with an agricultural history.
Areas alongside the Cotton Way Railroad (Moka Railway Steam Train Ride)
Have you ridden on the Cotton Way steam locomotive?
Moka-railway’s biggest attraction is the steam locomotive rides on weekends and national holidays, it connects between Shimodate station and Motegi station, Tochigi prefecture and its total distance is 41.9 kilometers. The driver works hard shoveling coal into the furnace to fuel the great machine. Here’s a look at the lives of the steam locomotive drivers who run the train on the energy from your dreams. In this job it’s important to keep the steam pressure constant, because if you don’t the train looses speed. Long ago, this train was merely used as a means of transport, but it continues forever, not as a ‘left-over,’ but as a precious asset.” Anyway, this train is really something to see.
Shimodate (Shimodate City)
The trip’s starting point is a town known for its art and culture.
You can see various traces of a castle town when you look at the way in which the houses are built in Shimodate. Many artists came from this town during the Meiji and Taisho eras. There are numerous sightseeing spots, such as Namiyama Memorial Park.
- Itaya Namiyama Memorial Hall
- Nakadate Kannonji Temple
- Gion Festival (July)
- Bon Dance (August)
- Industrial Festival (November)
Known for Sontoku Ninomiya and Shinran.
The next stop after Shimodate is Kugeta, which serves as an entrance to Ninomiya-machi. Ninomiya-machi was named after Sontoku Ninomiya. This town has many historic sites and cultural legacies, and is known as a “town of culture”.
- Sakuramachi encampment site
- Takadayama Senshu Temple
- Jinya Festival (November)
- Ninomiya Autumn Festival (November)
Hometown of cotton, where old-time prosperity has been handed down to the current age.
Moka prospered as a castle town and remains a center of culture and commerce in the eastern part of the prefecture. The 950,000 m2 Igashira Park spreads through the northwestern part of the prefecture, and is an oasis where people can get together and relax.
In the Steam Locomotive Hall situated at the west exit of Moka Station, you can purchase a wide variety of steam locomotive goods and local products. A wide variety of souvenirs are available here!!
- Moka City Special Products Hall
- Igashira Park
- Nemotoyama Natural Observation Center
- Cherry Blossom Festival (April)
- Moka Summer Festival (July)
- Moka Cotton Town Dancing (August)
- Grand Industrial Festival (November)
Pottery town, with smoke from nobori-gama rising high into the air.
Mashiko is known throughout the world for its pottery. Each year, 1.2 million people visit Mashiko in search of Mashiko-yaki potters, who have a uniquely warm feeling for their craft. Pottery classes are open to anyone on an informal basis and they have proven very popular with tourists.
- Pottery Messe Mashiko
- Mashiko Reference Hall
- Astronomical Observation Facility (Space 250)
- Saimyo Temple
- Pottery Fair (May, November)
- Industrial Festival (November)
A developing town in which culture and nature are in harmony.
Haga-machi is known for its pear production. During pear season, visitors can enjoy picking pears at a tourist farm. The town is also home to the tombstone of Shigeru Aoki, a famous romanticist painter from the Meiji era, and has a distinctly cultural atmosphere.
- Romantic tombstone
- Local pears
- Ensho Jizoson
- Cherry Blossom Festival (April)
- Town Residents Festival (November)
- Ensho Night Festival (August)
Ichikai is a hot spring town famous for its warrior paintings.
After viewing the traditional art of “warrior paintings,” let’s go hiking at the Tataranuma Ikoinomori and the Imotoyama Park Land. Ichikai is home to clean air and unspoiled nature.
- Ichikai Hot Spring Healthcare Center
- Warrior Painting Collection Hall
- Hot Spring Festival (August)
- Tanobe Sky Festival (August)
Relaxing town filled with an abundance of natural beauty.
Nakagawa is one of the Kanto region’s purest rivers, and is filled with ayu (Japanese river trout). Motegi-machi is also proud of its natural products such as konnyaku, shiitake mushrooms, and richly flavored yuzu oranges. Motegi is also the site of famous “Twin Ring Motegi” – Motorsports (motorcycles and cars) Road Race Tracks.
- Twin Ring Motegi – Motorsports (motorcycles and cars) Road Race Tracks
- Toishi River Park
- Furusato Festival (April, July, November)
Reservation tickets are available in advance at following places (one month before):.
- Ticket booth at JR Higashi Nihon.
- View Plaza.
- Moka st, Kugeta st, Mashiko st, Motegi st.
* Ask for price at each ticket booth.
Moka/Mooka Special Products
Traditional cotton crafts, special peanut products, items related to steam locomotives. A wide variety of goods to remind you of Moka. Please purchase these items at the Tourist Special Products Hall.
Moka cotton products
(tablecloths, eyeglass cases, chopstick rests, stamp holders, wallets, name card holders, etc.) Moka Cotton Shop, Fukudaya Department Store, Hokuei Shopping, Omae Shrine,Moka Public Kinu Park Golf Course, Yamakiya Dry-Goods Store, Fukuhara Dry-Goods Store, Moka Special Products Hall
Hometown of cotton
(Maizuru noodle, Jinya Soba noodle, mugwort noodle) Ramen noodles in cotton town
(seasoned, in the shell), peanuts (butter, cheese, coffee,with white sugar, with black sugar, sugared beans), Kanpyo (dried gourd shavings)
Yoshihara Store Telephone cards, Ebisu Daruma, earthen bells(Ebisu, Daikoku), Ebisu lanterns Omae Shrine Shirts, noren curtains, towels, and hand towels, all featuring a steam locomotive theme Yamakiya Dry-Goods Store Salt-free dried plums, salt-free plum vinegar, soy sauce that includes salt-free plum vinegar Umeman Konnyaku jelly, Genkotsu Konnyaku, Konnyaku Somen noodles Tochigi Foods Yams and earthenware mortar sets, powdered yamaimo yams (for cooking), various kinds of instant soups Senba Sugar Industries Gold sesame, black sesame, white sesame, bamboo crafts Bando Store Zanmaikan, Koin Monaka, Igashira Hanaaka-do Kasugano-tsubone Hall, Strawberry Monaka, Satono Kuri Komyodo Confectionery Shop Steam locomotive videos Irie Camera Kanpyo pies Toho Foods Famous-brand sake (Sakuragawa pure rice sake, Hanatsukushi, SL Bottle) Tsuji Zenbe Store Famous-brand sake (Chiyotake pure rice sake, Daiginjo, Maioka) Takemura Chozaemon Store The products listed above are sold at the Moka City Special Products Hall (0285-82-7205),. Open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Closed on Mondays and the day following all national holidays. Strawberry, Melon JA Moka, contact 0285-83-3313 Charcoal, charcoal vinegar Moka Agricultural Products Production Association, contact 0285-83-2251
Moka City Special Products Hall
Originally was a cotton wholesaler.
There were once five cotton wholesalers situated adjacent to one another in Mooka. One of them has since become the Moka City Special Products Hall, and welcomes you to come visit. Various special products, such as Moka cotton, ar e available.
Cotton cloth that you weave yourself makes the best memory. Why not try your hand in the hometown of cotton!
As much as 380,000 tans of Moka cotton was produced annually towards the end of the Edo period. Although cotton’s position as the No. 1 local product was relinquished to another product with the passage of time, Moka cotton is once again attracting people’s attention as a traditional craft. It is lots of fun to try your hand at weaving cotton cloth, and such an experience is unique to Moka.
Removing seeds from cotton flowers
Producing handmade cotton cloth begins with the removal of seeds from cotton flowers. Seeds are removed using a cotton-cutting lathe.
After the seeds have been removed, the cotton is spun into yarn using a spinning wheel after “willowing.” Later, the yarn is colored using “kusakizome (plant dyeing),” etc.
Colored and starched yarn is rolled onto a wooden reel in preparation for weaving (Seikyo).
Later, a one-tan-wide temporary piece of cloth is made, and the yarn is wound with paper inserted to avoid tangling.
Wound-up yarn is installed at the top for “Sokodoshi” and “Osadoshi.”
After “Osadoshi,” the yarn is fixed to a cloth in front of the power loom in preparation for weaving. This is an exciting moment in the weaving of cloth.
Moka/Mooka City (Mooka-shi) Tourist Essential Addresses and Links:
Cotton Way Railroad (Moka/Mooka Railway)
Address: 2474-1 Dai-machi, Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture 321-4306, Japan
Tel: 0285-84-2911 [Moka/Mooka Station]
Tel: 0285-72-2511 [Mashiko Station]
Tel: 0285-63-1311 [Motegi Station]
Fax: 0285-84-2913 [Moka/Mooka Station]
Address: 99 Shimokomoriya, Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture 321-4415, Japan
Ninomiya Road Station (Miti No Eki Ninomiya)
Address: 2204-1 Kugeta, Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture 321-4521, Japan
Mooka Kanko Risu Village (Risu-mura)/ Moka Kanko Squirrel Village
Address: 755 Higashigo, Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture 321-4304, Japan
Hours: 10am – 4pm (October to March)
Admission: 500 yen for adults and 300 yen Children
Mooka City Tourist Association (Mooka City Government Office)
Address: 5191 Aramachi, Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture 321-4305, Japan
Tel: 0285-83-8135, 0285-82-7205, 0285-82-1111 (representative)
Mooka City Tourist Association Website: http://www.moka-kankou.org/
Mooka City Government Website: http://www.city.moka.tochigi.jp/
Also see: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/photos/seasonal/seasonal100220.htm
Mooka Cotton House – weaving and dyeing experience
Address: 2162-1 Aramachi, Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture 321-4305, Japan
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 17:00
Admission fee: Free
Mooka Igashira Onsen (Hot Spring Spa)
This public hot spring is next to Igashira Park as well as Public Inn and Igashira Hot Spring Chat Palace.
Address: 21 Shimokomoriya, Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture 321-4415, Japan
‘Chat Palace’ in Mooka Igashira Hot Spring (public accommodation)
Address: 41 Shimokomoriya, Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture 321-4415, Japan
Tel: +81 285-80-3311
Mooka Igashira Motor Park
The Mooka Igashira Motor Park boasts a friendly atmosphere welcoming to aspiring racers and families enjoying a holiday.Experience the extraordinary sensation of high-speed just above the ground inside a race car cockpit.
Address: 468-2 Shimokomoriya, Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture 321-4415, Japan
Oosaki/Osaki Jinja Shrine (Otakara Antique Market)
The shrine is known for the famous general Taira No Makakado, who prayed here for victory on the battlefield. Spacious grounds brimming with old kimonos and antiques.
Address: 937 Higashigo, Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture 321-4304, Japan
Schedule: The 2nd Sun of every month (3rd Sat in Nov)
Open hours: 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Mooka Kinu Park (Kinu-koen) Golf Club
Address: 1345-18 Naka, Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture 321-4351, Japan
The Ninomiya Sontoku Shiryo-kan is a tribute to Ninomiya Sontoku’s deeds where his handwritten documents, items he owned and used and more are on display.
Address: 2013-2 Monoi, Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture 321-4502, Japan
Kinu Sakura Park of Kinu Riverside
It’s the perfect park to stop and take a break on the bank of Kinu river. There are monuments and benches here along with a hill that thrusts up to give the park its unique landscape. Many visitors come in the spring when the cherry blossom trees bloom.
Address: 528 Horigome, Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture 321-4544, Japan
Samurai Sword Museum
The museum holds rows of roughly 100 exhibits containing famous Japanese Samurai Sword including important cultural properties and special precious swords, armor, tsuba (a sword guard) and a kago (palanquin) are hinawajyu (antique guns), a meteor, and some of which are national treasures.
Address: 20-9 Ooneda, Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture 321-4506, Japan
Hours: 9 a.m. ~ 5 p.m., closed Mondays ( expect national holidays )
Entrance fee: 1,OOO yen
Mooka Media Network Center (MMNC), [Moka Information Center]
Address: 2474-1 Daimachi, Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture 321-4306, Japan
Ninomiya Outdoor Activity Center
Address: 283 Isagahara, Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture 321-4546, Japan
Hour: 9:00-16:30 (April-November)
Nemotoyama Nature Observation Center
Address: 56-11 Nemoto, Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture 321-4311, Japan
Kinu River Observation Center and Camp site
Address: 1188 Wakatabi, Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture 321-4352, Japan