The Tokamachi area is located on the east side of the Shinanogawa River and has been developed through agriculture and the textile industry. Residents from surrounding villages used to bring products to the markets in Tokamachi which transformed it into a sort of regional "hub" and even today in the winter season, visitors can get a feel of this market atmosphere as neighbouring villagers visit Tokamachi when their own villages are snowed under. In addition to rice production on the fields of the river terraces, the Tokamachi community has developed multiple agriculture including horticulture and mushrooms. Tokamachi's textile industry history and culture can still be observed across the city.
Flame-type earthenware vessels which have been designated as a national treasure, were excavated from the Sasayama Remains in the Nakajyo area of Tokamachi during an archeological survey in the 1970s. It is estimated that these vessels were produced in the middle of the Jomon Era about 4500 years ago. They have handles that look like roaring fire and their shape and patterns are highly-regarded artistically, representing primitive Japanese artwork. Visitors can see these vessels and learn about life during the Jomon Era at the Tokamachi-city Museum.
Museum of Picture Book Art
Over ten elementary schools have closed in the Tokamachi area due to depopulation, a pressing issue of this region. Besides being educational centres, schools in general have been appreciated by the local people as an important base for the community to gather. As a result, initiatives to redevelop these closed schools into new cultural hubs for the community were launched. The former Sanada Elementary School in Hachi village has been renovated into the Museum of Picture Book Art by Seizo Tashima, a renowned picture book artist and writer. Visitors can “experience” the story of the last three school children of this school by entering this walk-in picture book.