The area around present-day Towada was formerly a wasteland known as Sanbongihara (三本木原?), which became the location of a colonization and land reclamation project initiated by the Nambu clan of Morioka Domain from 1855. The project was headed by Nitobe Tsutō, the grandfather of Inazō Nitobe. The project was continued by the Meiji government, and the area was designated a ranch area for breeding cavalry horses by the Imperial Japanese Army in 1885. The inclement climate of the area was considered ideal for breeding horses that would be suitable for use in the cold climate areas of Manchuria and Siberia. On September 1, 1910, Sanbongi was designated a town. It was elevated to the status of a city on February 1, 1955. In October 1956, it changed its name to “Towada”.