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Largest City


Go your own way

The local people say that Iwate is a place where you forge your own path. Take their advice and enjoy this re-emerging—and rewarding—destination.

Iwate is in the northeastern corner of the Tohoku region and is filled with an abundance of nature. From the sheer cliffs of Kitayamazaki to the heavenly waters of Jodogahama all the way down to the ‘miracle’ surviving pine tree at Takata-matsubara, to travel Iwate’s coast is to witness the force of nature and how it has powerfully shaped the region.

To get the most out of your stay, consider renting a car to hit up all the best nature spots. Maximize your experience and go off the beaten path as you explore the various national parks, endless coastlines, and the rural towns peppered throughout the prefecture. You’ll never run out of things to do, guaranteed.

Morioka City 

Morioka Sansa Odori Festival

The Morioka Sansa Odori Festival.

Morioka is the prefectural capital that just like the rest of the region, is surrounded by nature. In particular, it is mostly bordered by mountains and three rivers that flow throughout the city.

The city is also home to three varieties of noodles called reimen, jajamen and wanko soba all of which are hard to find beyond the prefecture. Of the three, wanko soba is the most popular because you can try and beat the record by eating more than 500 servings of the noodle served in tiny bowls in a simple broth that is served one after the other.

Morioka Sansa Odori Festival

Morioka festival
For seasonal events, try to catch any of the following during your stay: the Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival in June, the Morioka Sansa Odori Festival in August, and the Morioka Fall Festival in early September. Out of all the festivals celebrated in the prefecture, the biggest event would have to be the Morioka Sansa Odori Festival due to the sheer number of participants alone that exceed 20,000 people. For those who plan to visit Iwate in the winter, consider the annual Iwate Snow Festival.

For sightseeing inside the city, visit Morioka Park which is one of the best spots in the city for cherry blossom viewing. While you’re in the area, make your way towards the courthouse to see one of the national treasures of Japan called Ishiwarizakura, or rock-splitting cherry tree.

Land and sea 

Genbikei Gorge Iwate

Genbikei Gorge

Located on the Sanriku Coast, Jodogahama Beach or “Pure Land Beach” is one of the most sought-after destinations in the prefecture. Listed as one of the best beaches in Japan, its clear waters should be enough to entice anyone to take a dip.

Aside from swimming, tourists can also take advantage of the boat cruises that service the area to get a closer look at the different rock formations that surround the beach. There are also a number of viewpoints to give you a more panoramic perspective.

If you’d rather spend time exploring in a forest, head towards Genbikei Gorge located near the second-largest city in the prefecture. Your 30-minute walk through the gorge will be lined with trees and a handful of bridges that cross over the Iwai River. End your trek by placing  ¥400 in a basket and eating some flying dango or Japanese sweet sticky rice balls courtesy of a shop called Kakkoya.

For more of our recommendations in Iwate, check out the list below!


Morioka festival

Morioka Sansa Odori Festival

Dance with the locals in the world’s largest taiko drumming party.


Places to visit

Mount Iwate Morioka city scene with buildings and promenade at Katakami river with warm sunset light


Oodles of noodles in this colorful Iwate city.

Chuson-ji Temple

Chuson-ji Temple

Visit the golden pavilion of the north deep within the mountains of Iwate Prefecture.

Morioka festival

Morioka Sansa Odori Festival

Dance with the locals in the world’s largest taiko drumming party.

Iwate Snow Fest

Iwate Snow Festival

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

Genbikei Gorge

Discover the tradition of flying dango!

Other Destinations in Tohoku


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