Iwate Travel Recommendations

Iwate Prefecture is located in the northeastern part of Honshu, Japan’s main island. It is the second-largest prefecture in Japan in terms of land area but has a population of only around 1.2 million, making it one of the least densely populated prefectures in the country. This makes Iwate an ideal place for those who are looking for a peaceful and serene environment.

Getting to Iwate from Tokyo

Iwate is easily accessible from Tokyo by either air or rail. The quickest way to get there is to take a flight from Haneda Airport in Tokyo to Hanamaki Airport in Iwate. The flight takes approximately 80 minutes. Alternatively, you can take the Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Morioka Station in Iwate. The journey takes approximately two hours.

Best Season to Visit Iwate

The best time to visit Iwate is from late spring to early summer (May-June) or in autumn (September-November). During these seasons, the weather is mild, and the landscape is at its most picturesque. In spring, visitors can enjoy the beautiful scenery of cherry blossoms, especially at Takamatsu Park in Morioka City. In autumn, the foliage turns into a stunning red, orange, and yellow, making Iwate a great destination for leaf peepers.

Must-See Places in Iwate

Iwate has many attractions for nature lovers, history buffs, and foodies. Below are some of the must-see places in Iwate.


Motsu-ji Temple

Hiraizumi is a small town in southern Iwate that was once the center of the Tohoku region during the Heian period (794-1185). It is known for its cultural heritage sites, including the Chusonji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Motsu-ji Temple. Both of these temples have beautiful gardens and are a great place to learn about the history of the region. The town also has a unique museum dedicated to poet Matsuo Basho, who visited the region during the Edo period (1603-1867).

Geibikei Gorge

Geibikei Gorge is a scenic spot located in the western part of Iwate. The gorge is formed by the Satetsu River, which flows through the region, and is surrounded by towering cliffs. Visitors can explore the gorge on a traditional boat ride or hike along the trail that runs along the riverbank.

Jodogahama Beach

Jodogahama Beach is located in the northeastern part of Iwate, close to the city of Miyako. The beach has white sand and crystal clear waters, and visitors can enjoy activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. The beach is also a great place to watch the sunrise or sunset.

Mt. Iwate

Mt. Iwate is a 2,038-meter-high mountain located in central Iwate. It is one of the most prominent peaks in the region and can be seen from many parts of the prefecture. The mountain is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, who can hike to the peak in the summer or ski on its slopes in the winter.

Cuisines you can enjoy in Iwate

From famous fish broths, local noodle dishes, and pickled vegetables, to delicious sea urchin dishes, Iwate is home to a variety of foods that you can enjoy. In this article, we’ll explore some of the cuisines that you can try out in Iwate.

Morioka Reimen

Morioka Reimen is a popular noodle dish in Iwate that is particularly popular during the summer months. It is made up of chewy noodles that are served in a bowl of chilled beef broth. The broth is flavored with grated ginger, sesame oil, and vinegar, giving it a refreshing and tangy taste. Toppings for Morioka Reimen can include slices of pork, eggs, vegetables, and even ice cubes. This dish is particularly popular in Morioka City and has gained a following in other parts of Japan.

Wanko Soba

Wanko Soba is a noodle dish unique to Iwate prefecture. It is served in tiny bowls that typically measure only a few centimeters in diameter. The noodles are made from buckwheat and are served in small portions with soup. According to local custom, the server will refill the bowl as soon as it’s finished, which means you can eat as many noodle servings as you want.

Geoduck Sashimi

Geoduck is a type of giant clam that is considered a delicacy in Iwate. It is often served as sashimi, which refers to raw seafood that is sliced into small strips and served with soy sauce and wasabi. Geoduck has a unique flavor and texture that is both sweet and tender, making it one of the most sought-after dishes in the region.

Iwate Beef

Iwate Beef, also known as Maesawa Beef, is a premium grade beef that is bred in the Maesawa district of Iwate. The beef is characterized by its fine texture, high fat content, and intense marbling. It is regarded as one of the best types of beef in Japan and is often served as a steak in upscale restaurants.

Maesawa Beef Hot Pot

Maesawa Beef Hot Pot is a popular dish that is enjoyed throughout Iwate during the winter months. It is made with Maesawa beef, which is sliced and served in a hot pot with vegetables, tofu, and other ingredients. The dish is typically enjoyed with rice, and is a warming and filling meal.

Recommended Accommodations in Iwate

Hachimantai Royal Hotel

Hachimantai Royal Hotel is a luxurious hotel that offers the perfect blend of comfort and relaxation. The hotel is situated in a serene environment, making it an ideal place to unwind and rejuvenate.

Appi Kogen Onsen Hotel

The Appi Kogen Onsen Hotel is a luxurious hotel located in the Appi Ski Resort. The hotel features 3 restaurants, a spa, a hot spring, and a fitness center.

Hotel Metropolitan Morioka

Hotel Metropolitan Morioka is a luxurious hotel that boasts of a fitness center, a spa, and a sauna. The hotel is located in the heart of Morioka, making it convenient for guests to explore the city.

Hotel Hanamaki

Hotel Hanamaki is a luxurious hotel that features a hot spring, a sauna, and a Japanese garden. The hotel is located in Hanamaki, making it an ideal base for exploring the area.


In conclusion, Iwate Prefecture is a hidden gem in Japan that is well worth a visit. With its stunning natural scenery, rich history, and unique culture, it offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a quiet getaway or an adventure in the great outdoors, Iwate has it all.

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