Long stretch of
coastline where abundant marine products are unloaded - Ou Mountains
left with primeval forest
Iwate Prefecture, which boasts the largest land area among
Japanese prefectures, is situated in the northeastern part of the
Japanese main island, and its eastern side faces the Pacific Ocean.
North of the coastline are cliffs eroded by the sea, and beach dunes.
The contrast between the long stretch of dynamic cliffs and calm
Jodo-ga-hama beach at Kitayama-saki Point is magnificent. On the south
is a saw-toothed coast with many inlets, revealing various contrastive
scenery from the north to the south.
The long coastline blessed with natural good ports makes fishing ports
at which abundant marine products are unloaded throughout the year,
and there are quite a number of restaurants in the vicinity where you
can enjoy fresh seafood such as scallops, oysters and sea urchins.
There are primeval forests on Mt. Iwate-san and the Appi Plateau that
stretches from the Hachimantai Plateau, all of which together make up
the Ou Mountain Range that runs along the border of Iwate and Akita
Prefectures, and you can enjoy various outdoor activities such as
skiing, as well as onsen, the hot springs.
You can also come to feel the Japanese rural culture and history at
places like Hanamaki, which has the only airport in the prefecture and
is known as a hot spring resort, the prefecture capital Morioka which
developed as a castle town, and Hiraizumi which has many national
treasures, important cultural properties and historical ruins such as
Chuson-ji Konjikido (Chuson-ji Temple, Golden Hall).
Two hours 30 minutes from Tokyo Station to Morioka Station by the
JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line. Five hours from Shin Osaka Station via
Tokyo Station (by the JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line) to Morioka Station
(by the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line). An hour 20 minutes from Osaka
Itami Airport to Hanamaki Airport.
Alpine plants and the emerald green Hachiman-numa Marsh - A scenic
hot spring with views of magnificent Mt. Iwate-san
Hachimantai is a plateau-like volcanic terrace, 1,400-1,600
meters above sea level, extending over Iwate Prefecture and Akita
Prefecture in the west, and part of the Towada-Hachimantai National
Park. A swamp near the top of Hachimantai is a treasure trove of
over 160 kinds of alpine and swamp plants, and visitors can enjoy
mizubasho (Japanese skunk cabbage) and nikko-kisuge (yellow alpine
lilies) in full bloom from spring through autumn. The beech forest
also contains the radiant emerald green Hachiman-numa Marsh as well
as Gama-numa Marsh and Kagami-numa Marsh.
Hachimantai-onsen Hot Spring is a scenic hot spring with views of
the Ou Mountain Range, which runs across the Akita Prefecture
border, and the magnificent Mt. Iwate-san. Nearby are the Gozaisho-en
Garden, filled with the flowers of alpine plants, and Goshiki
(five-color)-numa Marsh, where the water changes color according to
the sunlight. Together they offer an ideal route for walking.
Visitors can also enjoy skiing at Hachimantai Ski Resort in winter
which operates up to May.
Spectacular views of Hachimantai, such as marshes in the forest and
the virgin forest of Aomori white fir, can be enjoyed from the
windows of the buses that travel along the Asupite-Line Road
connecting the Hachimantai-onsen Hot Spring and the Toroko-onsen Hot
Spring in Akita Prefecture, and crossing Hachimantai.
Two hours 30 minutes to Morioka Station from Tokyo Station by
the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line, and 5 hours from Shin-Osaka Station
with a change at Tokyo Station by the JR Tokaido and Tohoku
Shinkansen Line, then around 1 hour 50 minutes by bus to the top of
Hachimantai from Morioka Station.
Hanamaki-onsen-go Village - well-known in Tohoku for its prominent
accommodation facilities, and the setting for many famous Japanese
Hanamaki City, located in the center of the Kitakami Basin in
the mid-western part of Iwate Prefecture, is a city of parks
centered on hot spring zones dotted along the Dai-gawa River, a
tributary of the Kitakami-gawa River, and the valley of Yunosawa.
Around a dozen hot springs, beginning with the Hanamaki-onsen Hot
Spring and including Dai, Shidodaira, Osawa, and Namari, are known
collectively as the Hanamaki-onsen-go Village which has many
different types of accommodation and is a favorite spot for tourists
in the Tohoku region (the northeastern region). In the village are
Hanamaki Airport, providing the only air access to Iwate Prefecture,
and Shin-Hanamaki Station on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line. Together
they form the gateway to Iwate Prefecture.
Hanamaki is also known as the home of fable writer Kenji Miyazawa,
who was born here at the beginning of the 20th century. Kenji's
large number of poems and fables are enjoyed by many readers even
today for the fresh use of language, unrestrained imagination, and
deep social insight. In Hanamaki, there are many places that appear
in Miyazawa's fables, including his parents' house, the Miyazawa
Kenji Memorial Museum, Kenji Miyazawa Dowa Mura (the village of
fables), Poran-no-hiroba Square, and the IHATOV Center. These places
attract visitors all year round.
Three hours 15 minutes to Shin-Hanamaki Station from Tokyo
Station by the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line, and 5 hours 45 minutes
from Shin-Osaka Station with a change at Tokyo Station by the JR
Tokaido and Tohoku Shinkansen Line.
Over 3,000 national treasures, important cultural properties and
historical sites - A historical town where the culture of the 11th
century has been preserved.
Hiraizumi in the southwestern part of Iwate Prefecture is a town
extending up the Hiraizumi Hill on the west bank of the
Kitakami-gawa River, that prospered for almost 100 years from the
11th to12th centuries as the center of the Tohoku region (the
northeastern region). Over 3,000 national treasures and historical
sites still remain, telling of the Fujiwara Clan that reigned over
the area in the zenith of its prosperity. The splendid culture that
appeared during the reign of the Fujiwaras lasted for three
generations and has been preserved in the area to this day.
The Konjiki-do of Chuson-ji Temple, built by the Fujiwaras, is
decorated inside and out with lacquer containing gold foil and
studded with gold and silver, a symbol of the gold culture of
Hiraizumi. The historical artifacts and Buddhist statues found in
the Konjiki-do are stored in the Sanko-zo storehouse and displayed
to the public, reminding all who see them of the very high level of
artistic achievement in these earlier times.
The Motsu-ji Temple adjacent to the Chuson-ji Temple was built in
the 9th century, but destroyed repeatedly by fire. The restored
temple and garden around the Oizumi-ike Pond are reminiscent of what
the temple and its environs would have looked like in those days.
Many historical sites and buildings still remain around Hiraizumi,
including the site of the Muryoko-in Temple, modeled after Byodo-in
Temple in Uji, Kyoto, and the Takadachi-gikei-do Temple, which
houses a wooden statue of the tragic samurai warrior Minamoto-no
Two hours 10 minutes to Ichino-seki Station from Tokyo Station
by the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line, and 4 hours 40 minutes from
Shin-Osaka Station with a change at Tokyo Station, by the Tokaido
and Tohoku Shinkansen Line. Ten minutes to Hiraizumi Station from
Ichino-seki Station by the JR Tohoku Honsen Line.
A town where historic and new buildings blend perfectly. - The
beauty of Mt. Iwate-san, Kitakami-gawa River and Nakatsu-gawa River
Morioka is situated in the north of the Kitakami Basin in the
central part of Iwate. The city is the center of Iwate's politics,
economics and culture. Mt. Iwate-san, which overlooks the city from
the northwest and two rivers - the Kitakami-gawa River and the
Nakatsu-gawa River, make Morioka a special place with a very
beautiful landscape. Morioka flourished with the building of Morioka
Castle during the 16th and the 17th centuries. Today the castle
ruins are maintained as the Iwate Park and are appreciated by people
as a place for recreation and relaxation.
Along the eastern side of the Nakatsu-gawa River, historical
buildings from the 19th and the early 20th centuries, such as
merchants' houses and private houses, can be seen. The gentle
atmosphere and the nostalgic appearance of this area, which is known
as "the capital of forest and water," are a good contrast to the
busy atmosphere and the modern appearance of the fashionable
shopping area near Morioka Station.
Iwa-yama Park is located to the east of the town and provides a
magnificent panoramic view of the whole of Morioka and Mt.
Iwate-san. Mt. Himekami and the Ou Mountain Range can also be seen
from here. The Morioka Hashimoto Museum of Art on the mountainside
is proud of its collection of paintings by French realists from the
18th and the 19th centuries including Millet. One of Morioka's
unique events is Chagu-Chagu Umakko, which is held just before
summer arrives. During the event, decorative working horses carry
small children on their backs and parade along a 15-kilometer route.
This event attracts many spectators every year.
About 2 hours and 30 minutes by JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line from
Tokyo Station to Morioka Station. About 5 hours by JR Tokaido
Shinkansen Line from Shin-Osaka Station, change for JR Tohoku
Shinkansen Line at Tokyo Station.
Rikuchu-kaigan Coast, dynamic northern area, moderate central area
and southern area with saw-toothed coast
The Rikuchu-kaigan Coast in the east of Iwate is a shoreline
with a variety of scenic beauty along the Pacific Ocean between Kuji
and Kesen'numa in Miyagi, and is a part of the Rikuchu-Kaigan
National Park. The northern part exhibits spectacular views of
keen-cut cliffs and a row of oddly shaped rocks. It is characterized
by the dynamic Kitayama-saki Point with sheer cliffs that rise
steeply from the surf, Unosu Cliff where columns of 200-meter tall
precipices layer one another.
The center of the coastline offers moderate scenery with many
picturesque beauties. Jodo-ga-hama Beach gives a beautiful contrast
between long, white beaches and precipitous oddly shaped rocks as
well as verdant pine trees. On Nami-ita-kaigan Beach, rough grains
of sand absorb incoming waves and outgoing waves vanish. Miyako,
your starting point to tour through the scenic beauties of the
coastline, is a port town known for its abundant hauls of seafood,
and there are numerous eating houses where you can enjoy fresh
shrimp, sea urchins, crabs, and other delicacies of the sea.
The southern coastline is an irregular saw-toothed coast. It has
Goishi-kaigan Beach with a row of oddly shaped rocks and grottos,
Takada-Matsubara with white sand beaches, Hanzo with entangled rows
of marble rocks carved into unique shapes by sea erosion, and Ogama
with a keen rock pillar, that stretches from them, and many other
scenic spots. Rikuzen-Takada and Ofunato are also famous fishing
ports where you can enjoy fresh seafood.
Take JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line for 2 hours and 30 minutes from
Tokyo Station to Morioka Station, transfer to a Rapid Train of the
JR Yamada Line for 2 hours from Morioka Station to Miyako Station,
transfer to the Sanriku Tetsudo Kita-Rias Line for 18 minutes to
Taro Station or 1 hour 41 minutes to Kuji Station.
Japan's representative limestone cave - The mysterious beauty of
Ryusen-do Cave, which can be found in the foothills of Mt. Urera-san
at the east of Iwate, is one of the three largest limestone caves in
Japan and is listed as a natural monument. The precise length of the
cave is not known as nobody has explored its full length - 2500
meters of it has been explored to date. It was confirmed sometime
ago that there are many tributary caves inside Ryusen-do Cave, two
of which are named Komori-ana (Bats Cave) and Kameiwa-shido
(Tortoise Rock Cave). As the name Komori-ana suggests, there are
five different species of bats living in Ryusen-do Cave and each
species is listed as a natural monument.
Inside the cave, there are a few underground lakes that are filled
with spring water which flows into the lakes from the very deep back
of the cave. The first three lakes are open to the public, which are
approximately 700 meters from the entrance of the cave. The clarity
of these lakes is internationally recognized, especially the third
lake, the depth of which is 98 meters. It glows emerald green in an
artificial light fascinating your eyes with its mysterious beauty.
Two hours 30 minutes by JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line from Tokyo
Station to Morioka Station. Two hours 30 minutes by bus from Morioka
Station to Ryusen-do-mae bus stop.
by three mountains - Fascinating folk tales and the imaginary
Tono is a garden city laid in a basin that is surrounded by the
Kitakami Range in the central part of Iwate. The three notable
mountains of the Kitakami Range are Mt. Hayachine-san, Mt.
Rokkoushi-yama and Mt. Ishigami-san. Together they are called Tono's
Three Mountains. The center of Tono is situated near the upper
reaches of the Sarugaishi-gawa River, which is a tributary of the
Kitakami-gawa River, at the western end of the Tono Basin. Tono has
been well-known for horse breeding for many centuries and has
prospered as a trading point between the inland and the coast.
Tono is the land of old folk tales. There are a number of folk tales
in Tono that have been told from generation to generation. The most
loved tale of the locals is that of the Kappa, an imaginary,
peculiar looking creature with a mischievous character that lives in
water and has a dish on its head. You will see statues of Kappa all
over the town including the one in front of Tono Station and another
in the pond of the square near the railway station. Tono's old folk
tales, including Kappa stories and old customs, are introduced at
Tono Mukashi-banashi Mura (Old Tales Village) and the Tono City
The most exciting event of Tono is the Tono-matsuri Festival, which
is held in early autumn every year. During the festival, local
performing arts such as Kagura (Japanese ancient sacred music) and
the Rice Planting Dance are performed. Yabusame (Japanese horseback
archery) is also a very popular performance that attracts large
crowds of people every year.
Three hours 15 minutes by the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line from
Tokyo Station to Shin-Hanamaki Station. Forty-five minutes by the JR
Kamaishi Line Express Train from Shin-Hanamaki Station to Tono