Akasaka Azabu

Iwate Prefecture Guide
  • Date Published: May 15, 2024

Welcome to Iwate Prefecture, a hidden gem waiting to be explored in Northern Japan’s Tohoku region. With its breathtaking landscapes, ancient temples, and rich cultural heritage, Iwate offers a unique and unforgettable travel experience. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, immersing in local traditions, or indulging in delicious cuisine, Iwate has something for everyone.

Explore the historic temples of Hiraizumi, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and marvel at the architectural wonders of Chuson-ji, Motsu-ji, and the Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamondō Pavilion. Dive into the underground beauty of Ryusendo Cave, designated as a national treasure, with its mesmerizing lime creek and vast network of tunnels. Discover the pristine beauty of Jodogahama beach, known for its hidden caves and picturesque scenery.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Hachimantai National Park offers hiking trails, panoramic views, and unique attractions like the Kagami pond nestled within a volcanic crater. Shizukuishi and Appi Kogen are the perfect destinations for winter sports enthusiasts, with their world-class skiing and snowboarding facilities.

Immerse yourself in the rich folklore and tradition of Tono Town, where you can encounter mythical creatures like Yokai and explore historical sites. Visit the Goshono Jomon Period Site and witness the archeological remains of Japan’s early populations.

Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in the local cuisine, featuring the famous Iwate beef, seafood delicacies, Reimen from Morioka, and Wanko soba. And when you’re ready to relax, unwind in the therapeutic hot springs of Iwate’s traditional ryokans.

Discover the unexplored beauty and cultural treasures of Iwate Prefecture. Start planning your trip today and embark on an unforgettable journey through Japan’s hidden gem.

Key Takeaways:

  • Explore the historic temples of Hiraizumi and witness the architectural wonders of Chuson-ji, Motsu-ji, and the Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamondō Pavilion.
  • Discover the underground beauty of Ryusendo Cave, a national treasure with its stunning lime creek and intricate tunnels.
  • Experience the pristine beauty of Jodogahama beach and its hidden caves.
  • Enjoy outdoor adventures in Hachimantai National Park, offering hiking trails, panoramic views, and unique attractions.
  • Embrace winter sports in Shizukuishi and Appi Kogen, renowned destinations for skiing and snowboarding.

Discover the Hidden Gem of Hiraizumi

Hiraizumi, nestled in the heart of Iwate prefecture, is a hidden gem that offers a captivating glimpse into Japan’s rich history. This charming town was once the headquarters of the powerful Fujiwara clan during the Heian era. Today, it is renowned for its historic temples and architectural masterpieces that have stood the test of time.

One of the must-visit sites in Hiraizumi is Chuson-ji, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This temple complex boasts stunning buildings adorned with intricate wood carvings and gold leaf. Explore the sprawling grounds and discover the Konjiki-do, a magnificent hall covered in gold leaf, housing the remains of the Fujiwara clan.

Another notable temple is Motsu-ji, known for its beautiful Pure Land Garden. Take a serene stroll through the garden, and you’ll feel a sense of tranquility enveloping you. The garden’s design reflects Buddhist teachings and provides a peaceful refuge for visitors to relax and reflect.

For those seeking a unique experience, the Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamondō Pavilion is a must-see. Carved into the face of a cliff, this temple offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Inside, you’ll find stunning Buddhist statues and a tranquil atmosphere.

Temple Notable Features
Chuson-ji Intricate wood carvings, gold leaf decorations, Konjiki-do
Motsu-ji Pure Land Garden, serene atmosphere
Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamondō Pavilion Cliffside location, panoramic views, unique atmosphere

“Hiraizumi is a true gem that showcases the grandeur of ancient Japan. Explore the temples, immerse yourself in the history, and let the beauty of this hidden treasure captivate your senses.” – Local Resident

Uncovering the Treasures of Hiraizumi

Hiraizumi is a place where time seems to stand still, where visitors can immerse themselves in the richness of Japan’s cultural heritage. As you wander through the streets of this historic town, you’ll be transported back in time to an era of samurai warriors, noble families, and the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the charming streets and traditional houses of Hiraizumi. Take a leisurely stroll and soak in the atmosphere of this quaint town. Discover hidden gems, such as local tea houses and shops selling traditional crafts, where you can take home a piece of Hiraizumi’s beauty.

Whether you are a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a place of tranquility, Hiraizumi has something to offer. Its temples, gardens, and rich cultural heritage provide a captivating experience that will leave a lasting impression on your journey through Iwate prefecture.

Explore the Majestic Ryusendo Cave

Ryusendo Cave, located in Iwate Prefecture, is a national treasure that captivates visitors with its breathtaking beauty. This magnificent cave system stretches over 3,600 meters and is known for its mesmerizing underground tunnels and emerald lakes that reach depths of over 100 meters.

Ryusendo cave

Step into this hidden wonderland and be enchanted by the dazzling perspectives that await you. As you venture deeper into the cave, you’ll be mesmerized by the intricate formations and the ethereal glow that emanates from the emerald lakes, creating a truly magical atmosphere. The cave’s natural beauty is a testament to the incredible forces of nature that have shaped the landscape over millions of years.

Explore the Wonders of Ryusendo Cave

Ryusendo Cave offers various opportunities for exploration and discovery. Guided tours allow visitors to navigate the labyrinthine tunnels while learning about the cave’s geological history and ecosystem. Marvel at the stunning stalactites and stalagmites that adorn the cave walls, creating an otherworldly spectacle.

For adventure seekers, there are opportunities for cave diving and boat rides across the emerald lakes, providing a unique perspective of this natural wonder. Immerse yourself in the subterranean world and witness the hidden treasures that lie beneath the surface.

Key Features of Ryusendo Cave Highlights
Underground Tunnels Explore the maze-like network of tunnels, each offering its own unique charm.
Emerald Lakes Be mesmerized by the vibrant emerald lakes that are a hallmark of the cave.
Stunning Formations Admire the intricate stalactites and stalagmites that adorn the cave walls.
Guided Tours Learn about the cave’s geological history and ecosystem from knowledgeable guides.
Cave Diving Experience the thrill of cave diving in this unique underground environment.

Discover the majesty of Ryusendo Cave and immerse yourself in its awe-inspiring beauty. Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure enthusiast, or a curious traveler, this national treasure offers an unforgettable experience that will leave you in awe of the wonders of the natural world.

Experience the Pristine Beauty of Jodogahama Beach

Jodogahama beach, located in Iwate Prefecture, is a hidden gem renowned for its pristine beauty and picturesque scenery. Nestled along the coastline, this stunning beach offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in nature’s splendor. With its crystal clear blue turquoise water, contrasting against the steep rocks and pine trees, Jodogahama beach provides a truly mesmerizing landscape that captivates the senses.

One of the highlights of Jodogahama beach is the opportunity to explore hidden caves. As you venture along the shoreline, you may discover the Hachinohe-ana cave, located on the border with Aomori Prefecture. These hidden caves add an element of mystery and intrigue, inviting curious explorers to uncover the secrets of the coastline.

During the winter months, Jodogahama beach transforms into a winter wonderland. Covered in a pristine blanket of snow, the beach offers a breathtakingly beautiful scenery that is truly unique. The contrast of the white snow against the deep blue sea creates a picturesque winter landscape that is both enchanting and serene.

Whether you visit Jodogahama beach during the summer or winter, the allure of its beauty is undeniable. It is a place where you can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with nature. As you stand on the beach, listening to the soothing sound of the waves crashing against the rocks, you can’t help but be in awe of the pristine beauty that surrounds you.

Enjoy Outdoor Adventures in Hachimantai National Park

Hachimantai National Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a plethora of activities amidst stunning natural landscapes. Mount Iwate, standing at an impressive altitude of 2038 meters, is a popular destination for hikers and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding area. The park boasts an extensive network of hiking trails, catering to all levels of experience and allowing visitors to explore its diverse terrain.

One of the highlights of Hachimantai National Park is Kagami pond, a radiant blue colored pond nestled within an ancient crater. This picturesque spot is a favorite among photographers and nature lovers alike. The tranquil atmosphere and serene beauty of the pond create the perfect setting for relaxation and contemplation.

In addition to hiking and admiring the scenic beauty, visitors can also indulge in other outdoor activities such as bird watching, picnicking, and wildlife spotting. The park is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including rare alpine plants and indigenous bird species. Exploring the park’s rich biodiversity is a rewarding experience that immerses visitors in the wonders of nature.

Activity Description
Hiking Enjoy a range of hiking trails that cater to different skill levels, offering stunning views and encounters with nature.
Kagami Pond Visit the radiant blue Kagami Pond, nestled within an ancient crater, and marvel at its serene beauty.
Bird Watching Discover a variety of bird species in the park and observe their natural behavior in their natural habitat.
Wildlife Spotting Keep an eye out for the park’s diverse wildlife, including deer, foxes, and even black bears.

With its stunning natural beauty and exciting outdoor activities, Hachimantai National Park is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.Hachimantai National Park

Testimonials from Hachimantai National Park Visitors

“Hachimantai National Park exceeded all my expectations. The hiking trails offered breathtaking views, and Kagami Pond was like something out of a dream.” – Emily

“I loved exploring the park’s diverse flora and fauna. It was a truly immersive experience in nature.” – David

“Bird watching in Hachimantai National Park was a highlight of my trip to Japan. I spotted several rare bird species and enjoyed the peaceful surroundings.” – Sarah

Embrace Winter Sports in Shizukuishi and Appi Kogen

When it comes to winter sports, Shizukuishi and Appi Kogen in Iwate Prefecture are two destinations that should be on every skiing and snowboarding enthusiast’s radar. With their stunning slopes, top-notch facilities, and breathtaking natural scenery, these resorts offer an unforgettable winter adventure.

Shizukuishi: A Paradise for Skiing

Shizukuishi is known for its long tracks and challenging slopes, making it a paradise for skiing enthusiasts. The resort boasts a 4500-meter-long track and a giant slalom course that will put your skills to the test. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skier, Shizukuishi offers a variety of trails suitable for all levels.

Appi Kogen: A Haven for Snowboarders

Appi Kogen, on the other hand, is one of Japan’s largest skiing areas and a haven for snowboarders. The resort has a wide range of slopes, including beginner-friendly runs and thrilling off-piste areas for the more adventurous riders. With its well-maintained parks and halfpipes, Appi Kogen is a favorite among freestyle snowboarders.

Both Shizukuishi and Appi Kogen provide excellent facilities and services to ensure an enjoyable winter sports experience. From rental equipment and professional instructors to cozy lodges and hot springs to relax in after a day on the slopes, these resorts have everything you need for a memorable winter getaway.

So, if you’re looking to embrace the thrill of winter sports in a picturesque setting, Shizukuishi and Appi Kogen in Iwate Prefecture are the perfect destinations. Whether you’re a skiing enthusiast or a snowboarding junkie, these resorts will exceed your expectations and leave you with unforgettable memories.

Cruise Along the Geibikei Gorges

The Geibikei Gorges offer a spectacular river cruise experience. Nestled in the scenic landscapes of Iwate Prefecture, these gorges are a hidden gem waiting to be explored. The towering cliffs, reaching over 50 meters in height, create a breathtaking backdrop as you embark on a traditional boat ride along the Satetsu River.

During the cruise, you will be treated to stunning views of the rugged rock formations and lush greenery that make up the landscape. The calm and tranquil waters of the river provide a serene atmosphere, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. As you venture deeper into the gorges, keep an eye out for the magnificent lion’s face rock, one of the notable rock formations that resemble a majestic lion.

The Geibikei Gorges river cruise is not just a visual delight; it also offers a glimpse into the rich history and folklore of the region. The boatman, skilled in storytelling, will regale you with tales of the area, adding an extra layer of enchantment to your journey. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or simply seeking a unique experience, the Geibikei Gorges river cruise is an absolute must-do when visiting Iwate Prefecture.

Table: Geibikei Gorges River Cruise Information

Duration Approximately 90 minutes
Operating Hours 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM (varies by season)
Departure Point Geibikei Station
Boat Type Traditional flat-bottomed boat
Capacity Approximately 30 passengers per boat
Ticket Price Adults: 1,600 yen
Children (elementary school age): 800 yen

Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of the Geibikei Gorges as you embark on a memorable river cruise. Whether you’re cruising in spring when cherry blossoms bloom or experiencing the vibrant colors of autumn, the Geibikei Gorges will leave you with lasting memories of Iwate Prefecture’s natural wonders.

Indulge in Relaxation at Onsens (Hot Springs)

When visiting Iwate Prefecture, one cannot miss the opportunity to experience the rejuvenating power of onsens, or natural hot springs. These thermal hotsprings are renowned for their healing properties and have been a cherished tradition in Japanese culture for centuries.

Immersing yourself in the warm, mineral-rich waters of an onsen is not only a relaxing experience but also offers numerous health benefits. The therapeutic properties of the hot springs can help relieve muscle tension, improve blood circulation, and promote overall well-being.

To enhance your onsen experience, consider staying at a traditional Japanese ryokan. These charming inns often feature private onsens for guests to enjoy in the privacy of their rooms. The serene ambiance, tatami floors, and exquisite Japanese hospitality make ryokans the perfect retreat for those seeking an authentic cultural experience.

Whether nestled in the mountains or by a flowing river, the onsens of Iwate Prefecture provide a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Soak in the natural beauty of the surroundings as you unwind and let the therapeutic waters wash away your cares.

Immerse Yourself in the Legendary Tono Town

Tono Town, located in the heart of the Japanese countryside, offers a captivating journey into a world of folklore tales and legends. This picturesque town is renowned for its rich traditional culture, where ancient customs and mystical beliefs are still deeply rooted in the local community. As you wander through the charming streets, you’ll encounter mythical creatures known as Yokai, including the mischievous water-dwelling Kappa.

The authenticity of Tono Town lies in its preservation of age-old traditions and captivating folklore. The locals take great pride in sharing their cultural heritage, and visitors have the opportunity to witness mesmerizing performances of traditional rituals and dances. Explore the Tono Folklore Museum, where you can immerse yourself in the fascinating world of Yokai and gain a deeper understanding of the folklore tales that have been passed down through generations.

One of the highlights of Tono Town is the captivating Kappa Bridge, which is said to be a crossing between the human world and the realm of the Yokai. The bridge is beautifully adorned with statues of Kappa, offering a unique and enchanting atmosphere. As you walk across the bridge, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into a world where fantasy and reality intertwine.

Table: Must-Visit Attractions in Tono Town

Attraction Description
Tono Folklore Museum An immersive museum showcasing the rich folklore and traditional culture of Tono Town.
Kappa Bridge A picturesque bridge adorned with Kappa statues, offering a magical atmosphere.
Cherry Blossom Viewing During the cherry blossom season, Tono Town is transformed into a sea of pink, creating a scenic and romantic backdrop.
Tono Furusato Village A traditional village showcasing historic buildings and daily life rituals of the region.
Tono Railway Enjoy a charming train ride through the countryside, offering picturesque views of the surrounding landscapes.

Visiting Tono Town is like stepping into a fairytale. Its captivating beauty, rich folklore, and warm hospitality make it a truly unique and unforgettable destination. Embrace the enchantment of this legendary town and create lasting memories as you delve into Japan’s mystical folklore traditions.

Discover the Ancient Goshono Jomon Period Site

The Goshono site is a significant archeological discovery that provides valuable insights into Japan’s early inhabitants during the Jomon period. Spanning over 75,000 square meters, this site showcases artifacts and remnants that date back to 14,500 BC to 1000 BC, making it one of the oldest known settlements in the country.

Excavations at the Goshono site have unearthed various artifacts, including pottery, tools, and dwellings, shedding light on the lifestyle and culture of the Jomon people. The pottery found at the site demonstrates their advanced ceramic skills, with distinctive cord-marked patterns and intricate designs. The tools discovered indicate their hunting, fishing, and gathering practices, highlighting their reliance on the surrounding natural resources.

Visitors to the Goshono site can explore the preserved remains of the ancient dwellings, gaining a glimpse into the daily lives of the Jomon people. The organized layout of the settlement provides valuable information about their community structure and social dynamics. Additionally, the site offers interpretive exhibits and educational resources to enhance the understanding and appreciation of this remarkable archeological find.

Uncover the mysteries of Japan’s early history and immerse yourself in the fascinating world of the Jomon period at the Goshono site. This archeological treasure offers a unique opportunity to connect with the ancient past and gain a deeper appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of Iwate Prefecture.

Key Features Archeological Discoveries
Pottery Cord-marked patterns with intricate designs
Tools Hunting, fishing, and gathering implements
Dwellings Preserved remains providing insights into their lifestyle
Community Structure Evidence of organized settlement layout


Iwate Prefecture is a treasure trove of hidden gems, boasting a rich cultural heritage and unparalleled natural beauty. From the historic temples of Hiraizumi to the majestic Ryusendo Cave and the pristine shores of Jodogahama beach, Iwate offers a myriad of unique experiences for both adventure seekers and culture enthusiasts.

Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the vast wonders of Hachimantai National Park, while winter sports enthusiasts can indulge in thrilling activities in Shizukuishi and Appi Kogen. For a taste of local traditions, Tono Town immerses visitors in a world of folklore tales and mythical creatures.

Throughout your journey in Iwate Prefecture, don’t forget to savor the local cuisine and rejuvenate in the traditional onsens, soaking in the therapeutic hot springs. Whether you seek serene landscapes, historical marvels, or authentic cultural experiences, Iwate Prefecture promises to captivate and leave an indelible mark on your heart.


Where is Iwate Prefecture located?

Iwate Prefecture is located in the region of Tohoku, Northern Japan.

What are some must-visit attractions in Iwate Prefecture?

Some must-visit attractions in Iwate Prefecture include Hiraizumi, Ryusendo Cave, Jodogahama beach, and Hachimantai National Park.

What should I try when visiting Iwate Prefecture?

When visiting Iwate Prefecture, make sure to try the famous Iwate beef, seafood delicacies, Reimen from Morioka, and Wanko soba.

What are the main historical and cultural sites in Iwate Prefecture?

The main historical and cultural sites in Iwate Prefecture include Hiraizumi, Tono Town, and the Goshono Jomon period site.

Are there any outdoor activities available in Iwate Prefecture?

Yes, there are plenty of outdoor activities available in Iwate Prefecture, such as hiking in Hachimantai National Park and winter sports in Shizukuishi and Appi Kogen.

Where can I relax and rejuvenate in Iwate Prefecture?

There are many ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) equipped with thermal hot springs (onsens) in Iwate Prefecture, providing the perfect opportunity to relax and rejuvenate.

What can I expect when visiting Tono Town?

When visiting Tono Town, you can expect to immerse yourself in rich folklore tales and legends, experience local traditions, and encounter mythical creatures like Yokai.

What is the significance of the Goshono Jomon period site?

The Goshono Jomon period site in Iwate Prefecture is a significant archaeological discovery that showcases the lives and history of Japan’s earliest populations dating back to 14,500 BC to 1000 BC.

Is Iwate Prefecture a hidden gem for travelers?

Yes, Iwate Prefecture is considered a hidden gem for travelers seeking a blend of cultural heritage and natural beauty.

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