Iwate Prefecture, located in the northern part of Honshu, is the second largest prefecture in Japan, after Hokkaido. It can be reached in around two and a half hours by Shinkansen from Tokyo.
In Iwate Prefecture, you can fully enjoy nature during the cool spring and summer, and in winter, when the snow falls and piles up, you can enjoy winter sports everywhere in the prefecture.
The caves in Iwate Prefecture
Iwate has plenty of caves. Why explore these mysterious Japanese caves?
Akkado is 23,702 meters long, making it the longest cave in Japan. 550 meters of it is open to the public. The cave has stalactites of various shapes, some even look like a penguins or a rhinoceros!
Ryusendo, which has been selected as one of the three great limestone caves in Japan, has a beautiful blue underground lake. Located across the lake from Ryusendo is Ryusen Shindo Science Museum, which is the first cave in the world that has been made into a science museum. Some of the display items include earthenware, stone tools, and things that reproduce the life of ancient people.
Yugendo, which is popular for its emerald green underground lake, is a 350-million-year-old geological formation.
The caves are cool even in the summer, so make sure to put on enough clothes.
Visit Appi Kogen for winter sports
For those who are visiting during the winter season, we recommend skiing.
Among the numerous ski resorts, the popular Appi Kogen, which has a total of 21 courses, has a hot spring, a heated swimming pool, and a hotel near the slopes.
The longest run at the ski resort is 5,500 meters! In addition, there are advanced courses with non-compacted snow, where the snow is so silky smooth that you can’t even make snowballs out of it.
APPI Happy Snowpark is a place made for beginner skiers and snowboarders. It has gentle slopes, which allow you to practice safely. You can also borrow sleds, shovels, etc. for children to play with.
After you are done skiing or snowboarding, we recommend Shirakaba no Yu, which is a hot spring surrounded by Japanese white birches. There is also an open-air bath, so you can take a bath while enjoying the night sky. Hotel Appi Grand has a private spa, which can be reserved, so those who want to enjoy a hot spring bath in privacy should go there.
Iwate’s local cuisine
Wanko soba is a very famous dish in Iwate Prefecture. Wanko soba is a noodle dish where a small amount of noodles is added to your bowl one serving after another, until you put a lid on your bowl, and the amount of bowls you eat is recorded. Noodles are piled up into bowls right before your eyes, so having a friendly eating competition with your family our friends is also fun.
Other delicious dishes include Morioka Reimen (cold noodles), which tastes good in the summer, and Morioka Jajamen, which is made of udon-like noodles topped with meat miso sauce.
Why not visit Iwate Prefecture, where you can enjoy caves in the summer, and winter sports in the winter time?
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