Actor Hiroaki Murakami, from Rikuzentakata City in Iwate Prefecture, stars in Iwate Prefecture’s special PR video ”Iwate☆Hamarain Special Envoy”. It is a PR movie that introduces the charm of Iwate Prefecture, while travelling through different regions.
While visiting the town of Iwaizumi, Hiroaki Murakami, playing the role of a traveler, gets caught up in mysterious events after drinking the water of Ryusendo Cave at a cafe within the town.
What Kind of a Place Is Iwate Prefecture?
Plenty of mountains and a vast sea stretch out in Iwate Prefecture, which is the largest prefecture in Honshu.
There are plenty of historic sites that convey the history and culture of Iwate, such as Hiraizumi and Hashino Iron Mine, both of which are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Iwate has a grand nature surrounded by sea and mountains, as well as two World Heritage Sites that can be enjoyed at the same time. This is the kind of charm you can only experience in Iwate.
Access to Iwate Prefecture
Arriving by car: Approx. 5 hours 20 min. from Tokyo (Kawaguchi Juntion) to Morioka Interchange via Tohoku Expressway.
Arriving by train: At least approx. 2 hours 10 min. from Tokyo Station to Morioka Station by Tohoku Shinkansen train (Hayabusa, Hayate, Yamabiko).
Arriving by bus: Approx. 7 hours 35 min. from Tokyo Station to Morioka Station by highway bus (Dream Morioka Liner).
3 Must-see Spots to Visit When Visiting Iwate Prefecture
A cliff towering approximately 200 meters above the sea level, while sea caves and strangely shaped rocks stretch out for about 8 kilometers in length. This beautiful cliff, which is sometimes called the Alps of the sea, is a true spectacle to behold.
A huge limestone cave that was created over hundred million years ago by limestone formations. The part open to the public alone is around 700 meters long (most of the cave is not open to the public). The mysteriously shaped stalactites, and the world’s most transparent underground lake shining in blue are the highlights of the cave.
A gorge with over 100m tall cliffs span a total length of about 2 kilometers. It is a popular and relaxing boat ride down the lake between the towering cliffs, while listening to the boatman sing “Geibikei oiwake”, which is a traditional local song.
3 Must-eat Dishes to Order When Visiting Iwate Prefecture
The Three Great Noodles of Morioka
”Wanko Soba”, “Morioka Reimen”, and “Morioka Jajamen”, widely known as “The Three Great Noodles of Morioka”, are noodle dishes that represent Morioka. They are so popular that not just the locals, but also many tourists come to search for the best dishes in Morioka. You definitely want to try each of these noodle dishes.
Mochi (sticky rice cake) cuisine has been part of the culture of Ichinoseki and Hiraizumi region, located in the southern part of Iwate Prefecture, ever since the Edo period. In 2013, “Washoku”, meaning the traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese, was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. Even in this registration, the Mochi cuisine is properly introduced, and is referred to as “the Mochi food culture in Ichinoseki region”.
Eating fresh and delicious seafood alongside the beautiful scenery is the best attraction of Sanriku Coast in Iwate. You can enjoy seasonal seafood, such as sea urchin, abalone, and Wakame seaweed.
3 Must-buy Souvenirs when visiting Iwate Prefecture
Nanbu ironware is manufactured mainly in Morioka City and Oshu City. Some examples of Nanbu ironware include wind chimes, teaware, and many modern everyday items. There are plenty of variations to choose from when buying a souvenir, such as colorful tea utensils, and kitchen accessories.
Kuji City, which is known for being the filming location of NHK drama “Amachan”, is one of the leading producers of amber in the world. The almost 85 million-year-old amber is sold in various shapes and forms, such as accessories, clocks, stationery, and bathing powders. Amber, which is said to bring happiness, is something you want to keep an eye out for when buying souvenirs.
Bottled sea urchin
If you are coming to Iwate in the summer, you must check out bottled sea urchin! If you come across it at a fish dealer or supermarket anywhere within the prefecture, you must buy it instantly. The sea urchin of Iwate is tightly packed inside a simple, milk-bottle-looking glass container. Highly recommended with a reasonable price.
The Dialect of Iwate Prefecture
“Nageru”…Throw away (thrash, etc.)
“Makasu”…Spill something (mainly liquid). It has a nuance that something is knocked over, and the contents are scattered around.
“Jejeje!”…A phrase that suddenly became famous when it appeared in the NHK drama “Amachan”. An expression of surprise that comes out of your mouth involuntarily. Depending on the area, there are other variations, such as ”jajaja” and ”baababa”.
“Ameru”…To rot, or something is rotting.
“Izui”, “Enzui”…Unpleasant, uncomfortable.
All of this, and plenty more fascinating things are waiting for you to discover in Iwate Prefecture, so why not pay a visit sometime soon?
A Trip to Iwate
translated by Samu Pekka Ojanen
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