Introducing 5 must-see sights at Morioka in Iwate, Tohoku. Hope this guide helps you planning your visit to Morioka!

1. Morioka Hachimangu Shrine

This is the shrine built to spiritually protect the castle town of Morioka, and here lies the guardian god of the lord Nanbu family. Located fairly close to Morioka station, and it’s the biggest complex of shrines in Morioka with 12 buildings of small shrines. There are famous events throughout the year, such as Hadaka-Matsuri and Donto-Matsuri in January, Setsubun-Matsuri and Hibuse Matsuri in February. At Rei-taisai in September, historical scenes will be on the showy floats that proceed one after the other through the streets, together with mikoshi the whole town will be so festive at this time.

The torii of Morioka Hachimangu Shrine

The torii of Morioka Hachimangu Shrine

 

The main building of Morioka Hachimangu Shrine

The main building of Morioka Hachimangu Shrine

 

The shop next to the main building. Lots of charms related to relationships were sold here

The shop next to the main building. Lots of charms related to relationships were sold here

Address:
13-1 Hachimancho, Morioka, Iwate Prefecture

Website:
http://morioka8man.jp/

By the way, the most famous Jajamen restaurant “Pairon” is located very close to Morioka Hachimangu Shrine. Why don’t you visit here together?

Pairon, the most famous Jajamen restaurant

Pairon, the most famous Jajamen restaurant

 

Pairon’s Jajamen

Pairon’s Jajamen

 

Address:

5-15 Uchimaru, Morioka-shi, Iwate Prefecture

Hours:

Mondays to Saturdays 9:00-21:00, Sundays 11:30-18:45
Closed during Obon holidays (mid-August) and new years

Tel:
019-624-2247

2. Ishiwari Zakura, Rock-Breaking Cherry Tree

This is the 360 years old cherry tree growing out of a granite boulder. Ishiwari Zakura is designated as a Special Natural Treasure of Japan. It is so beautiful when the flowers in full bloom! Usually, it becomes in full bloom around mid-April.

The tree is located 15 minutes walk from Morioka Station, in front of the Morioka District Court building.

Rock-Breaking Cherry Tree

Rock-Breaking Cherry Tree. From Wikipedia

 

Address:
9-1, Uchimaru, Morioka city

*In front of Morioka District Court building

(About 15 min walk from Morioka station )

3. Morioka Handi-Works Square

This is a facility to look, feel, and create handcrafts and food of Morioka. The Workshop Area is very popular, you can see craftsmen creating the products and participate in activities to create one for your own! You will encounter 11 industries and 15 studios, such as; Nanbu Senbei, bamboo crafts, straw crafts, ceramics, furniture, wooden toy, textile, snacks, and Morioka Reimen.

Not only you can see and participate, but also over 3,500 handmade products are able to be purchased as well. In the Exhibition area, you can look around Nanbu style house built 200 years ago, and traditional handicrafts. Highly recommended for those of you with kids.

An activity at Morioka Handi-Works Square

An activity at Morioka Handi-Works Square. From Twitter

Address:
64-102 Oirino, Tsunagi, Morioka City

Hours:
8:40-17:00
Closed on New Year’s holidays

Fees:
Free except Exhibition Room: elementary school students and up 100 yen; groups  (20 or more)  80 yen

Website:
http://tezukurimura.com/main/
(in Japanese)
http://www.japan-iwate.info/app/location_detail.php?lid=70
(in English)

4. Morioka Castle Site Park

Morioka Castle used to be a the residence of the lord Nanbu family. There are Morioka History and Culture Museum and rose garden in the park. The park is also famous for a sight to see beautiful sakura cherry blossoms and red colored leaves.

Morioka Castle Site Park

Morioka Castle Site Park

The beautiful cherry blossom trees at Morioka Castle Site Park

The beautiful cherry blossom trees at Morioka Castle Site Park. From Instagram

 

Morioka Castle Site Park becomes all red in autumn

Morioka Castle Site Park becomes all red in autumn. From Instagram

Located very close to Morioka Hachimangu Shrine.

Address:
1-37 Uchimaru Morioka-shi, Iwate Prefecture

Website:
http://www.japan-iwate.info/app/location_detail.php?lid=10

5. Mount Iwate and Iwayama Park

The beautiful Mount Iwate is so famous that people think of this mountain when they hear the word “Iwate”. Mount Iwate is the biggest mountain in Iwate. As it is listed as one of the 100 Famous Japanese Mountains, the mountain is so beautiful from sunrise to sunset.

The best viewing spot in Morioka city is “Kaiunbashi Bridge”.

Mount Iwate from Kaiunbashi Bridge

Mount Iwate from Kaiunbashi Bridge

 

On the other hand, at Iwayama Park, is located on a hill, about 15 minutes drive from Morioka station, Mount Iwate and other mountain range can be viewed. This place is a popular sight to go for a date to locals in Morioka city. The observation deck is shaped like a disk. You will get an amazing view of the city of Morioka city here, as it is designated as one of  “Japan Night View Heritage” and “100 Night Views of Japan”.

The beautiful view of Morioka City from the observation deck of Iwayama Park

The beautiful view of Morioka City from the observation deck of Iwayama Park. From Twitter

Iwayama Park (Iwayama Observation Deck)

Address:
50-6 Iwayama, Shinjo Morioka-shi, Iwate Prefecture

Website:
http://www.city.morioka.iwate.jp/midori/koen/001159.html
(Japanese Only)