Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024
Morioka Unveiled: A Symphony of Nature, Tradition, and Culinary Delights in Japan's Undiscovered Gem

Morioka, nestled in the heart of Iwate Prefecture, Japan, is a hidden gem celebrated for its rich cultural tapestry, exquisite local cuisine, and serene natural landscapes. Known for landmarks like the Morioka Castle Ruins and the unique craftsmanship of Nambu Tekki (ironware), this city offers a deep dive into traditional Japanese culture. Recently recognized by the New York Times as one of the top places to visit(2023), Morioka’s blend of historical charm and natural beauty, alongside its innovative approach to preserving and celebrating its heritage, has captured the attention of global travelers. From its vibrant festivals to the tranquil beauty of its parks and temples, Morioka is a captivating destination that promises an enriching experience.

The Best Ways to Travel from Tokyo to Morioka

To travel from Tokyo to Morioka city in Japan, you have several options, including train, bus, and car. Here’s a brief overview of each:

By Train (Shinkansen)

  • Route: The most efficient way is to take the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo Station to Morioka Station.
  • Duration: Approximately 2 to 2.5 hours, depending on the type of Shinkansen.
  • Frequency: Shinkansen trains run frequently throughout the day.
  • Notes: The Tohoku Shinkansen line is the one you’ll use. There are various services including Hayabusa, Yamabiko, and Hayate, with Hayabusa being the fastest.

By Bus

  • Route: There are highway buses available from Tokyo to Morioka.
  • Duration: The journey takes about 8 to 9 hours.
  • Frequency: Several bus companies operate on this route with various departure times.
  • Notes: Buses can be a more economical option but take significantly longer than the Shinkansen.

By Car

  • Route: You can drive from Tokyo to Morioka via the Tohoku Expressway.
  • Duration: Approximately 6 to 7 hours, depending on traffic.
  • Notes: Driving gives you the flexibility to travel at your own pace and explore along the way, but toll fees can be expensive.


  • Best for Speed: The Shinkansen is by far the quickest and most convenient way to travel between Tokyo and Morioka, offering a comfortable and scenic journey.
  • Economical Option: If you’re looking to save money, consider the highway bus, but be prepared for a much longer journey.
  • Flexibility and Sightseeing: Driving offers the most flexibility and the opportunity for sightseeing, but it’s the most costly option in terms of tolls and fuel.

Each option has its own advantages depending on your priorities, such as budget, time, and the experience you’re looking for.

Morioka Castle Ruins Park (Iwate Park)

Morioka Castle Ruins Park

Morioka Castle Ruins Park, also known as Iwate Park, is a serene spot that offers a glimpse into Japan’s feudal past with its well-preserved castle ruins. The park is a favorite among locals and tourists alike for its beautiful cherry blossoms in spring and vibrant autumn leaves. It’s a perfect place for a stroll or a picnic, surrounded by the history and natural beauty of Morioka. The site also hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year, making it a lively hub of local activity.


Morioka Handi-Works Square(盛岡手づくり村)

Morioka Handcrafts Village

Morioka Handi-Works Square is a vibrant showcase of Iwate Prefecture’s rich craft traditions, including ironware, lacquerware, and wooden crafts. Visitors can watch artisans at work, participate in workshops, and purchase unique handmade items. It’s an excellent place to experience the local culture and craftsmanship that Morioka is famous for. The square also features eateries where you can taste local delicacies, making it a delightful cultural and culinary destination.


Hoon-ji Temple(報恩寺)

Hoon-ji Temple is known for its impressive collection of 500 Rakan statues, each with a unique facial expression and posture. This Buddhist temple offers a peaceful retreat in the heart of Morioka, with its stunning architecture and spiritual atmosphere. Visitors can explore the temple grounds and admire the intricate details of the statues, which are considered a masterpieces of Japanese Buddhist art. The temple’s tranquil gardens provide a perfect backdrop for reflection and meditation.


Morioka History and Culture Museum


The Morioka History and Culture Museum provides an insightful exploration of the city’s past, from its ancient to modern times. Exhibits cover various topics, including local folklore, traditional crafts, and the city’s development. The museum is housed in a beautifully restored historical building, adding to the charm and educational experience. It’s a must-visit for anyone looking to understand the historical and cultural fabric of Morioka.


Koiwai Farm(小岩井農場)

Koiwai Farm

Koiwai Farm is a sprawling agricultural estate at the foot of Mt. Iwate, offering breathtaking views and a chance to connect with nature. The farm is famous for its dairy products, which visitors can sample and purchase. It also offers various outdoor activities, including farm tours, horseback riding, and seasonal events like cherry blossom viewing and autumn leaf-peeping. The farm’s vast landscapes and family-friendly attractions make it a popular destination for a day trip from Morioka.




Sunoya is a popular revolving sushi restaurant located in Morioka, known for offering a wide range of fresh, high-quality sushi at reasonable prices. It’s a favorite among locals and tourists alike for its inviting atmosphere and the opportunity to sample various types of sushi, from classic favorites to innovative creations. The restaurant’s efficient service and the freshness of its offerings make it a must-visit for anyone craving authentic Japanese sushi in Morioka.

The Asabiraki brewery(あさ開)

Japanese SAKE

The Asabiraki Brewery in Morioka offers company tours that provide a fascinating glimpse into the world of sake brewing. Visitors can explore the meticulous process of sake production, from rice selection to fermentation, and learn about the history and traditions that have shaped Asabiraki into a renowned sake brewery. The tour concludes with a tasting session, where guests can savor the distinct flavors of their finely crafted sake.

Asakai Sake Brewery Tour

Please make a reservation in advance (staff will guide you)
Sake brewery tours
9:00-16:00 (reception 15:30 during regular hours)
Opening hours
Fixed holidays
3-5 large buses and about 30 regular cars. (Free of charge)



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