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Breathtaking experiences of nature and exuberant local life

Outdoor sports like skiing and mountaineering, and hot springs where you can truly relax while gazing out over a bank of clouds, valleys or the sea? Or will you take part in the world’s record-breaking no. 1 taiko drums parade, an unforgettable experience of mingling with locals?

Trekking heals the soul under the wide blue sky

In Iwate Prefecture, blessed by mountains large and small, there is a diverse range of options for enjoying a walk in the mountains, from hour-long walks to challenging 2- or 3-day hikes. The alpine vegetation is a pleasure to behold in spring and summer, while in autumn it is the views from high peaks across the changing color of the mountain flanks that delight. Get your trekking shoes and mountain jacket out.

Enjoy skiing in deep, soft snow

The mountains in the west of the prefecture are covered in deep snow from December to May and are home to over 15 ski resorts. To the northwest, Appi Kogen is one of Japan’s most famous ski areas, reputed for its fine powder. Here, everyone from beginners to experts can ski down thrilling runs through the forest on fresh powder snow. Geto Kogen Ski Resort in the west is also recommended: it sees some of the highest average snowfalls in Japan.

Local events welcoming tourists with open arms

Japanese matsuri (festivals), originally seasonal religious events, are unique and deeply rooted in their district and community. At Morioka’s Sansa Odori Festival every August, around 20,000 people parade through the city playing 1500 flutes and beating more than 10,000 taiko drums. After the parade, dances are held all around the venue, and tourists can join the fun if they like. Enjoy the summer nights of Morioka, where the excitement is infectious.

Railways with stunning scenery and fun-filled cabins

If you ride a train with spectacular views out the window and the shared excitement of fellow travelers, you will have deeper experiences and longer memories of your trip. Sanriku Railway runs along the base of mountains which rise sharply from the inland side of the line, ensuring spectacular views. Iwate also has the Ginga (galaxy)-themed steam train that allows riders to live in book of a famous local children’s author. The coaches feature galleries and planetariums, whisking passengers into a fantasy world.

At one with nature in a hot spring

Hot springs, long sought-after as a cure for internal ailments and injuries, are now a popular drawcard for international travelers in search of relaxation. Easing into one of Iwate’s outdoor baths, affording ocean views on the coast or mountain valley vistas, will put you at one with nature and sooth your body and soul at the same time. Many onsen do not require you to stay the night, so a driving tour of hot springs is also highly recommended.




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