A Wonderful City Woven with Nature and Culture

Do you know Morioka, a city where nature and culture harmonize?
This time, I’m introducing a charming city filled with history and tradition.

This town, woven with nature and culture, offers many attractions and experiences. Morioka City is a captivating tourist destination with rich nature, historical landmarks, and local gourmet delights. The seasonal landscapes and traditional events captivate visitors.

Table of Contents

Summer Events

Chagu Chagu Umakko (Second Saturday of June)

The summer festival season in Morioka begins with the traditional event Chagu Chagu Umakko, held in Morioka and Takizawa City, Iwate Prefecture. From June to August, a series of events continue to attract locals and tourists.
Horses adorned with elaborate decorations depart from Onikoshi Komagata Shrine in Takizawa City and march approximately 13 km to Morioka Hachimangu Shrine. The name "Chagu Chagu" comes from the sound of the bells on the horses.

Recommended Viewing Spots
Onikoshi Komagata Shrine in Takizawa City (starting point) and Morioka Hachimangu Shrine (ending point) are particularly impressive. Along the roadside, you can watch the horse procession up close and enjoy the tradition with the locals.
Onikoshi Komagata Shrine Address: 100-3 Ukaigaikubo, Takizawa City, Iwate Prefecture
Morioka Hachimangu Shrine Address: 13-1 Hachimantown, Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture
Additional Information
Chagu Chagu Umakko Preservation Society Official Website

Morioka Sansa Odori (August 1st-4th)

After Chagu Chagu Umakko, as summer peaks in August, the Morioka Sansa Odori begins. This large-scale summer festival is held annually from August 1st to 4th, enveloping the entire city in festive excitement.
Sansa Odori, danced to the sound of drums and flutes, involves many dancers in colorful costumes, captivating spectators with its power and beauty. The parade of drums, recognized by the Guinness World Records, is also a highlight.
Recommended Viewing Spots
Morioka Castle Site Park and the Nakatsugawa area are popular viewing spots, especially the nighttime illumination which is a must-see. The sight of dancers illuminated against the night sky is enchanting.
Many food stalls offering local delicacies also set up shop.

Additional Information
Morioka Sansa Odori Official Website

Nature and Relaxation

The Beautiful Gardens of Nanshoso and the Seasonal Changes of Morioka Castle Site Park

Nanshoso is a historic garden built in 1885, where you can enjoy the different faces of the garden in each season. From the fresh greenery of summer to the autumn leaves, you can enjoy different beauty with each visit.

Additional Information
Morioka City Official Website - Nanshoso
On the other hand, Morioka Castle Site Park is also a place to feel the changes of the seasons.
In spring, you can see a carpet of cherry blossoms, in summer, fireflies and unique green trees, in autumn, colorful leaves, and in winter, pure white fluffy snow, each season offering different charms.
This park has been selected as one of Japan's Top 100 Castles and Japan's Top 100 Historical Parks, and the view of Mount Iwate from the park is also very beautiful.
Especially during the autumn foliage season, many tourists visit and are moved by its beauty.

Additional Information
Morioka City Official Website - Morioka Castle Site Park

Salmon Spawning in the Nakatsugawa River

In the Nakatsugawa River, which flows through the center of Morioka City, you can see salmon swimming upstream every year from September to October. The sight of salmon swimming powerfully in the clear water is a wonder of life.
During this time, many nature lovers and photographers visit to capture the sight of the salmon swimming upstream. There are walking paths along the river, making it a great place to enjoy with family.
Reference Video: Salmon Swimming Upstream in the Nakatsugawa River

Relaxation Experience at Tsunagi Onsen

Morioka City is home to Tsunagi Onsen, which boasts a history of 900 years.
There are hot spring inns, free foot baths, hand baths, and even facilities where you can make your own onsen tamago (hot spring eggs), allowing you to relax and enjoy.
The waters of Tsunagi Onsen are known for their beautifying effects, and they are loved by many. The hot spring town has many inns and accommodations, each offering unique services.

Additional Information
Tsunagi Onsen Tourism Association Official Website

The Waterfalls of Toyama Forest Park

Toyama Forest Park features two types of waterfalls: "Tsukikage Waterfall" and "Tenkage Waterfall."
One is Tsukikage Waterfall, which you can view while crossing a suspension bridge, and the other is Tenkage Waterfall, which you can approach closely.
In summer, surrounded by green trees, you feel the power, and in spring and autumn, the gentle sunlight creates a soft atmosphere.
This picturesque scene appears after about an hour of hiking and will soothe your heart and tired body.
You can enjoy hiking and BBQs in nature and eat Japanese soba noodles.
This park is popular with families and nature lovers, and you can enjoy different scenery each season.

Additional Information
Morioka City Toyama Forest Park Official Website
Food and Culture

Morioka Specialty: Wanko Soba

A representative gourmet of Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture, Wanko Soba is a popular event for tourists to compete on how many bowls they can eat. Originally served as a hospitality dish, it is a traditional Morioka cuisine with a long history.
With the servers' chants of "Hai, jan-jan," and "Hai, don-don," bowls of soba are continuously poured into the bowls, and you keep eating rhythmically. According to the Wanko Soba rules, you cannot stop eating until you cover your bowl with a lid. As soon as your bowl is empty, the server quickly pours more soba, making it an enjoyable battle with the servers in the end.
When you visit Morioka, be sure to challenge yourself with Wanko Soba. How many bowls can you eat?

Experience Locations
There are many Wanko Soba specialty shops in Morioka City, with "Soba-dokoro Azumaya" being particularly famous. You can also enjoy it with friends and family if you make a reservation for a group experience.
Wanko Soba Competition
The annual Wanko Soba Competition attracts many participants from all over the country, competing for their skills. This competition is also a tourist attraction, and it's enjoyable to watch.
Additional Information
Soba-dokoro Azumaya Official Website
Morioka Specialty Wanko Soba Hatsukoma Official Website
Morioka Tourism Information Official Website - All Japan Wanko Soba Championship

Morioka Apples

Morioka City's apples bloom in May and are harvested from September to November. The particularly delicious honey-filled apples are a must-try when you visit. Morioka's apples are known for their sweetness and aroma, receiving high praise nationwide.

Visiting Apple Orchards:
There are many apple orchards around Morioka City where tourists can experience harvesting. Especially at "Asashima Tourism Apple Orchard" and "Fujimura Farm," there are many programs that families can enjoy.
There are also many local sweets and dishes made with apples, with apple pies and jams being perfect souvenirs. You can also enjoy menus featuring apples at cafes and restaurants in the city.
Additional Information
Asashima Tourism Apple Orchard
Fujimura Farm

Nanbu Shikon Dyeing and Akane Dyeing

The traditional crafts of Morioka, "Nanbu Shikon Dyeing" and "Nanbu Akane Dyeing," have been loved in the Nanbu region since before the Kamakura period. Shikon dyeing uses natural dyes extracted from the roots of the purple gromwell, while Akane dyeing uses dyes from the roots of the madder plant, creating beautiful crafts interwoven with wild grasses and traditional techniques.
Shikon dyeing has a calm beauty, while Akane dyeing gives a bright and cute impression. These crafts are popular not only as kimonos but also as small items such as coin purses and bags, making them perfect gifts for loved ones.
Currently, the only place producing Nanbu Shikon Dyeing and Nanbu Akane Dyeing is "Soshido" in Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture. Everything is handmade, ensuring that no two items are the same, allowing you to find your unique pattern that exists only in the world.

Workshop Experience
Soshido also operates a workshop where you can experience dyeing and create your original dyed items. Tourists can easily participate in the various programs.
Product Appeal
The products of Nanbu Shikon Dyeing and Akane Dyeing are characterized by their colors and textures, with kimonos, obis, and scarves being particularly popular. As a traditional local craft, each handmade item has high value.
Additional Information
Soshido Official Website

The Historic Streets of Naya-machi

In Morioka's Naya-machi, townhouses built over a century ago are still carefully used. In summer, morning glories bloom, making the scenery even more beautiful. In this place full of history, you can feel like you have stepped back in time.

The Charm of Strolling

Naya-machi is a historic area in Morioka City, preserving old townscapes from the Edo period.
Samurai residences and merchant houses from the Nanbu domain line the streets, with many historical buildings well-preserved. Now a popular tourist destination, you can enjoy traditional architecture and townscapes. There are also cafes and galleries utilizing old houses, offering a unique atmosphere blending history and modern culture.
Additional Information
Naya-machi Official Website
Morioka Machinami Juku

Historical Buildings of Morioka

Morioka has many historical buildings scattered throughout the city, allowing you to feel the rich history and culture as you stroll around.
The former Morioka Bank Head Office, built in the Meiji era, is particularly noteworthy for its beautiful Western-style architecture and exhibits of tools and documents used in banking operations at the time.
The Henan area is a region that strongly conveys Morioka's history, with Western-style buildings from the Meiji era, such as the "Iwate Bank Red Brick Building," being used as cultural facilities.
Along the Nakatsugawa River, you will find atmospheric cafes like "Fukakusa," craft shops like "Himekuri," and general stores like "Goza Kyu," where you can feel the charm of the castle town. "Booknerd," a bookstore located in this area, features a unique selection of new and secondhand books chosen by the owner, offering a distinctive experience. This store perfectly matches the culturally rich area, providing visitors with a special experience. As you stroll through Morioka's streets, where history and culture intersect, you can sense both the old and new Morioka.

Additional Information
Morioka City Official Website - Former Morioka Bank
Iwate Bank Red Brick Building
Morioka City is an attractive city where nature and culture merge.
Summer events, rich nature, traditional food culture and crafts, and historical buildings welcome visitors.
By visiting Morioka, you will surely gain new discoveries and emotions. Please enjoy the charm of Morioka to the fullest using this guide as a reference.