The City of Morioka

the city of morioka Excursion

How many people have heard of Morioka? Morioka is one of Japan’s regional cities, not outstanding in size or population. To be honest, not many Japanese would choose it as a travel destination. However, the New York Times’ selection of the city as one of the best cities to visit in 2023 has raised its profile dramatically. (And it is the second best city to visit after London.)

morioka station

I have visited Morioka many times, mainly for the gourmet food that can only be found here. So, let me introduce Morioka’s charms for me.

Literary Landscape

Morioka City has an area larger than the 23 wards of Tokyo. However, its population is less than 300,000. These facts alone should give you an idea of the grandeur of this city. Even so, it is the prefectural capital and the largest city in the prefecture. The reason the population is not concentrated in a single area is that there are several small and medium-sized cities in Iwate Prefecture.

Rivers converge in the center of the city, and the Ou Mountains can be seen nearby. The poet Takuboku Ishikawa, who was born in Morioka, called it “a beautiful city of remembrance”.


Approximately 2 hours 10 minutes to 3 hours from Tokyo Station by Tohoku Shinkansen.

(Travel time varies depending on the Shinkansen. Hayabusa is the fastest)

Book quality hotels and ryokans in Japan at Rakuten Travel

The Good Points of Morioka

Morioka has no obvious tourist attractions. There is only the everyday life of a local city in Japan. There are people’s lives that have not been transformed into tourist attractions. Whether or not you are attracted to that depends on the person. But Morioka welcomes everyone with its openness. There are things to see in places that seem to be an extension of everyday life, so I will introduce them to you.

Kitakami River

kitakami river and mt. iwate

Morioka’s city center is at the confluence of rivers. When walking away from Morioka Station, you will always come across a bridge. As you look around from the bridge, you will see Mt. The scenery, with the mountains in the background, is beautiful and strangely nostalgic. On a fine day, a walk along the river is also a good idea.


A craft store with its main office in Zaimoku-cho, Morioka City.The company is known for publishing “The Restaurant of Many Orders,” and Kenji Miyazawa* gave the name to the company as a result. At that time, it was a publishing business, but now it is a store dealing in pottery, ironwork, glass crafts, and other items. The main store is divided into several buildings. One of them is a small museum dedicated to Kenji Miyazawa. Overall, Kohgensha has a retro and classical appearance, which is in keeping with Kenji Miyazawa’s world view.


*Kenji Miyazawa was a poet and writer of children’s stories in the late Taisho and early Showa periods (around 1990). He carved out a unique literary world, but was unknown during his lifetime. Today, he is very popular, and many Japanese have been exposed to his works since childhood.

Three Great Noodles of Morioka

There are some things you must eat when you come to Morioka. In particular, wanko soba, Morioka cold noodles, and jaja-men are called the “Three Great noodles of Morioka” and are a big draw for tourists.

Wanko Soba

Soba itself is no different from soba available anywhere in Japan. The feature lies in the style of serving. First, you hold a bowl and chopsticks in your hand. The waiter puts a portion of the soba into your bowl. When you finish eating, the soba is served immediately, and this continues until you close the lid of your bowl. The soba is served at a brisk tempo, with light shouting, so you will be eating to your limit. The style may vary slightly from restaurant to restaurant, such as whether it is all-you-can-eat or not.

I ate 40 bowls.

Recommended : Azumaya

The main store is more elegant, but the store in front of the station is more convenient. The soba is delicious, and they offer an all-you-can-eat system, so be sure to try their wanko soba!

Morioka Reimen

An adaptation of Reimen (cold noodles), originally a traditional dish from the Korean peninsula. It is mainly served at barbecue restaurants. Characterized by its firm noodles made of wheat flour and starch. Seasonal fruits (apple, watermelon, pear, etc.) are served on top as a palate cleanser. The spiciness can be adjusted with radish kimchi.

morioka reimen
I always order super spicy one.

Recommended : Seirokaku

A spacious restaurant in front of the station, making it easy to use. You can enjoy it with barbecued meat or just cold noodles.

Jaja Noodles

It was born from a man who tried to recreate the taste of Chinese food he had eaten in the former Manchuria before the war. Using Japanese ingredients, it was arranged to suit the palate of the people of Morioka and took its present form. Flat wheat flour noodles are topped with meat miso, cucumber, and green onion. Taste even the “chee-tang-tang,” where you pour the boiled water into the plate after eating the noodles and adjust your own flavor!


Recommended : Pairon

There are several branches in the city, and you can also eat in the station building, but they are crowded with few seats. For a taste of the original, try one of the city’s restaurants!

Excursion from Morioka

Morioka Station is a junction station for the Akita Shinkansen line to Akita and the Tohoku Shinkansen line to Hokkaido and Aomori. From Morioka, major Tohoku cities such as Akita, Aomori, and Sendai are connected by Shinkansen  within one to two hours. In other words, Morioka is a good base for sightseeing in the Tohoku region.

Here we will introduce some of the nearby tourist spots.

Koiwai Farm

Koiwai Farm has been in operation since 1891 and is the largest private integrated farm in Japan. It takes about 35 minutes by bus from Morioka Station. Part of the farm is open for sightseeing, with 3,000 sheep grazing on pasture and horseback riding available. Visitors can taste the dairy products produced here in the park’s restaurant and store.

Tsunagi Hot Spring

It is said that about 900 years ago, a samurai named Minamoto no Yoshie healed his battle wounds in this hot spring. A hot spring resort on the shore of a lake. It is located about 30 minutes by bus from Morioka and is an ideal place to stay.


hanamaki landscape

About 40 minutes from Morioka Station on the Tohoku Main Line. Known as the hometown of Kenji Miyazawa, a well-known a poet and children’s literature writer, Hanamaki is a town rich in beautiful nature. Hanamaki-Higashi High School, the alma mater of Major League Baseball player Shohei Otani, is also located here.

My Favorite Morioka : Fukuda Pan (Bakery)

A famous “koppe-pan” store in Morioka. “Koppe-pan” is a soft, spindle-shaped bread with a flat bottom, and is unique to Japan. It is eaten by cutting a slit in it and spreading butter or jam inside or inserting ingredients.

Mine is caramel cream and whip cream. Another is my friend’s Matcha and Kinako.

Fukuda Pan is popular because of the wide variety of ingredients that can be placed inside. The variety is endless, as one can mix and match the ingredients of one’s choice. The most attractive thing is the deliciousness of the bread. The soft and fluffy texture is only possible with freshly baked bread. The store opens as soon as the bread is sold out, so it is best to get there early.

If you are not comfortable with the verbal ordering system, try ordering by pointing with this!(Even when you can’t decide what to order.)

1. あんバター (No.1 on the menu) – anko (sweet bean paste) and butter

2. コンビーフたまご(I always order this!) – corned beef and egg 

3. じゃじゃみそ焼きそば (typical Morioka flavor) – meat miso and fried noodles

Enjoy Morioka to the fullest!