Top things to do

Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Hiraizumi

Chūson-ji

Established in AD 850 by the priest Ennin, this complex was expanded by the Ōshu Fujiwara family in the 12th century. A total of 300 buildings with 40 temples were constructed. Ironically, the family's grand scheme …
Soba in Morioka

Azumaya Honten

Customers line up and tour buses roll in for this hugely popular wanko-soba restaurant. A Morioka tradition, the waiter will refill your tiny bowl with soba (buckwheat noodles) as soon as you've put the last one dow…
Japanese Curry in Morioka

Karē Kōbō Chalten

Serving the best curry we tried in the whole of northern Japan, this small, charming curry house makes nothing else but creamy plates of curry, and rice and salad. The wonderful vegetarian option uses eight differen…
Cultural in Tōno

Tōno Matsuri

This flamboyant spectacle, involving prayers for a bountiful harvest, is deeply connected with the legends of Tōno. There are yabusame events (horseback archery, in this case a 700-year-old event), traditional dance…
Homewares in Morioka

Kamasada Honten

Morioka is known for its nanbu tekki (cast ironware), notably tea kettles. There are some beautiful examples at this venerable old shop, along with more affordable items, such as wind chimes and incense holders.
Dance in Morioka

Sansa Odori

In Morioka's most famous festival, thousands of dancers take to the streets, celebrating the banishment of an evil ogre that once upon a time plagued the city.
Buddhist Temple in Hiraizumi

Konjiki-dō

With gilding up to its eaves, elaborate lacquerwork and mother-of-pearl inlay, the Konjiki-dō was at the cutting edge of Heian-era artistry when it was created in 1124 – and it still impresses today. Beneath the thr…
Udon in Morioka

Pairon Honten

Jaja-men (flat noodle with miso and minced meat) joints are all over town, but this hole-in-the wall icon is still the leader. Ordering is a breeze: just ask for shō (small), chū (medium) or dai (large). When you're…
Soba in Tōno

Itō-ke

Among the soba varieties served here, try hitsuko soba (ひつこそば), eaten with chicken, mushrooms, onion and raw egg. Otherwise go for hittsumi (ひっつみ), hand-cut noodles served with chicken-and-vegetable dumplings in a h…
Buddhist Temple in Tōno

Jōken-ji

This peaceful temple is dedicated to the deity image of Obinzuru-sama. Behind the temple is the kappa-buchi pool, where Tōno's famous water sprites lurk. It is said that if pregnant women worship at the shrine on th…