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Iwate Prefecture

The glorious temples of Hiraizumi are among only a few physical reminders of the turbulent feudal past of Iwate Prefecture (岩手県; Iwate-ken), but there are nonetheless plenty of opportunities for exploration in Japan's second-largest prefecture. Sleepy valleys, a rugged coastline and high, lush mountains attract discerning hikers and those looking for a tree-change, but it’s perhaps the Tōno Valley, where countless folk tales are still born and told, where travellers will glimpse that all-too-rare Lost Japan.

The coastal communities here have regrouped admirably since the Great East Japan Earthquake and visitors with their own wheels, or the patience for the slow trains, will be rewarded with glorious sunrises and welcoming hosts.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Iwate Prefecture.