Exploring Morioka City

Discover Osaka’s unique culinary culture with the help of this guide.

To experience the “Three Great Noodles of Morioka,” visitors must travel to Iwate Prefecture’s capital city.

Morioka, Japan’s natural beauty capital, has been dubbed “the capital of forest and water” because of its rivers and mountains. With so many events, the city truly comes to life with vibrancy and merriment.

 

The cherry blossoms in Morioka, Japan

Morioka’s cherry blossoms in full bloom.

The rock-splitting cherry tree, known as the Ishiwarizakura in Japanese, is a national treasure of Japan and one of Morioka’s most intriguing attractions. A stunning 400-year-old cherry tree grows curiously between two fractured parts of a granite rock on the grounds of the district courthouse.

A beautiful sight, especially in the springtime when the tree’s change-heralding sakura blooms, is an adored tree by many.

 

Three Great Noodle Dishes

Wanka soba, the famous Japanese noodles.

You could have a different bowl of noodles for every meal of the day if you used Morioka’s three famous types of noodles.

As for jajamen, it’s the local take on Chinese black bean noodles. Reimen, which uses potato starch in place of rice, was inspired by a Korean meal that’s served with kimchi, as well as a slice of fruit.

The most intriguing meal, though, is wanko soba, a game-like noodle dish that gives an interesting eating experience.

The thin buckwheat noodles are presented in tiny bowls in bite-sized servings, but a caring server will replenish each bowl as soon as you finish it. Customers fight to see who can pile up the most empty dishes after they’ve finished the unlimited supply of ramen.

 

Seasonal celebrations

At the Festival of Morioka Sansa Odori.

In spite of its modest size, Morioka is home to a slew of bright and well-attended events.

The festival of Chagu Chagu Umakko

The adorably titled Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival takes place on the second Saturday in June and features a procession of 100 horses through the streets and hills. With their magnificent traditional ornamentation, the horses are called Chagu Chagu, an onomatopoeia which means “tinkling bells” in Spanish.

Festival of Morioka Sansa

The world’s largest taiko parade takes place during the Morioka Sansa Festival, which runs from August 1 to 4. On hot summer days, dancing companies perform intense routines in front of audiences while taiko drums and flutes accompany them on the streets.

The Fall Festival in Morioka, Japan

During the week of September 14–16, the Morioka Fall Celebration, a shrine festival, takes place. Traditional Yabusame ceremonies at Hachimangu Shrine, where archers shoot targets from the backs of galloping horses, take place during the parade of floats.

On the first day of the event, the parade starts at 1 p.m. from the shrine, and on the second day, it starts at 6 p.m. from Morioka Castle Ruins Park. Hachimangu Shrine hosts the thrilling horseback archery competition on the festival’s final day at 1 p.m.

In the nearby city of Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture hosted two Rugby World Cup matches in 2019.

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