Iwate Prefecture - 岩手県

map of iwate prefecture

Situated on the easternmost point of Honshu, Iwate faces the Pacific Ocean to the east whilst bordering Akita towards the west, Aomori to the north and Miyagi to the south.

Forming part of the Tohoku region, Iwate’s interior is home to a vast series of mountain ranges and several active volcanoes.

According to local legend this prefecture got its name after locals summed the spirits to help stop a demon which had been harassing them by shackling it to the cliffs and imprinting its handprint as a seal of its oath on a large rock. Weather fact or myth, Iwate’s saw tooth coastline is as dramatic as its legend.

With over 200 miles of rocky shoreline Iwate is a land of unique contrasts with its high cliffs, countless bays and white sandy beaches.

With such a vast expanse of coastline visitors should make their way to Jodogahama beach. Situated within a peaceful cove this beaches crystal clear waters are famous for invoking images of paradise. Heading inland toward the west, the city of Hanomaki boasts an impressive hot spring zone collectively known as Onsenkyo.

Comprising of 11 different hot springs, this village is situated within the Towada-Hachimantia National Park and offers a uniquely rustic atmosphere. Further south, the small city of Hiraizumi was once the cultural capital of Japan, even surpassing the likes of Kyoto.

Visitors can enjoy the spectacular Chuson-ji Temple considered to be one of Japan’s most important Buddhist Temples that features a hall decorated entirely of gold.

For skiers and snowboarders, Appi -Kogen offers one of the best places within Tohoku to enjoy the winter. Famous for its powder snow and wide ski slopes, this resort offers a wealth of attractions whilst the nearby town has many comfortable lodging facilities.

Whichever season you decide to visit, you will soon discover that Japan’s second largest prefecture is a place filled with endless discoveries.

For more information about Iwate prefecture, see their official tourism website.

How to get there

Air - Iwate is served by Hanamaki Airport which is about 20 miles south of the city centre and has flights to Sapporo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka. Click here for its English website.

Rail - From Tokyo to Iwate's captial, Morioka, it takes just over two hours by the JR Tohoku Shinkansen or "bullet train" line.

Tsunagi Hot Spring is a wonderful hot spring resort with a long history dating back more than 900 years.


Mt. Iwate has the highest peak in Iwate Prefecture and is one of Japan's 100 Most Beautiful Mountains.


Jodogahama Beach is ranked one of Japan's most beautiful beaches and is nationally designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty.


Samurai Residence Museum offers visitors the opportunity to experience what life was like during the Edo Period of Japanese history.


Weather in Iwate(Morioka)

Average daily temperature (oC)
-3 Centigrade 2 Centigrade 8 Centigrade 15 Centigrade 20 Centigrade 18 Centigrade 15 Centigrade 9 Centigrade 3 Centigrade -2 Centigrade -5 Centigrade -6 Centigrade 4 Centrigrade 11 Centrigrade 18 Centrigrade 25 Centrigrade 29 Centrigrade 27 Centrigrade 25 Centrigrade 20 Centrigrade 14 Centrigrade 7 Centrigrade 3 Centrigrade 2 Centrigrade -3 Centigrade 2 Centigrade 8 Centigrade 15 Centigrade 20 Centigrade 18 Centigrade 15 Centigrade 9 Centigrade 3 Centigrade -2 Centigrade -5 Centigrade -6 Centigrade 4 Centrigrade 11 Centrigrade 18 Centrigrade 25 Centrigrade 29 Centrigrade 27 Centrigrade 25 Centrigrade 20 Centrigrade 14 Centrigrade 7 Centrigrade 3 Centrigrade 2 Centrigrade
Average relative humidity (%)
77 percent 77 percent 77 percent 78 percent 78 percent 79 percent 72 percent 67 percent 64 percent 69 percent 70 percent 72 percent 77 percent 77 percent 77 percent 78 percent 78 percent 79 percent 72 percent 67 percent 64 percent 69 percent 70 percent 72 percent

Average monthly rainfall (mm)
93 centimetres 96 centimetres 115 centimetres 149 centimetres 170 centimetres 200 centimetres 93 centimetres 89 centimetres 93 centimetres 92 centimetres 47 centimetres 47 centimetres
Number of days with rain
(1mm or more)
11.2 days 11.9 days 10.2 days 11.4 days 10.5 days 12.8 days 9.3 days 10.3 days 10.5 days 11.2 days 8.2 days 9.8 days