Surrounded by mountains in the north of Honshu, Morioka is a picturesque city famed for its noodle dishes. It’s home to 17th-century castle ruins and a rock-breaking cherry tree and is near the hot spring resort of Tsunagi.
Things to do in Morioka
Morioka is famed for the "Three Great Noodles of Morioka”, which are served at local restaurants and eateries throughout the city. Sample the Korean-inspired Reimen and Chinese Zhajiangmian-style Jajamen, then experience a bottomless bowl of Wanko Soba.
Spend an afternoon strolling through the picturesque grounds of the Morioka Castle Ruins Park, where old stone walls are all that remain following the castle’s 1874 demolition. Wander through the green oasis that’s home to the Morioka History and Culture Museum, a small shrine and around 200 cherry trees that blossom in the spring.
A short walk from the Morioka Castle Ruins Park is the famous Ishiwarizakura or “Rock-breaking Cherry Tree”. Believed to be around 400 years old, this ancient tree grows out from a cracked granite boulder in front of the Morioka Courthouse and is one of the city’s most photographed landmarks.
Just to the west of Morioka is the historic hot spring resort of Tsunagi, where traditional ryokan inns overlook the shores of Lake Goshoko. Relax in the sulphuric waters of the resort’s beautiful outdoor bath, discovered more than 900 years ago by a famous warlord, Minamoto no Yoshiie.
Getting around Morioka
Morioka is around 2.5 hours by shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo and one hour from Hanamaki Airport. A loop bus travels around central Morioka and accesses most of its sights, although many are within walking distance of the train station.