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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

TOHOKU Iwate The real Japan: where rice fields meet world heritage sites

Iwate’s stunning natural beauty, original cuisine and vibrant festivals will stimulate your senses throughout the seasons

Located in northern Honshu, Mt. Iwate looms large over the prefecture of the same name. No huge urban centers to be found here—just mountains, hot springs, the ocean and rice fields. The World Heritage Sites in Hiraizumi act as a great starting point for exploration into Iwate’s rich heritage and natural beauty.

How to Get There

Iwate can be accessed by the JR Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo, Sendai and Hakodate as well as via local JR trains, highway bus and car. You can also fly into Hanamaki Airport.

Ichinoseki is the first stop along the JR Tohoku Shinkansen in Iwate, and takes between two and three hours from Tokyo, or about 40 minutes from Sendai. It is the closest major city to Hiraizumi, a city famous for its World Heritage Sites. From Ichinoseki you can travel between most major cities in Iwate using the JR Tohoku Shinkansen, or local JR trains, all of which accept the Japan Rail Pass. Most major locations in Iwate are also serviced by buses. Hanamaki Airport handles domestic and limited international flights. The flight schedule changes seasonally, so planning ahead is advised. From Hanamaki Airport you can take a local JR train north to Morioka or south to Kitakami, Hiraizumi and Ichinoseki.

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Don't Miss

    Cherry blossoms at Tenshochi, Iwate Park and Takamatsu Park
    The Golden Pavilion at Chuson-ji and the other World Heritage sites in Hiraizumi
    Koiwai Farm, with its many events and delicious treats
    Two of the top hot spring areas in Iwate—Hanamaki and Hachimantai
    The unique rock formations along the coast of Iwate, and Ryusendo cave in Iwaizumi

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Seasonal Highlights

  • Spring

    Spring brings cherry blossoms, carp streamers, praying for fire prevention, rice paddy art, and a festival for both cows and horses.

  • Summer

    Summer is for hikes up little Fuji, strolls along the coast, dances with demons, and exploding fireworks.

  • Autumn

    A sea change of scenery occurs in the fall as the leaves turn, rice is harvested, and the Fujiwara Fall Festival takes place.

  • Winter

    Iwate's winter brings skiing and other winter pursuits, longevity dances, naked festivals, a soba-eating tournament, and a snow festival.

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