Nature Spots in Iwate Area

  • Ryusendo Cave
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Pref. Shimoheiguniwaizumichou Iwaizumi Kannari 1-1
    This massive limestone cave is one of Japan’s three largest, and is designated a National Natural Monument. The cave is over 5,000 meters long overall, and hosts eight underground lakes that are among the clearest in the world. The color of the water, called Dragon Blue, is astonishing and the mystical sight is worth visiting. A 700 meter walking route in the cave and three of the eight lakes are open to the public. One section of the trail is barrier-free, with full wheelchair access. The limestone filtered water has been named one of Japan’s top 100 waters, and is available to drink at the cave entrance.
  • Jodogahama Beach
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Pref. Miyakoshi Hitachihamachou 32
    This beach is adorned with sharp white rock formations, creating an other-worldly atmosphere. The name Jodogahama refers to the Buddhist “Pure Land.” The beach is filled with bathers in summer. The rock formations visible include flow structures formed by rolling lava, and plate shaped fractures called “joints” formed when magma cools rapidly. The unusual geology led to this area being designated a Sanriku Fukko (reconstruction) National Park & Sanriku Geopark.
  • Genbikei Gorge
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Pref. Ichinosekishi Gembichou Minamitakinoue
    Genbikei is a valley of the Iwai River originating in Mt. Kurikoma and flowing to Ichinoseki City, Iwate Prefecture. Dynamic landscapes such as waterfalls, strangely shaped and magical rocks continue for two kilometers. The specialty of Genbikei is of course the Kakko-dango Dumplings. When ordering and paying, you place your money in a basket attached to a rope stretched to the other side. After sounding a wooden hammer, the basket is pulled up and the dumplings and tea are delivered in return instead. Fun to watch, and delicious to eat.
  • Cape Hirotasaki
    3 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Rikuzentakata-shi Hirotacho Atsumari
    This is located in Atsumari, Hirota-cho, Rikuzen-Takata City. Visitors can enjoy the scenery created by the cliffs, the rocky reefs, and the broad expanse of the sea. Aomatsu Island and Tsubaki Island, visible from the shore, are breeding grounds for black-tailed gulls, and Tsubaki Island has been designated a National Monument.


  • Goishi Coast
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Pref. Ofunatoshi Massakichou Ohama
    Goishi is a coast over 6 kilometers long where you can enjoy a beach of black stone stones like those used for the game of “go” (a strategy board game), a rock with three large holes eroded by the rough waves, and a rock called “Kaminari Iwa” (thunder rock) where the waves breaking sound like the roar of thunder. In 1931, it was designated as a National Place of Scenic Beauty and Natural Monument. At the Goishi Coast Rest House, you can taste Ofunato’s Class B gourmet “Sanma (fish) ramen” and a dish of seafood and rice.
  • Lake Gando
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Prefecture Morioka City Kamogawa Outer Mountain
    An artificial lake located a one-hour bus ride from Morioka Station. The lake was selected for inclusion in list of Top 100 Dam Lakes of Japan in 2005. An area of rich natural beauty located close to the center of Morioka City, the lake is frequented by outdoorsy types looking to enjoy fishing and camping. Particularly famous for its Japanese pond smelt ice fishing in winter, each year during this time the lake bustles with anglers and families. You can purchase a fishing license in the Gandoko Rest House and also rent fishing gear.
  • Mt. Hachimantai Summit
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Hachimantai-shi
    Mt. Hachimantai sprawls almost equally in Hachimantai City, Iwate Prefecture and Akita Prefecture. Due to its rather un-mountain-like shape, in 1962 Iwate Prefecture added soil to the mountain to improve its look. The top of the mountain is a cool 15° C even in the middle of summer, Hachiman Swamp, the largest swamp in Hachimantai, is lush with Asian skunk cabbage, hare's-tail cottongrass, and other alpine plants. The beautiful clear blue waters of the Hachimantai Dragon Eye pond from which it gets its name can only be seen during the season of fresh green leaves in spring.
  • Matsukawa Gorge
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Pref. Hachimantaishi Matsuoyoriki
    A gorge located a 20-minute drive from the Matsuo-Hachimantai Interchange on the Tohoku Expressway. Extending out from the Matsukawa Onsen area, the gorge is one of Hachimantai's top fall foliage viewing destinations. The Matsukawa Genbugan, a local sight, consists of a riverside basalt cliff with pillar-like walls; each year in autumn, the cliff is enwrapped in a sea of beautiful fall foliage. Those walking on the Mori no Ohashi Bridge spanning the gorge can view the sprawling carpet of yellow and gold foliage directly underneath; there's also a parking area, making this a great place to stop and take in the spectacular view.
  • Kigan Meoto Ishi (Husband and Wife Rock Formation)
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Ichinoseki-shi Senmayacho Senmaya Ishido
    This giant natural rock formation is said to represent a married couple. The rocks are about five meters high and ten meters in circumference and are linked by a shimenawa, a sacred Shinto rope. A large represents the man, and another large rock behind him represents the woman. People have been fond of this rock formation since ancient times and consider it to be a divine symbol of marital harmony. Visitors can climb the stairs to see a statue of Kodakara Jizo, the god who grants children to couples, and he is venerated here along with the rocks. Beyond the rocks is a small hill, and beyond that is a small shrine, where the male rock is venerated.
  • Dewa-jinja Shrine, Haguro Boulders
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Tono-shi Ayaoricho Nissato 8-chiwari
    Huge boulders on the grounds of Dewa-jinja Shrine, which honors the Shinto deity Uka-no-Mitama-no-Mikoto. Dewa-jinja Shrine is registered as an Oshu Heritage Site. Since it is located at the summit of Mt. Haguro, to see the boulders you need to pass through Mt. Haguro's torii gate and climb a trail. A legend says the boulders were once even larger but were kicked by a tengu (long nosed goblin), breaking them into smaller pieces. There are a number of the Haguro Boulders, starting with a nine-meter high cracked megalith.
  • Inari-ana Cave
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Tono-shi Miyamoricho
    A limestone cave famous for its pure spring water. The highly regarded spring has been selected as one Iwate's Top 20 Water Sources. There is also an Inari Shrine there and a vermilion torii gate as you approach the cave. There are two areas to collect water, one at the front of the cave and one further back. There is also a tricycle parking area nearby for the convenience of locals collecting water. This pure spring water is used to grow wasabi, a local specialty.
  • Hittori Marsh
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Shimohei-gun Iwaizumicho
    The central marsh of the Kitakami Highland, it is off Prefectural Route 171 (Okawa-Matsukusa Line) accessible from National Route 340. The springtime Asian skunk cabbage, early summer rhododendrons, and autumn leaves are all beautiful. It's an Iwate Prefecture nature preserve, as well as a plant community forest reserve managed by Forestry agency, and has been selected as one of Japan’s top 100 natural landscapes for the 21st century. You can walk along established routes through the nature reserve. In spring the boardwalk is lined with Asian skunk cabbage, and rhododendrons are at their best in mid-July. Cows are visible at pasture in the distance.
  • Yamada Bay
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Shimohei-gun Yamadamachi
    This bay is located in the eastern part of Iwate Prefecture. The Ria coastal inlet can be found in the northern part of the Sanriku Coast, and extends northeast towards the Pacific Ocean. It covers a circumference of approximately 30 kilometers, and the coast, resembling a still round mirror, reflects the brilliant green pine trees on the white rock surface. The large and small islands floating quietly in the center of the bay are also covered in brilliant green trees, and with the bay encompassing them, it seems like a giant-sized miniature garden. Many oysters and scallops are cultivated in the bay with its gentle waves, and it has been named the Lake Towada of the sea. At present, recovery operations are steadily making progress to repair damage caused by the 2011 earthquake.
  • Kurosaki Point
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Shimohei-gun Fudaimura
    This earth village is located at 40° North latitude in Fudai Village, Iwate Prefecture. Standing at the Kurosaki Observation Point or the Anmoura Observation Point, visitors can look down at the Pacific Ocean from the steep cliffs and see the curvature of the earth. It has also been designated a “geo site” of Sanriku Geo Park. Fudai considers Kurosaki Observation Point to be its symbol, and other impressive sights include East Point, which exactly marks 40°0’ 0”” North, and the waterfall at Anmoura, the steepest drop in Iwate Prefecture. The name of Anmoura Observation Point, which stands on the edge of a 100-meter cliff, is said to come from an Ainu word that refers to demons and ghosts.
  • Lake Tase
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Hanamaki-shi
    Lake Tase is located about a 20-minute drive from the Towa Interchange on the Kamaishi Expressway. It is an artificial lake, created by damming the Sarugaishi River, and it has been selected as one of the Top 100 Dam Lakes of Japan. Carp, crucian carp, and, in the winter, Japanese smelt and other freshwater fish are easily caught here. The lake is surrounded by a forested park, and visitors can enjoy the fresh greenery or autumn leaves, depending on the season. The Lake Water Festival, held at the end of July, features traditional performing arts, as well as canoeing, yachting, and other water sports, and at night, thousands of fireworks light up the sky.
  • Sennin Pass
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Kamaishi-shi
    Located on the boundary between the cities of Tono and Kamaishi along National Route 283 in the Kitakami Mountains, Sennin Pass is an 887-meter pass located in a verdant green area. Until the Sennin Pass Road was opened in 2007, the old road, full of sharp curves and steep slopes was known as a difficult route. Now the old Kamaishi Road is a tourist-oriented driving route that gives people a sense of being deep in the mountains. It is known as a spot for seeing spring greenery and autumn leaves, and from late October to early November, visitors can enjoy the splendid colors of the oaks, hill cherries, maples and other deciduous trees.
  • Cape Ohakozaki
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Kamaishi-shi Hakozakicho
    This is located at the end of the Hakozaki Peninsula and is one of the most famous scenic spots along the Rikuchu Coast, offering a view created by the sea, wind, rain, and other natural forces over the eons. Looking to the north, visitors can see from Otsuchi Bay to Yamada Bay, and looking toward the south, they can see from Sangan Island to Kamaishi Bay. To the south is an immense area of closely huddled granite rock formations, and Sangan Island is visible. Visitors can travel the 6. 8 kilometers from Hakozaki Shirahama to the point via a walking trail clearly marked with directional signs.
  • Kakkonda Gorge
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Iwate-gun Shizukuishicho
    This is a 10-kilometer gorge in the upper reaches of the Kakkondagawa River, extending from Genbu Cave to Takinoue Hot Spring. Extending for 160 meters along the left bank of the river is a series of spike-like formations, 70 meters high, and Torigoe Falls drops 30 meters into a deep green pool from the rock face deep within the gorge. Extensive areas of various broad-leaf trees, especially old-growth beeches, grow in the river basin, and both the new spring greenery and the autumn colors of yellow birches and red maples are a lovely sight. The best time for seeing autumn leaves in most years is from early to mid-October.
  • Kuji Stream
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Kuji-shi Okawamecho
    This stream is located about a 40-minute drive from the Kunohe Interchange on the Hachinohe Expressway. Its gorge has been set aside as Kuji-Hiraniwa Prefectural Nature Park. Along the stream is KagamiIwa (Mirror Rock), one of a series of limestone rocks formed over 200 million years ago by coral reefs in the South Seas. The contrast between the white rocks and the green trees is lovely, and the gorge is known as a prime spot for autumn leaves. Near Mirror Rock is Furosen, named one of the 20 Best Spring Water in Iwate Prefecture. The stream is also a prime spot for catching sweetfish and char.
  • Rosoku Iwa (Candle Rock)
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Miyako-shi Sakikuwagasaki Dai12-chiwari
    This rock is located in the north of Jodogahama Beach that juts out of the Ozawa Coast, and a 15-minute bus ride from Miyako Station on the Sanriku Railway (Miyako to Kuji) Rias Line. At Jodogahama Terminal Bus Stop, visitors get off and walk for five minutes. This giant rock created by igneous rock smashing through the surrounding rocks. It is 40 meters tall, 7 meters wide at the top, and 3 meters wide at the bottom. It is an unusual rock, in that the igneous dike is exposed and visible. It has been designated a National Monument, and it is also recognized by Sanriku Geo Park. Since visitors cannot approach the rock from the land, they need to take advantage of Miyako Jodogahama Boat Cruise.

Iwate Areas


A northern Tohoku prefecture promising peace and quiet, Iwate is sparsely populated, replacing people with snow-capped mountains, history-rich sites, and fields of crops that are to thank for the region’s delicious local cuisine. Meander along the three-city Golden Route, where you’ll visit the grand Buddhist temples of Hiraizumi and the Tono folk villages before tasting the three famed noodle dishes of Morioka.

Iwate Photo Album

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