Winter reveals true value of Northern Tohoku.
Freezing cold, warm welcome, and melting hospitality.

Winter in Northern Tohoku is severe but it also brings a lot to the area. Cold weather is a vital condition to Sake brewing while providing an ideal environment for winter sports such as skating and skiing. Deep snow is troublesome for local people but it actually secures source of water supply for summer and ultimately for a good harvest. Winter is the season which you will experience melting hospitality from the local people at anywhere you go, you eat and you stay with.
Discover true value of Northern Tohoku when winter is in full swing!

Iwate Prefecture

  • Matsukawa Onsen
    Surprisingly enough, open-air baths at Matsukawa Onsen remain open throughout winter, and soaking in Onsen in a deep snow-covered landscape is a superb experience. Many skiers and snowboarders take up lodging at Matsukawa to unwind after skiing/snowboarding. Ski and Onsen highlight winter entertainment in the area.

    Access: 40 minutes drive via Route 282 and prefectural road #212
  • Iwate Snow Festival
    One of the five biggest snow festivals in Tohoku is held in early February at Iwate Kogen Snow Park and seven other venues in vicinity. Large snow sculptures and various fun activities including wooden board sleigh, athletic meeting on snow and so forth. Food stalls serve hot meals and drinks for visitors to thaw themselves out. One of the venues hosts snow candle festival where candle-lit snow sculptures create dreamy atmosphere in snowy landscape.

    Access to Iwate Kogen Snow Park: 55 minutes drive via Route 282
  • Morioka – the castle town
    The tour guides you around the historical castle town of Morioka. Its castle has been lost however artisanship from olden times such as Sake brewing and Nambu ironware casting still lives.
  • Strawberry pick and local Sake brewery
    Japanese strawberries enjoy the reputation of being sweet. Let’s pick them at a farm to see if it is true! The tour also visits local Sake brewery and you have a chance to buy something that you just cannot buy elsewhere.
  • Hadaka-mairi
    The Hadaka-Mairi is said to have its roots in “Kan-Mairi” (pay a visit to temple in winter) two to three hundred years ago. Young men in loincloth with sacred straw rope wrapped around waist and chest engage in this ritual event. They march from Sakana-cho shopping mall to Morioka Hachimangu shrine in the early evening.
    The event takes place on Lunar New Year (i.e. January 15)

    Access: 55 minutes drive via Tohoku Expressway or 1 hour 10 minutes via Route 282