Japan may be a rather small island chain in the scheme of things. No. Scratch that. Japan is a rather small island chain in the scheme of things. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a lot to offer. I know this because I lived there. So today (as you might be able to tell) I’m going to be suggesting a few places in Iwate, a northern prefecture (state) of Japan.
If you’re up for a bit of traditional Japan, it might suit you to head here. Less than an hours drive out of the capital Morioka (盛岡）you will find this quaint little village. It’s very traditional, and while you’re able to find traditional goods all over Japan, here you get to make them! Te (hand) Zukuri (make) Mura (village). There are many different things you can make. When we went there we made what is called Chagu Chagu Uma (a wooden horse thing) Even though we didn’t exactly speak the language, the man who assisted us clearly showed as what to do and our chagu chagu uma still sit on the shelf.
Another one is Chusonji a beautiful buddhist temple about half an hours drive away from Ichinoseki (south of Morioka) There is a beautiful golden hall containing the mummified remains of several clan leaders and the grounds are absolutely magnificent. You don’t have to be particularly religious (or not) to enjoy this beautiful heritage site. I would recommend this to anyone.
About 40 minutes drive away from Hanamaki (花巻)(between Morioka and Ichinoseki) sits the Fujiwara Heritage Park. It’s a theme park built as though it’s from the Heian Period (794-1185). A new village showing off the beauty of the past. There are many activities and due to it’s size (20ha) you might even catch a film or TV shoot. It might take a while to walk around the park, but it also contains a wonderful restaurant with period accurate food!
Japan doesn’t end at Tokyo, find you way up north, you won’t regret it. Or forget it.
Get Reading. Get Travelling.