Escape to the Rugged Beauty of Iwate Prefecture

  • Iwate prefecture is the most eastern point on the Japanese island of Honshu. Iwate has a rich and ancient history, inhabited by the Jomon people and one of the last areas of Honshu to be taken by imperial forces in the 9th century. Now Iwate prefecture has the lowest population of all the prefectures in Japan, excluding Hokkaido. The eastern edge of Iwate is lined by the Pacific ocean and is formed of sheer rocky cliffs. The western border of Iwate is formed by mountains and even active volcanoes.

    Kitayamazaki Cliffs


    Iwate prefecture has a rugged beauty, and this is shown brilliantly by Kitayamazaki coast. This 8-kilometre stretch holds cliff faces which reach up to 200 meters above the sea! To get a breathtaking view of these cliffs simply access the Kitayamazaki Observatory at the northern end of the coast. Here there are three separate observation decks so you can get a view of all the cliffs in their natural glory. From the Kitayamazaki observatory you can also take a trail down to the sea edge and view the cliffs from below, you will certainly feel small from down here! If the weather isn’t great or you love the cliffs you can go and view a high definition movie of the cliffs at the visitor centre which is close to the observation deck. If you are a bird lover this place is for you, falcons and ospreys live and fly in this area. Why not try a boat tour while you are there? The tours last about 50 minutes and give you a fish eye view of the cliffs themselves.

    Jodogahama Beach


    If you want a little bit of paradise whilst in Japan then Jodogahama beach is the place for you. Called “pure land beach” this area is famous for its beauty. The waters are a clear emerald blue, the sand white and vibrant and jagged rocks pierce the calm sea. Voted among the top beaches of Japan it is easy to see why. This beach is perfect for swimming as the sea is calm and the waters warm. If you aren’t satisfied by just sitting on the beach and soaking in the sights then the Sappa boat cruise might be a good choice. On this cruise you can to go inside Hachinoheana, the Blue Cave. Inside the cave is a blow hole, which can bring you good luck. The waters within the cave change colour depending on the season, so when you visit you may be treated to some stunning water.

    Ryusendo Cave


    This cave has been declared a national natural monument of Japan. One of the Three Great Limestone caves, Ryusendo cave is vast and captivating. The cave system is so large that only around 60% of it has actually been explored. Estimated but the size of the cave at 5,000 meters! Tours are available in Ryusendo cave. These last around 30 minutes and take you through some of the well known and safe areas of the cave system. The cave tour will take you to see three underground lakes. The final lake on the tour is 98 meters deep and has stunning emerald waters. Long-eared bats live in the cave system so you can see some great sights too.

    Iwate has some great natural formations to go and see. It is truly a nature lover’s dream prefecture. So why not head up to the northern end of Honshu and see all of the great mysteries?