Located in the western part of Iwate prefecture in the Northeast of Japan, Appi Kogen (安比高原) is an alluringly beautiful place for relaxing walks along the plateau from Spring to Autumn. When the region transforms into a winter wonderland, many flocks to Appi Kogen for skiing or snowboarding on its high-quality snow! (Appi Ski Resort is said to be comparable with the resorts in Hokkaido!)
If you enjoy spending time with nature and love outdoor activities, then Appi Kogen in Iwate prefecture is definitely a spot that you won’t want to miss out on (^_-)-☆.
Hachimantai (八幡平) in Towada-Hachimantai National Park (十和田八幡平国立公園) is a magnificent patch of nature on the prefectural border between Iwate (岩手) and Akita (秋田). Whilst it is said that the autumn foliage scenery is better at the Akita side of Hachimantai, the summit of Mt. Hachimantai and a lot of the natural wonders are located in Iwate prefecture.
Ryūsendō Cave (龍泉洞) in Iwate Prefecture is one of the three biggest limestone caves in Japan. Limestone caves might not sound very exciting for some people, but when you see the charming underground sapphire blue lakes, will your answer change from “nope, not interested” to “yes, I’m going”?
As well as its beautiful blue colour, the lake water is also very transparent, so depending on the weather, it is possible to see quite deep into the water (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
Hiraizumi town (平泉町), once Kyoto’s rival for its refined culture and elegant surroundings in the 12th century, still retains its charm and traces of former greatness. If you are after a cultural and scenery feast, it is the destination that you don’t want to miss!
Apart from the famous Chūsonji Temple (中尊寺) and the Motsuji Temple (毛越寺), also discover the Takkoku Saikoji Temple – Bishamondō (達谷窟毘沙門堂) that has a huge Buddha image carved on the cliff wall in its grounds.
Want to appreciate the picturesque 2km gorge with cliff walls of more than 100 meters high on both riverbanks and all you need to do is relaxing on a boat? Geibikei Gorge (猊鼻渓) in Iwate Prefecture is the perfect place for you! Adding to this unforgettable experience is the traditional Japanese ballad that your boatman will be singing during the 90 minutes boat ride (≧▽≦).
Genbikei Gorge (厳美渓) is one of the two most stunning nature spots in Iwate Prefecture. Like most of the nature spots of the mountains in Japan, it comes with an awesome autumn foliage view in autumn. In winter, it is a snowy wonderland.
But for Genbikei Gorge, it is also a great spot to appreciate cherry blossoms as well! And to add to the awesomeness, the trees that you will be seeing were believed to be planted by the regional ruler of the area (also a famous Samurai) – Date Masamune, dated back in the early-1600s (゜o゜).
The view of Genbikei Gorge is so beautiful that Date Masamune (ruler of the region between the late 1500s and early-1600s) praised its beauty the same as one of the Three Views of Japan – Matsushima (which is under his reign at the time). It has been said that he loved the Gorge so much that he visited Genbikei Gorge many times during his life.