Craft and cuisine in Iwate Prefecture in Tohoku

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Located in Tohoku–the northern area of Honshu, the main island of Japan, Iwate Prefecture might not be a familiar name to most travelers. However, it would be a pity to skip this lovely area on your next Japan trip as this largest prefecture of the Tohoku region has tons of things to offer.

For example, Iwate Prefecture has Morioka City as its capital and largest city. Furthermore, it is surrounded by Oshu City, Hanamaki City and a number of smaller towns and cities facing Japan’s Pacific Ocean coast. Visitors can reach Tohoku and Iwate using the Tohoku Shinkansen departing from Tokyo Station.

While most visitors to Japan tend to have Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto on their itinerary, Iwate Prefecture is a rising star for its undiscovered landscape of Japan. It’s also a land of incredible sights, inspiring people and fascinating experiences.

Want to experience deep Japan in the most authentic and inspiring way possible? Plan an adventure through the wild north that is Iwate. Following is a look at what to expect with the food and craft in Iwate Japan. You can also read more in our guide to Tohoku.

Iwate Japan Sasachu Restaurant
Sasachu Restaurant

Delicious Food in Iwate

Being the second biggest prefecture in Japan, Iwate, with a combination of both highland and the sea, has a bountiful culinary background. So, the first dish you should try is the award-winning Maesawa Beef.

Being light and flavorful, the taste of this regional farm-raised beef is excellent. It is recommended to visit Sasachu, a sukiyaki restaurant in Oshu City treasured by visitors from all over Japan. Here is where to enjoy their signature beef sukiyaki.

Then if you are a fan of seafood, we suggest you head to the nearby Kamaishi City. A brief 5-minute-walk from the station leads you to Miyakawa, a restaurant located inside a fish market. Be prepared to enjoy a feast with multiple dishes using the best seasonal local ingredients.

Last but not least, The Burger Hearts located just south of Kamaishi City in Ofunato City, is quite a twist on your Iwate trip. It offers over 20 hamburger options in an interior reminiscent of an American diner.

Koishihama Scallop Burger and burgers using Yamagata Village Shorthorn Wagyu beef are some of their signature dishes.

Iwate Japan The Burger Hearts Restaurant
Iwate Japan The Burger Hearts Restaurant

Traditional Iwate Ironware

Iwate ironware, called Nambu Tekki Ironware, traces its origins back to the 17th century, maintaining its traditions while meeting the challenges of modern design.

Production of this traditional ironware began because of the growing need for tea utensils. This is why it is often identified with the tetsubin (iron kettle) and kyusu (teapot).

High-quality iron is the major material of Nambu Tekki. Since this ironware dissolves bivalent iron into boiled water, it helps supplement iron in the diet. It’s said that this ironware effectively removes chlorine from tap water and gives it a mellow taste.

Iwate Japan Ironware at the Oigen store
Iwate Japan Ironware at the Oigen store

At the Oigen store in Oshu City, you can find a wide variety of ironware products with sophisticated, contemporary designs. From teapots and kettles of different sizes to cookware and decorations. Products in the Oigen store display both the skill of the artisans as well as the simple yet elegant designs.

Be sure to check out their newest sub-brand, Mugu. This embodies Oigen’s motivation to ‘keep traditions alive while embracing modern influence.’ Visiting their open factory to have a glimpse of how things were made is also a good idea.

Business Hours: 9:00-17:00

How to get there: 10 minutes on foot from Mizusawa Esahi Station

Learn how the relatively unknown Iwate Prefecture in Tohoku offers the chance for an authentic Japan experience of local food and craft. #Japan #Tohoku

Need more details to plan your trip to Tohoku? Read part 1 of our guide to Tohoku here, or visit https://www.japan.travel/en/tohoku-colors/

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