How to go from Sendai to Morioka?
With the Shinkansen and a Japan Rail Pass
From Sendai to Morioka, you will find outstanding views of rural Japan to the left and right of the train. Most services run non-stop from Sendai to Morioka, but Yamabiko services stop along the way.
Niigata - Tokyo
Just after Sendai, the landscape is hidden by a succession of tunnels, but after a few minutes it reappears, revealing outstanding views of rural Japan to the left and right of the train. Most services run non-stop from Sendai to Morioka, but Yamabiko services stop along the way.
In Morioka, the Hayabusa Shinkansen carry on to Aomori and to Shin Hakodate and the Akita Shinkansen to Akita.
0 KM - Sendai Station
65 KM - 0H23 - Kurikoma-Kogen Station
The Shinkansen station of Kurihara City, known for its rice production and the 1 627-meter-high Mt. Kurikoma, a dormant volcano straddling the tri-prefectural border of Miyagi, Akita and Iwate.
94 KM - 0H32 - Ichinoseki Station
Disembark here to visit the aptly-named Genbikei (Gorge of Harsh Beauty), a gorge which features white water rushing over rocks, a few waterfalls and several hot spring hotels. If you are visiting during the cherry blossom season in early spring, head for Tsuriyama, a large hill located directly west of the station. Lit up by lanterns, it is as gorgeous at night as it is during the daytime. Change here for Hiraizumi. Only 8 kilometers north of Ichinoseki, reached in less than 10 minutes by local trains on the JR Tohoku Line. In Ichinoseki, you can also ride the Pokémon train.
119 KM - 0H45 - Mizusawaesashi Station
The Shinkansen station of Oshu City. Stop here to get a bite of the famous, delicious, fatty, marbled ‘Maesawa beef’ that is a growing competitor to the legendary Kobe and Matsuzaka beef. It is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. To get the full experience, try the raw Maezawa beef sushi.
136 KM - 0H55 - Kitakami Station
A city famous for the more than 10,000 cherry trees planted alongside the Kitakami River in Tenshochi Park. The trees are usually in bloom for one to two weeks around late April and form a beautiful tunnel of cherry blossoms.
149 KM - 1H02 - Shin-Hanamaki Station
The Shinkansen station for Hanamaki, a town historically known for its many onsen.
184 KM - 1H39 - Morioka Station
What to see ?
Hiraizumi is home to the Konjiki-do (Golden Hall) within Chuson-ji Temple, which attempts to recreate an ideal Buddhist world in this world. Decorated inside and out with lacquer containing gold leaf and studded with gold and silver, a symbol of the gold culture of Hiraizumi, the temple alone is worth the journey from Tokyo. Open daily, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (4:30 p.m. in winter), ¥800). A tourist bus runs in a loop from the train station to Chuson-ji, then on to Motsu-ji (see below) then returns to the train station.
Another must see here is the Motsu-ji Temple, famous for its Jodo (‘Pure Land’) garden. As such, it is host to an ensemble of exquisite ‘culture of gold’ remnants from the brand of Buddhism that developed independently in the Tohoku Region far away from the cultural center of Kyoto in the late Heian period of the 11th century. UNESCO has recognized this area as being a globally rare example of local culture for the transitional period from the ancient era to the medieval period. It is now listed as a World Heritage Site.
Open daily, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (4:30 p.m. in winter) ¥500.
Where to stay ?
Hiraizumi Hotel Musashibo 武蔵坊
A 12-minute walk from Hiraizumi Station. It is situated with easy access to the major sightseeing spots such as Chuson-ji, Motsu-ji Temple.
15 Hiraizumi, Hiraizumi-cho, Nishiiwai-gun, Iwate, 029-4102
Tel : 01-9146-2241/ http://www.musasibou.com/en/
Kura Hotel Ichinoseki 蔵ホテル一関
A 3-minute walk from JR Ichinoseki Station. Close to Chusonji Temple and Motsu-ji Temple, with a lovely garden.
2-1 Ote-machi, Ichinoseki-shi, Iwate, 021-0884
Tel : 01-9131-1111/http://kurahotel.com/index.php
Where to eat ?
Sobadokoro Yoshiie そば処義家
A rustic restaurant on the outskirts of the city, that serves soba. Located north on the main highway leading from Hiraizumi Station.
Open daily, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m
Tel : 01-9146-4369
Ekimae Bashokan 駅前芭蕉館
Named after Hiraizumi’s most beloved poet, this restaurant serves a delicious set lunch of Iwate’s famous wanko soba, tempura, and fruit. Located just west of the station.
Open daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tel : 01-9146-5555 /www.wankosoba.com