Tohoku: Iwate Prefecture

February 18, 2016 in ❤︎I LOVE JAPAN❤︎ / Japan / Tohoku

Before I start anything, I just want to share a few comments I got from my post on why I traveled to Tohoku.

I was very touched and I really hope more people will choose to experience for themselves, see with their own eyes and discover the immense beauty of Tohoku, Japan.

Thank you so much.

Thank you for choosing to believe the best, and thank you for supporting Tohoku (and Japan in general!). The people  from the Tohoku region will be so so so happy to know.

Especially Karyn. I remember her because she was very unsure about choosing to work in Japan in fear of safety. I didn’t do much, she simply made the decision herself and I am so, so glad that she is enjoying herself so much 🙂

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I went to 3 prefectures in the Tohoku area, namely Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, because they were the 3 most affected areas during the 2011 Earthquake/Tsunami. I wanted to see for myself what these places are like now, and discover new things, especially the food! 🙂

So!! I’m going to start off my travel to Tohoku with a post on Iwate Prefecture!

This is where Iwate is on the map of Japan! It’s pretty up north, just right below Aomori, so the climate can get pretty cold!

Iwate also has the lowest population density of any prefecture outside Hokkaido, so it’s a perfect place to chill out if you are tired of the crowd and buzzing life.

 

Morioka

My first stop in Tohoku is Morioka, the capital city of Iwate! It is over 500km away from Tokyo.

I took the Shinkansen and it took only slightly over 2 hours. Amaaaaaazing. I looooove the Shinkansen!

With the Shinkansen you really can travel the whole Japan (except Okinawa maybe!)!

A beautiful ad by JR to promote Tohoku. I love it.

After a short nap, I was in Morioka, Iwate!!! Yet another new prefecture conquered!!! So happy 😀

That’s Iwate Prefecture’s mascot. It’s the famous noodle bowls from Iwate prefecture. More about that later!

 

Sawagiku

Right at the JR station of Morioka is the famous omiyage shop from Iwate, Sawagiku,most popular for their cheesecakes!

The boss came all the way just to meet me and introduced their products T__T.

This is the best seller called the Onabechan! They are Hanjuku (rare) cheesecakes in a container shaped like a nabe (pot). You can keep the pot and cook rice in it later (microwave friendly!!)

I picked the Kuri (Chestnut) Onabechan and had it for breakfast the next day XD

It was super yummy!!

And then there’s the premium Sea Salt Pudding, featuring Amachan (yes, like the one in Amachan drama!)

And then there’s Momo Beppin, a premium sweet that resembles the Chinese Mooncake (but much smaller and super cute!!), with a whole baby white peach at the center!

Don’t know what is a baby peach?? Me neither T_T. A baby peach is a peach that isn’t fully grown and it can be eaten as a whole! It looks like ume (plum) and taste sweet and slightly crunchy.

Apparently Momo Beppin will be sold in in Malaysia so keep a lookout for it!! ^^

 

Iwate Souvenirs

Soooo! Japanese souvenir shops are everywhere and you can easily buy the local specialty for your friends and family!

When you visit Morioka, you must try the “Three Great Noodles of Morioka”, which is the Wanko Soba, Reimen and Jajamen.

Of course i got my Gotochi Kitty for Iwate Prefecture!!!

 

Morioka Reimen

The most well known dish from Morioka is probably its Reimen, the cold noodle!

It has a Korean origin to it and i think the most typical topping is some Kimchi, half an egg, a slice of fruit (?! in this case it is a slice of pear), and some meat. It sounds quite strange especially it was -4C that day AND snowing lol. But i nevertheless really enjoyed it.

I love the noodle! It’s very springy and chewy, tasted more like the Japanese mochi mochi pasta than anything else. I heard they use potato starch instead of flour!

Most Reimen can be found at Yakiniku shop so here we are, Yakiniku!!!

Glorious, glorious wagyu <333

With the super amazing team who made my Tohoku dream come true. Thank you sooo much.

 

Ninohe

The next morning I departed Morioka and headed towards Ninohe. It’s only 20 minutes away from Morioka by Shinkansen.

At Ninohe station, decorated with messages (i am guessing from school children) from all the prefectures all over Japan <3.

Ninohe is a small city in Iwate prefecture, and the average temperature is 9.8°C.

As a tropical girl I was soooo excited though, to see a city completedly covered in snow.

Totally forgot to feel cold XD

 

Nanbu Senbei

I visited the famous Iwate Nanbu Senbei house, located at Ninohe.

Didn’t expect it to be so humble and traditional looking!

Frozen tap.

This is the little gift store! They have a myriad of senbei in different flavors, shapes and texture!

Even the zabuton (floor cushion) is in the shape of a cute sesame senbei!!

The real deal! XD

This is the Best Seller #1, Mame Goro, a peanut senbei.

They even have dessert senbei! Choco senbei just in time for Valentine’s Day then.

That’s the plushie of the founder, Komatsu Shiki, who had her life story documented in a movie which (i watched half) was really really touching.

With the grand daughter of Shiki, who had a high flying career in a prestigious company in Tokyo, but decided to return to the little town of Ninohe to continue the Nanbu Senbei legacy.

And that’s all for Iwate! Next up i’ll be writing about Miyagi Prefecture!

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Taste of Tohoku

My pledge to support Tohoku, this week I bought Shinmai from Iwate prefecture!!!

Rice is so divinely important that in Japan the best rice are also the freshest rice, called Shinmai, literally “new rice” (new-harvest within the same year).

With JunJun napping behind hahaha <3

You can keep your rice in a rice container like this and insert a rice bug repellent (i’m not sure what it is called! It usually smells pungent of wasabi or chili and it’s to keep the rice fresh and free of insects!) from Daiso. And it has a slide lever for precisely measured rice each push! Awesome!!! ^^

And… speaking of rice, i’m sure the sake fan will appreciate this!

This is an organic sake from the Iwate Prefecture, and recently organic sake is quite a big thing especially in Tohoku area!

The organic rice farming method is called “Aigamo”, using… ducks.

The ducks are released at the paddy fields to eat weeds and harmful insects, so it’s a natural alternative to the use of herbicides and pesticides!

For more tips on Tohoku gourmet and delicacies, you can visit Taste of Tohoku!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 responses to “Tohoku: Iwate Prefecture”

  1. Janz says:

    I know it’s irrelevant but please tell me the brown bag in the photo of Zabuton is from which brand?! hahahah!

  2. Maki Jessie S says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us~~~~!!! I really wanted to visit Tohoku!! Have no idea when but soon I hope!!!

  3. Namigoori says:

    I’ll try to visit Nanbu senbei when I go to Tohoku. Always inspired by people who decide to keep up their family’s Legacy 🙂
    That nabecake is like my two favourite cakes in one – Mont Blanc AND cheese!!! 0_0

  4. jennai says:

    Those pictures are so awesome thanks for sharing

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