Morioka Reimen (Photo: Satoshi Mats /

Iwate: Food Guide

Delectable cuisine nourished from the land and sea

Morioka Reimen (Photo: Satoshi Mats /
Japan Travel   - 7 min read

Iwate is filled with a variety of delicious eats and is especially renowned for its top quality dairy products, beef, and seafood.

In addition to its fresh cuisine sourced from farms and the sea, the prefecture is also famous for its noodle dishes—affectionately nicknamed, the "Three Great Noodles of Morioka."

Read on to learn more about Iwate's local cuisine. If you are not hungry right now, you surely will be by the end of the article.

The Three Great Noodles of Morioka

Let's start with one of Iwate's most celebrated dishes—noodles! The aforementioned "Three Great Noodles of Morioka" originated in Morioka City and refer to three dishes: Wanko Soba, Morioka Jajamen, and Morioka Reimen.

Wanko Soba

Wanko Soba
Wanko Soba (Photo: Geoff Day / JT)

For a playful and delicious dining experience, try Wanko Soba. This variety of soba is served in small lacquer bowls. As you eat the tiny portion, a nearby waitress will encourage you to eat more as she quickly refills your bowl. The noodles are generally served with side dishes such as vegetables, spices, and meat to complement their mild, nutty flavor. Grab some friends and see how many bowls you can eat!

Morioka Jajamen

Morioka Jajamen
Morioka Jajamen (Photo: Geoff Day / JT)

Morioka Jajamen is an udon-like noodle dish served with meat-miso sauce, cucumber, and green onion. You can alter the taste of the meal to your liking with a variety ingredients such as ginger, garlic, vinegar, and hot pepper oil, all of which are typically served at each table. Thanks to the umami-rich miso sauce, this dish features a bursts of flavor in every bite.

Morioka Reimen

Morioka Reimen
Morioka Reimen (Photo: Satoshi Mats /

Morioka Reimen is a Korean-inspired recipe reimagined by a Japanese shop owner. Perfect for summer, this cold noodle dish features thick, firm noodles, beef, kimchi, cucumber, a boiled egg, and fruit. As the soup can be quite spicy—thanks to the kimchi—the fruit (typically apple, pear, or watermelon) is meant to help soothe your throat. The sweet, spicy, and light flavors of the dish create a refreshing meal.

Fresh Seafood

Iwate sashimi
Iwate sashimi (Photo: R0019438 – Hideya HAMANO / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Given that Iwate's east coast rests along the Pacific Ocean, it is no surprise that the prefecture is home to delicious seafood. Some local favorites are Pacific saury, mackerel, squid, oysters, sea urchin, wakame seaweed, and sea squirt. Try this fresh cuisine in the form of sashimi or kaisen-don (seafood over rice).

Maesawa Beef

Wagyu (Photo: sirloin – Hideya HAMANO / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Wagyu anyone? Maesawa beef is a type of wagyu from cows raised in Iwate's Maesawa area. Like most wagyu, this beef is characterized by its exquisite marbling, rich flavor, and luscious texture.

Dairy Products

Photo: Koiwai Farm – Yoshihide Urushihara / CC BY-SA 2.0

Koiwai Farm, located in Shizukuishi, is an over century old farm and with numerous facilities designated as national cultural assets. Aside from being a popular tourist destination, thanks to its idyllic green pastures and animal-related activities, the farm also produces a variety of delicious dairy goods. Be sure to try the ranch's ice cream and unique milk ramen, and pick up some tasty souvenirs, such as fresh milk, yogurt, cheese, cheesecake, and more. You can also find Koiwai Farm's products in select supermarkets in Iwate!

Planning a trip to Iwate?

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