The mountains that ring Morioka are striking, but the city itself won’t excite you upon first glance. That said, if you’re going to Tohoku by shinkansen super express, you’ll probably find yourself in Morioka at least once. And if you’re passing through, why not stop and explore a bit!
Nanshoso is a large traditional Japanese mansion built in the 18th year of the Meiji Era (1885). The building has been diligently preserved and the Japanese gardens in the “backyard” are stunning in all seasons. In fact, the garden as viewed from the numerous windows at the back of the mansion displays the four seasons in the most beautiful and symbolic terms. Nanshosho is owned by Iwate Coop, and their website now includes several postcard images that may motivate you to visit. See them here.
The building is quite large with numerous areas to explore. Certain areas may resemble a museum with their seasonal displays and artwork. At the same time, there is a spacious tea room where visitors can relax and enjoy maccha (a special type of green tea) with traditional Japanese snacks, and the gardens are not to be missed. All this is for a mere 200-yen admittance fee. The premises are also sometimes used for traditional Shinto weddings, so if you’re lucky, you may witness something special.
Access: 20 minute walk from Morioka Station.