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Outline of Iwate

About Iwate

Characteristics

Iwate is one of the largest prefectures in Japan, blessed with fertile land and beautiful nature. There are numerous mountains, the highest being Mt. Iwate, also known as Nambu Fuji or the “Half-Sided Fuji of the Nambu Fief” for its resemblance to Mt. Fuji. Surrounded by the mountains are cities such as the prefectural capital Morioka and various historical sites such as those representing Hiraizumi Culture. In Iwate there are also numerous hot springs and tasteful inns which are perfect for relaxation after long hours of traveling. The coastal area, called Sanriku, is designated as Rikuchu Kaigan National Park. Sanriku boasts a variety of scenic landscapes and is also one of the best fishing grounds in the world, famous for its fresh, wholesome seafood. Cherry blossoms in spring, beach in summer, colorful foliage in fall, skiing and snowboarding in winter---any season of the year is the right time to visit and enjoy Iwate!

Location

Iwate, located in the northeastern part of Japan, is an oval-shaped prefecture, about 122 km east-west and 189 km north-south. With an area of 15,378-km², Iwate is the second largest prefecture in Japan after Hokkaido. Morioka, the prefectural capital, is located at 39˚ 42' N and 141˚ 09' E.

Climate

Iwate's climate varies widely depending on the area. Most of Iwate's inland areas are mountainous, with the Ou Mountains on the western border with Akita prefecture and the Kitakami Highlands in the east. The Kitakami River flows south between these two mountain ranges, with fertile plains spreading around it. The areas along the Ou Mountains are blessed with abundant and excellent snow, and boast some of the best ski resorts in Japan. The inland areas along the Kitakami Highlands have plateau and basin climates, with a large temperature difference between summer and winter, and between night and day. Morioka, the prefectural capital, has many cold days in winter. The coastal areas have a maritime climate: cool in summer, not so much snow and not as cold as the inland areas in winter. Such varying climates contribute to Iwate's stark and vivid contrast of the four seasons.

2009 (Morioka)

Avg. temp. (˚C) Max. temp. (˚C) Min. temp. (˚C) Precipitation
(mm)
Total snowfall
(cm)
Max. depth of
snow cover (cm)
Jan -0.4 3.5 -4 74.5 55 20
Feb -0.5 3.9 -4.5 82 52 27
Mar 2.5 7.6 -2.2 116.5 16 9
Apr 9.1 15 3.4 105.5 0 0
May 15.4 21.4 9.7 43.5 0 0
Jun 18.9 24.2 14.2 71 0 0
Jul 22.1 26.8 18.7 295.5 0 0
Aug 22.5 27.1 18.8 128.5 0 0
Sept 17.7 22.7 13.1 54 0 0
Oct 12.4 17.8 7.6 118.5 0 0
Nov 6.8 11 2.9 113 10 10
Dec 0.9 4.6 -2.8 72 48 17
Data: Morioka Meteorological Observatory

2009 (Miyako)

Avg. temp. (˚C) Max. temp. (˚C) Min. temp. (˚C) Precipitation
(mm)
Total snowfall
(cm)
Max. depth of
snow cover (cm)
Jan 1.4 6.4 -2.6 183 33 22
Feb 1.5 6.5 -2.6 21.5 10 22
Mar 4.3 9.9 -0.5 29 1 1
Apr 9.2 14.8 4.3 198 0 0
May 14 19.3 9.7 63.5 0 0
Jun 16.5 20.9 13.2 171.5 0 0
Jul 20.1 24.5 17 122.5 0 0
Aug 20.3 23.9 17.8 109 0 0
Sept 17.7 22.3 13.8 33.5 0 0
Oct 13.6 19.1 8.7 165 0 0
Nov 8.2 13.1 3.9 166 0 0
Dec 3 7.3 -1.2 117.5 12 7
Data: Morioka Meteorological Observatory

2009 (Hachimantai)

Avg. temp. (˚C) Max. temp. (˚C) Min. temp. (˚C) Precipitation
(mm)
Total snowfall
(cm)
Max. depth of
snow cover (cm)
Jan -2.4 2.1 -8.2 69.5 172 58
Feb -2.2 2.6 -8 42 109 57
Mar 1.3 6.7 -3.9 62.5 43 28
Apr 8.1 14.7 1.1 85 0 0
May 14.7 20.9 8.3 33 0 0
Jun 18 23.5 13.3 114 0 0
Jul 21.5 26.4 17.4 244 0 0
Aug 21.6 26.4 17.6 104 0 0
Sept 16.7 22.2 11.4 40.5 0 0
Oct 11.4 17.4 5.5 94.5 0 0
Nov 5.4 10 0.9 86.5 11 5
Dec -0.1 3.7 -4.7 62.5 69 12
Data: Morioka Meteorological Observatory

The Cultural Heritaege of Hiraizumi―Toward World Heritage Inscription

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