Morioka is located in the Kitakami Basin in central Iwate Prefecture, at the confluence of three rivers, the Kitakami, the Shizukuishi and the Nakatsu. The Kitakami River is the second largest river on the Pacific side of Japan (after the Kiso River) and the longest in the Tohoku region. It runs through the city from north to south and has a number of dams within the city boundaries, including the Shijūshida Dam and Gandō Dam. An active volcano, Mount Iwate, dominates the view to the northwest of the city. Mount Himekami is to the north and Mount Hayachine can sometimes be seen to the southeast.Iwate Prefecture
Per Japanese census data, the population of Morioka peaked at around the year 2000, but has slightly declined since.
Morioka has a transitional climate between the subtropical and continental climates. It is humid, wet and snowy, also a normal feature for the area. Under the Köppen classification with an August mean of 23.4 °C (74.1 °F) and January mean of −1.9 °C (28.6 °F) it falls under the subtropical classification, due to winters being milder than the −3 °C (27 °F) isotherm for continental. Temperature differences are still largely associated with moderate continental.
The area of present-day Morioka has been continuously inhabited since the Japanese Paleolithic period. Numerous Jomon, Yayoi and Kofun period tombs and remains have been found. The Emishi inhabited the area into the Heian period. During the Enryaku era of the Heian period, Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, was ordered north to Shiwa Castle in 803 AD, as a military center to extend the domination of the Yamato dynasty over Mutsu Province. The area was later ruled by the Abe clan until their destruction during the Former Nine Years War at the hands of the Minamoto and Kiyohara clans. The Kiyohara were in turn defeated in the Gosannen War and the area came under the control of the Ōshū Fujiwara Clan based in Hiraizumi, to the south of Morioka. After the Ōshū Fujiwara were destroyed by Minamoto no Yoritomo at the start of the Kamakura period, the area was disputed by several samurai clans until the Nanbu clan, based in Sannohe to the north, expanded their territory during the Sengoku period and built Kozukata Castle in 1592.
Following the Battle of Sekigahara and the formal recognition of Morioka Domain under the Tokugawa Shogunate, Kozukata Castle was renamed Morioka Castle. Its name was changed from 森岡 to 盛岡 (both read as "Morioka") During the Boshin War of the Meiji Restoration, Morioka Domain was a key member of the pro-Tokugawa Ōuetsu Reppan Dōmei.
After the start of the Meiji period, former Morioka Domain became Morioka Prefecture in 1870, and part of Iwate Prefecture from 1872. With the establishment of the municipality system in 1889, the city of Morioka was established and made the capital of Iwate Prefecture. The city was connected by train to Tokyo in 1890. The city emerged from World War II with very little damage, having been subject to only two minor air raids during the war.
On January 10, 2006, the village of Tamayama was merged into Morioka. Morioka was proclaimed a core city in 2008, with increased local autonomy.
During the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, Morioka was hit by a 6.1 earthquake, and numerous aftershocks, but with little damage other than extensive power outages.
Morioka has a mayor-council form of government with a directly elected mayor and a unicameral city legislature of 38 members.Iwate University
Iwate Medical University
Morioka has eight public high schools operated by the Iwate Prefectural Board of Education.Morioka First High School
Morioka Second High School
Morioka Third High School
Morioka Fourth High School
Morioka South High School
Morioka Agricultural High School
Morioka Industrial High School
Morioka Commercial High School
There is also one public high school operated by the city government and ten private high schoolsEast Japan Railway Company (JR East) – Tōhoku Shinkansen
East Japan Railway Company (JR East) - Tōhoku Main Line
Iwate-Iioka - Sembokuchō - Morioka
East Japan Railway Company (JR East) - Tazawako Line (Akita Shinkansen)
East Japan Railway Company (JR East) - Yamada Line
Morioka - Kamimorioka - Yamagishi - Kamiyonai - Ōshida - Asagishi
East Japan Railway Company (JR East) - Hanawa Line
Morioka - Kōma
Iwate Galaxy Railway Line
Morioka – Aoyama – Kuriyagawa – Shibutami – Kōma
Tōhoku Expressway – Morioka-Minami IC, Morioka IC
National Route 4
National Route 46
National Route 106
National Route 281
National Route 282
National Route 396
National Route 455
National Route 456
The Iwate Museum of Art in Morioka displays works by three notable local artists, Tetsugoro Yorozu, Shunsuke Matsumoto and Yasutake Funakoshi, as well as holding exhibitions on national and international themes.
Rock-Breaking Cherry Tree - designated a natural monument of Japan.
Iwate Athletic Stadium
Grulla Morioka, football team
Hoon-ji is a Sōtō Zen Buddhist temple which was originally built at Sannohe by the 13th lord of the Nambu clan, Nambu Moriyuki, in 1394, and brought to Morioka by the 27th lord, Nambu Toshinao. It was considered the head temple among the 280 operated by the Nambu clan. A notable feature is the Rakan-dō, built in 1735 and rebuilt in 1858. Its central statue Rushana butsu is reported to be made by Kōbō-daishi. Within the Rakan-dō are statues of the 500 Rakan, which were made in Kyoto and later brought to Morioka. Included are representations of Kublai Khan and Marco Polo. It is an active Zen training temple for monks.
Mitsuishi (literally, 'three rocks') is a Shinto shrine which has three large rocks on the grounds with shackles around them to represent the story of 'Oni no tegata', which is a legend explaining the origin of the name of Iwate prefecture. According to the legend, there was once an Oni or demon who often tormented and harassed the local people. When the people prayed to the spirit of Mitsuishi for protection, the demon was immediately shackled to the rocks and made to promise never to trouble the people again. As a sign of this promise, the demon left a handprint on one of the rocks, thus giving rise to the name Iwate, literally meaning "rock hand".
Morioka Hachiman Shrine
Morioka attracts tourists with local noodles such as jajamen, reimen, and wanko soba. Brewing is also a thriving industry of the city. Nambu Senbei, a type of rice cracker, is considered a local specialty.Iwate Asahi Television
Iwate Broadcasting Company
Iwate Menkoi Television
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (sister city since 1985)
Takashi Hara, former Prime Minister of Japan
Takuboku Ishikawa, poet
Harry Colin Johnson, educator
Seishirō Itagaki, general in the Imperial Japanese Army
Yōko Mihara, actress
Milano Collection A.T., professional wrestler
The Great Sasuke, professional wrestler
Inazo Nitobe, author, educator, diplomat, and politician during the Meiji period and Taishō period
Mitsuo Ogasawara, footballer
Takatō Ōshima, engineer - made the first Western-style cannon in Japan
Mikoi Sasaki, actress
Mitsumasa Yonai, former Prime Minister of Japan