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Travel News Morioka the second best place on NYT travel list 2023


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Since the New York Times listed Morioka second after London on its "52 Places to Go in 2023," surprising everyone in the tourism industry, Iwate's capital has seen an increasing influx of foreign tourists. Why Morioka, you might ask? Craig Mod, a writer and photographer who has called Japan home for most of the last twenty years, explains:
"Why Morioka?!" I was interviewed by journalists from nearly 20 Japanese television programs, newspapers and magazines who wanted to know the answer. It made no sense to them why I had suggested visiting there. It was "just" another midsize Japanese city. What meal, what building, makes it so special? But there was no building, there was no meal. It was bigger than that. [...] After a decade of this work I've become sensitive to cities and towns with strong socioeconomic foundations that elevate their residents, enabling them to live rich, full and creative lives. Cities that feel — to distill it to a single word — healthy. Morioka felt exceedingly healthy.

In recent years, Japanese destinations have frequently appeared on the list, with Osaka getting a nod in 2017, Tokyo in 2020, Hokkaido in 2021 and Kyoto in 2022. Fukuoka also made it onto this year's list. The article highlights Morioka's "Taisho-era buildings that mix Western and Eastern architectural aesthetics," and the city's downtown area is described as "eminently walkable." Writer Craig Mod, 42, who recommended Morioka in the Times article, said it is an impressive city but its charms are not well known.


Meanwhile, the residents of Morioka remain unfazed by all the unexpected attention they are getting. :)

Well why not! In so my travels I've only been as far north as Dewasanzan in Yamagata and Kessenuma in Miyagi. I was meaning to visit Hokkaido the last time I was there but ended up visiting Kanazawa on the West side instead. Iwate wasn't even really on my radar... But I'll see what the buzz is about when I can
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