Located directly at the entrance of Morioka Station, Fesan Department Store bounty a bountiful of different shops selling a wide array of goods, as well as delicious restaurants sure to satisfy your hunger. Here, you will find kimono stores and local artist's shops, in addition to locally brewed sake and beautiful wagashi, traditional Japanese confections.
If you have some time to spare before catching your next train, have a peek around Fesan. But, be warned! You may catch your curious self, wanting to browse through every shop or wanting to grab a nibble from every vendor.
I visited a few stores whilst roaming around Fesan Department Store before boarding a bus from the terminal in front of Morioka Station. One of the artist's shops, Kaneiri Standard Store, located on the outside of Fesan’s building lured me in. The shop sells a wide array of products, including pickles, iced coffee packaged in cartons, canned fish, colorful Daruma dolls, miniature ceramic animals, stationary, and earthenware pottery. If you are in need of some artsy additions to your working space or household, have a poke around Kaneiri Standard Store and you may find yourself a marvelous purchase.
Wandering around a shopping center can consume quite a bit of energy. If your stomach is suddenly begging for much-needed attention and fuel, direct yourself to Fesan Department Store's ground floor. This floor is entirely dedicated to food and it is just as amazing as it sounds.
While on this floor, I stopped by Okashitsukasa Yamazen, a vendor selling wagashi. These delicate little confections, traditionally served during tea ceremonies, are absolutely irresistible both on the taste buds and on the eyes. Wagashi flavors change seasonally, allowing different fruit to be featured throughout the year. The lady at Okashitsukasa Yamazen was incredibly generous and offered me two wagashi to sample, as I had never eaten it before. I asked for her recommendations, and she helped me pick a wagashi that was decorated with dainty flowers all over the exterior and a Japanese apricot filling that is only available during summertime.
The other wagashi she chose was covered in colorful pieces of jelly and filled with a white bean paste. A cup of cold green tea was served with the sweets, and all of the flavors melted together in beautiful harmony. It was a feast on my senses. If you have not treated your taste buds to these divine sweets, you certainly need to!
Also on the same floor is Nanbu Senbei no Iwate-ya. This store is packed to maximum capacity with an assortment of famous Iwate snacks. One snack in particular is Aomori and Iwate’s specialty, Nanbu Senbei, which is made from wheat and filled with a selection of different flavors, including miso, chocolate, and pistachio. I tried a free sample of the freshly made miso Nanbu Senbei, and it was a brilliant combination of savory and sweet. All snacks in Iwate-ya are beautifully packaged and perfect to bring home to share with your family, or to give as presents to friends and relatives. If you have been racking your brain about what souvenirs to bring home, look no further than Nanbu Senbei no Iwate-ya.
Fesan Department Store has a wonderful collection of shops and edibles that extend far beyond the few I mentioned above. When in Morioka, even if just for a brief layover, Fesan is the easiest destination to walk to from Morioka Station, so be sure to wander around and take a piece of Iwate home with you.