Photo: yisris / CC BY 2.0
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Morioka & Fukuoka Make 2023 Travel List

The cities featured on the NY Times 52 places to visit in 2023 list

If you're ever looking for travel inspiration, many publications disseminate their top travel picks for the coming twelve months at the start of the new year. Lonely Planet and Condé Nast released their suggestions at the tail end of 2022, and this week the New York Times also offered their recommendations for 52 places to travel for 2023.

Two Japanese cities were featured on the list – Morioka and Fukuoka. The popularity of Fukuoka has been apparent in both the Lonely Planet and Condé Nast lists as well, with the cuisine of this urban hub drawing significant praise. Morioka, however, is the surprise packet on the list – the capital of Iwate Prefecture was lauded for its walkability, lack of crowds, East-meets-West architectural inspiration, and a buzzing coffee culture. One thing that wasn't mentioned about Morioka is that it's a great spot for cherry blossom viewing, with destinations like Takamatsu Park widely regarded as one of the country's top sakura destinations.

Takamatsu Park is just three kilometers from Morioka Station, and is one of the best sakura viewing spots in all of Japan
Takamatsu Park is just three kilometers from Morioka Station, and is one of the best sakura viewing spots in all of Japan (Photo: Ghost.R.C (鬼鬼) / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

As for Fukuoka, the city was mentioned as being one of the few spots in Japan where you can still enjoy traditional yatai food stalls, which have unfortunately been stamped out due to bureaucracy in other parts of the country.

Photo: drufisher / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

To learn more about Morioka and Iwate Prefecture, explore some of the following articles on our site:

To learn more about Fukuoka City and Fukuoka Prefecture, check out the following reads:

Getting there

Morioka can be accessed directly from Tokyo via the Komachi Shinkansen, with the travel time sitting at just over two hours.

Shinkansen services also connect Tokyo with Fukuoka, with the journey to Hakata Station on the Nozomi Shinkansen taking 5 hours.

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