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.
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.
To learn more about Morioka and Iwate Prefecture, explore some of the following articles on our site:
- Top 10 Things to Do in Iwate
- The Great Wanko Soba Food Challenge (this was one of the regional foods mentioned in the NY Times article)
- The Best Cherry Blossom Sites in Iwate
- Morioka's Hachimangu Shrine
To learn more about Fukuoka City and Fukuoka Prefecture, check out the following reads: