Iwate is just a stone's throw away from Miyagi, and the largest city in Tohoku, Sendai. The coastal areas were damaged very heavily by the 2011 Tsunami but the area has been recovering steadily since then.
This is a great place for people wanting to experience "deep Japan", with towns and cities steeped in history, agriculture and scenery. The "Golden Route" within Iwate is usually considered to be the route between Hiraizumi, Tono and Hanamaki.
Do note that the JR Rail Pass and the JR East Rail Pass covers all JR lines through Iwate.
Geibikei Gorge (near Ichinoseki)-enjoy a ride on one of the boats and listen to the singing of your guide. Feed koi carp in warmer weather, enjoy the changing leaves in the fall and the snow in the winter.