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Japan Travel Guide - Tourist Information - Hot Springs - Hanamaki Onsen-kyo
att. Hot Springs - Hanamaki Onsen-kyo
You are here: att.JAPAN > Travel Guide > Hanamaki Onsen-kyo
att.JAPAN Issue 49, November 2009

Hanamaki Onsen-kyo

Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture, is the birthplace of Miyazawa Kenji, who was a poet and author of stories for children. He deeply loved his hometown and called this area “Ihatov,” with the meaning of utopia. Various hot springs are found here and they are collectively called Hanamaki Onsen-kyo Village. Some of the hot springs have been in existence since as early as the 14th century.

 “Dai Onsen” is the oldest spa in Hanamaki and has ten thermal sources whose water qualities are different. “Hanamaki Onsen” is a spa resort that was opened in 1923, with the aim of becoming a large spa resort.

 ‘Hanamaki Minami Onsen-kyo’ has several onsen each of which has one or two inns. “Shidotaira Onsen” has been known a quiet hot-spring cure area in mountains, but recently has been changing to a general spa resort housing an indoor pool. “Watari Onsen” is a relatively new spa and its jade bath is popular among women. “Osawa Onsen” has been a favorite of intellectuals and local literary and artistic types including Miyazawa Kenji and sculptor and poet Takamura Kotaro, and in earlier times the lord family of the Nambu domain. It is divided into a hotel part and self-catering accommodation part, and guests can enjoy the mixed open-air-bath “Osawa no yu.”

 “Shin-Namari Onsen” is located in the deepest recess of the ‘Hanamaki Minami Onsen-kyo’ and is the only spa in Hanamaki whose onsen water can be drunk.

Fujisan Ryokan at “Namari Onsen” is said to have been opened about 600 years ago. When a member of the owner Fujii family was cutting wood at the foot of Mount Takakura, he found that a white monkey which came out from a rock cave cured injuries to its hands and feet at a hot spring near a katsura tree. Later, the family started to enjoy soaking in the spring, which is the origin of this spa. Now it is popular as a quiet inn in a valley and also used for therapeutic bathing. There is a 1.25-meter-high bathtub called “Shirozaru no yu,” or “white monkey bath” (mixed bathing), where people soak standing.

 Access
By air: 15-40 minutes by car from Hanamaki Airport
By train: about 2 hours 40 minutes from Tokyo Station to Shin-Hanamaki Station by Tohoku bullet train, about 20-60 minutes from Shin-Hanamaki Station by car

 Inquiries
Hanamaki Kanko Kyokai: 0198-22-5557



How to bathe in an Onsen

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