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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

A city of fascinating stories and restorative hot springs

Nestled in the mountains of central Iwate, the Hanamaki area is famous for its hot springs, author Kenji Miyazawa and the SL Ginga train. Nearby, Tono village is the folklore capital of Japan.

Don't Miss

  • The Hanamaki Hot Spring
  • Tono, a historic town known as the home of the mythical Kappa
  • Ride the SL Ginga, a restored steam locomotive with its own planetarium

How to Get There

Access the Hanamaki area through JR Shin-Hanamaki Station. From Tokyo, it takes three hours to Shin-Hanamaki Station from Tokyo Station on the JR Tohoku Shinkansen.

Depending on where you're going in the area, you may need to take a bus, a train or a taxi.

Quick Facts

Renowned poet and author Kenji Miyazawa was born in Hanamaki.

Hanamaki Hot Spring, Dai, Shidodaira, Osawa, Namari, and about seven other hot springs are collectively known as the Hanamaki Hot Spring Village.

Be prepared to get wet

Hanamaki is famous for its hot springs and the Hanamaki Hot Spring Area has many options, from grand resorts to rustic outdoor baths.

There are a few hot springs in Hanamaki that have rotenburo or outdoor baths alongside the river. One of the most famous is the Osawa Hot Spring. At its outdoor bath, you can sit alongside the Toyosawa River and enjoy the view. In winter, falling snow melts on contact with your skin. Be aware that many outdoor baths are unisex, so not for the shy.

Hanamaki's dreamer

Hanamaki's most fabled son is author Kenji Miyazawa. You can learn about him at the Kenji Miyazawa Memorial Museum. You can see some of his personal effects and his famous works, “Ame Ni Mo Makezu”, roughly translated as "What's a little rain?" and the children's story "Night on the Galactic Railroad", which inspired the decor of the SL Ginga.

Kenji Miyazawa Dowa Mura

Just down the road from the Kenji Miyazawa Museum is the Kenji Miyazawa Dowa Mura. Based on Miyazawa's fairy tales, the Dowa Mura has several indoor and outdoor attractions including Kenji's Classrooms, where you can find plants, animals, stars, birds, rocks, and other elements that appear in his fairy tales through audio and video.

Kenji's classrooms at Dowa Mura.

All aboard the space train

The SL Ginga is a steam locomotive that runs between Hanamaki and Kamaishi. The concept for the train was derived from Kenji Miyazawa's novel “Night on the Galactic Railway”. The interior of the train has been decorated as it would have been in the 1920's. There is also a digital planetarium inside the train. If you are a train fan, this is a must-see.

The SL Ginga as it chugs along.

Don't go near the water!

In between Hanamaki and Kamaishi is Tono, home to the mythical Kappa, a water creature that kidnaps children, plays tricks on people, and gets into trouble wherever it can. You can see Kappa, albeit concrete or stone ones, wherever you go in Tono. The Tono Municipal Museum is a great place to explore Tono's many legends and rich history.

Two Kappa near a small shrine in Tono.

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