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 is a city located in Iwate Prefecturemarker, Japanmarker. As of 2005, the city has an estimated total population of 106,414. Hanamaki is most famous as the birthplace of Kenji Miyazawa and for its onsen. The city recently celebrated the 50th anniversary since its consolidation from six smaller towns in 1954. Hanamaki as of 2006 is composed of the old Hanamaki city and three surrounding towns, which merged on January 1.


Kenji Miyazawa was born in Hanamaki in 1896, where he spent most of his life. Miyazawa’s invented Esperanto word Ihatov refers to Iwate prefecture in general, and is agreed to refer more specifically to Hanamaki itself.

On April 1, 1954 six towns consolidated into the former city of Hanamaki. Those seven towns (in rough order of size category) were: Hanamaki-cho, Yuguchi-mura, Yumoto-mura, Miyanome-mura, Yasawa-mura, and Ohta-mura. An additional seventh town, Sasama-mura, joined the following year.

In January 2006 Hanamaki again cosolidated with three neighboring towns, Tōwa-chō, Ōhasamamarker-machi, and Ishidoriya-cho to establish a new city also called Hanamaki. With the merger, the population of Hanamaki increased from 72,926 to 106,414 people, and its geographic area expanded from 385.40 km² to encompass 908.32 km².


City view form Enmanji-kanon
Hanamaki is located in the southern half of Iwate, along the valley which runs north-south through the length of the prefecture. The Tohoku shinkansen line passes through Hanamaki. The total city area is 908.32 km²[41322].


The city has an estimated population of 106,414 as of 2005. The population density of pre-merger Hanamaki as of 2003 was 189.22 persons per km².


Regular JR trains, both those going north-south along the Tohoku Main Line as well as those heading east to the coast on the Kamaishi line stop at Hanamaki Station.Shin Hanamaki station, which is on the Kamaishi line and significantly removed from the town center, is a stop on the Tohoku Shinkansen.

Hanamaki Airportmarker has regular flights to Sapporo, Nagoya and Osaka Itami.

A night bus travels between Hanamaki and Tokyomarker, departing at 22:08 from in front of the station.

Tourist attractions

Hanamaki is known historically for its many onsen.Kenji Miyazawa's various legacies are the old Hanamaki city's other perennial tourist attraction.The city also has a number of ski slopes.

One of Hanamaki's most notable events is the Hanamaki Matsuri, an annual festival which takes place the second weekend of September and dates back to 1593. The three-day festivities include a dance of over one thousand synchronized traditional dancers; the carrying of over one hundred small shrines; and the parading of a dozen or so large, hand-constructed floats depicting historical, fictional, or mythical scenes and accompanied by drummers, flautists, and lantern-carriers. Of these dances, the most famous is Shishi Odori (dance of the deer). This dance involves men dressing as deer and banging drums.

With the city's recent mergings, Hanamaki now lays claim to its merged towns' attractions.

Ōhasama is famous for local varieties of traditional Kagura dance. Kagura dancers often appear at area festivals or functions. On a hill above the town of Ōhasama proper stands a statue resembling the wolf-like costumes donned by Hayachine Kagura dancers.

Mt. Hayachine, which at 1917 m (6289 ft) is the second highest mountain in Iwate Prefecture, lies in the northeast section of Ōhasama.

The area is home to the regionally well-known Edel Wine. In September, the Ōhasama Wine House hosts the annual Wine Festival.

Around the time of Japan's Girls' Festival, Ōhasama puts on displays of its collection of dolls, many of which are several hundred years old. Local history suggests that the dolls may have been given to residents of Ōhasama by travelers from Kyoto on their way to trade in Hokkaidōmarker.

Ishidoriya has a history of sake-making connected with the Nambu Toji tradition.

City connections

Hanamaki is sister cities with Hot Springs, Arkansasmarker.Within Japan, Hanamaki conducts "friendship city" exchanges with Towada-shi in Aomorimarker and with Hiratsuka-shi in Kanagawamarker.

Each of the erstwhile towns also conduct exchanges with sister cities of their own, which have been taken up by the new Hanamaki city.

Ōhasama has been sister cities with Berndorfmarker, Austriamarker since 1965. Mt. Hayachine is also home to a particular species of edelweiss, called Hayachine Usuyukisou, which grows exclusively on Mt. Hayachine. It was because of this flower that mountain climbers from Ōhasama forged a friendship with those from Berndorf, Austria.

Ishidoriya is sister cities with Rutland, Vermontmarker.

Tōwa in turn carried on exchanges with many towns and cities while eschewing formal sister city agreements, starting with Clinton, Wisconsinmarker in 1975, and including locations in Athens, Ohiomarker and also Germanymarker, and Scotlandmarker (Shetlandmarker).


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