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Hanamaki, Iwate

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Title: Hanamaki, Iwate  
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Subject: Kōzō Satō, Tase Dam, Hanamaki Airport, Sarugaishi River, Kitakami, Iwate
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Hanamaki, Iwate

Hanamaki City Hall
Hanamaki City Hall
Flag of Hanamaki
Official seal of Hanamaki
Location of Hanamaki in Iwate Prefecture
Location of Hanamaki in Iwate Prefecture
Hanamaki is located in Japan
Country Japan
Region Tōhoku
Prefecture Iwate
 • Total 908.32 km2 ( sq mi)
Population (February 2014)
 • Total 99,803
 • Density

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Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
City symbols  
• Tree Magnolia kobus
• Flower Leontopodium
• Bird Ural owl
Phone number 0198-24-2111
Address 9-30 Kajo-cho, Hanamaki-shi, Iwate-ken 025-8601
Website Official website
City view from Emmanji-kanon

Hanamaki (花巻市 Hanamaki-shi) is a city located in Iwate Prefecture, Japan. As of February 2014, the city had an estimated population of 99,083 and a population density of 109 persons per km2. The total area was 908.32  km2. Hanamaki is famous as the birthplace of Kenji Miyazawa and for its onsen.


Hanamaki is located in central Iwate Prefecture, in the Kitakami River valley at the conflux of three rivers with the Kitakami; the Sarugaishi-gawa from the east and the Se-gawa and Toyosawa-gawa from the west. In the west the city rises to the foothills of the Ou Mountains with the highest peak being Mt. Matsukura at 968 meters. To the east the city rises to the highest peak in the Kitakami Range, Mt Hayachine at 1917 meters. The largest reservoir is Lake Tase on the Sarugaishi River. Lake Hayachine on the Hienuki River is quite spectacular with steep mountains rising above it. Lake Toyosawa is in the western part of the city on the Toyosawa River.


Neighboring municipalities


The area of present-day Hanamaki was part of ancient Mutsu Province, and has been settled since at least the Jomon period. During the Sengoku period, the area was dominated by various samurai clans before coming under the control of the Nambu clan during the Edo period, who ruled Morioka Domain under the Tokugawa shogunate.

The modern towns of Hanamaki and Hanamaki-Kawaguchi were created within Hienuki District, Iwate on April 1, 1889. The two towns were merged on April 10, 1929, with the merged municipality retaining the name of Hanamaki. On April 1, 1954, the villages of Yuguchi, Yumoto, Miyanome, Yasawa and Ohta were annexed by Hanamaki. An additional village, Sasama, joined the following year.

In January 2006, Hanamaki merged with the neighboring towns of Ishidoriya, Ōhasama and Tōwa.






Local 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 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 mergers, Hanamaki now lays claim to its absorbed 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 Hokkaidō. Ishidoriya has a history of brewing sake connected with the Nambu Toji tradition.

International relations

Each of the former towns merged with Hanamaki also conducted exchanges on their own, most of which have been taken up by the new Hanamaki city. Ōhasama was paired with Rutland, Vermont. Tōwa in turn carried on exchanges with many towns and cities while eschewing formal sister city agreements, starting with Clinton, Wisconsin in 1975, and including locations in Athens, Ohio and also in Germany and Scotland (Shetland).

Noted people from Hanamaki

External links

Media related to Hanamaki, Iwate at Wikimedia Commons

  • Hanamaki travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Official website
  • Official website
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