Hanamaki, Iwate

Hanamaki, Iwate

Japanese city| Name = Hanamaki City
JapaneseName = 花巻市| Region = Tōhoku
Prefecture = Iwate prefecture
Area_km2 = 908.32| Population = 105,350
PopDate = May, 2007
Mayor = Mitsuo Oishi
LatitudeDegrees= 39
LatitudeMinutes= 23
LongtitudeDegrees= 141
LongtitudeMinutes= 7
SymbolDescription= Flag
Tree = Kobushi magnolia
Flower = Hayachine-Usuyukisou
Bird = Owl
CityHallPostalCode = 025-8601
CityHallAddress=Hanamaki-shi, Kajo-cho 9-30
CityHallLink = [http://www.city.hanamaki.iwate.jp/ www.city.hanamaki.iwate.jp]

nihongo|Hanamaki|花巻市|Hanamaki-shi is a city located in Iwate Prefecture, Japan. As of 2005, the city has an estimated total population of 106,414. [http://www.city.hanamaki.iwate.jp/contents_data/shimin_guide.pdf] .] 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, Ohasama-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.


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 [http://www.city.hanamaki.iwate.jp/contents_data/shimin_guide.pdf] .


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 Airport has regular flights to Sapporo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka.

A night bus travels between Hanamaki and Tokyo.

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, floutists, and lantern-carriers. Of these dances, the most famous is Shishi Odori (dance of the deer). This dance, which is unique to Hanamaki, involves men dressing as deer and banging drums.

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

Ohasama 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 Ohasama proper stands a statue resembling the wolf-like costumes donned by Hayachine Kagura dancers.

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

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

Around the time of Japan's Girls' Festival, Ohasama 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 Ohasama by travelers from Kyoto on their way to trade in Hokkaidō.

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

City connections

Hanamaki is sister cities with Hot Springs, Arkansas.Within Japan, Hanamaki conducts "friendship city" exchanges with Towada-shi in Aomori and with Hiratsuka-shi in Kanagawa.

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

Ohasama was sister cities with Berndorf, Austria 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 Ohasama forged a friendship with those from Berndorf, Austria.

Ishidoriya was sister cities 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 Germany, and Scotland.


External links

* [http://www.city.hanamaki.iwate.jp/ Hanamaki official website]
* [http://www.city.hanamaki.iwate.jp/kokusai/english/index.html Hanamaki International Exchange Association]
* [http://jet.wikia.com/wiki/Hanamaki Hanamaki article on WikiJET]

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