Aug 23, 2018
Hanamaki Onsen is a very popular onsen resort in Iwate prefecture, it is probably more well known to Hong Kong and Taiwan tourists than Singapore visitors. Usually when Hanamaki Onsen is mentioned, it is generally referring to the collective group of Hotel Senshukaku, Hotel Hanamaki, Hotel Koyokan (these three are basically located next to each other), and probably also Hotel Keishoen some further 400m away.
What makes Hanamaki Onsen special is that, apart from Hotel Keishoen, the other three hotels are linked by an interesting internal passage way 'Pathway of Roses', and patrons staying in any of the three hotels can enjoy the overall facilities that the three hotels share, particularly for onsen. Hotels here all have their own signature onsen, such as rose bath (for the ladies), apple bath (Winter only), open air rotenburo, some boast truly excellent view! On top of that, every night at 8.30pm, Hotel Koyokan will also be hosting different show for hotel guests free of charge. Oh, about 'Pathway of Roses' that I mentioned earlier, along here, hotel guests can find display of vintage items, as well as pictures that depict the development of the nearby area, it's like a walk along memory lane.
Although there are shops in the vicinity, but most of them close around 6pm. The hotels have their own restaurants of course, and I found the price reasonable. Otherwise, there are also souvenir stores that sell light snack, drinks, and Iwate specialties such as Nanbu Tekki, amber etc. One attraction I absolutely must mention is the Rose Garden across the big carpark, showcasing around 450 types and about 6,000 species of roses from around the world, not only that, they develope their own species too! The best time to visit the Rose Garden is June and late September. Grab a discount coupon from your hotel concierge, or simply mention you are hotel guest at Rose Garden entrance for discount.
On the map, Hanamaki Onsen may seems far away from any train station, but the resort provides free shuttle bus services to-and-fro Shinkansen station Shin-Hanamaki, which is about 3 hours from Tokyo, or an hour from Sendai. However, take note that free shuttle buses to Hanamaki Onsen only starts from 3pm, if you arrive too early, perhaps can consider visiting Miyazawa Kenji Dowa Mura near the station (Shin-Hanamaki) or the restaurant Yamaneko-ken, these are establishment that have close association with Iwate's iconic figure, Kenji Miyazawa. If you intend to get to the hotel earlier, and if you ain't driving, you can take a bus from Hanamaki station along the Tohoku Main Line.
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