There are about 11 onsens (hot springs) in Hanamaki
City, but Hanamaki Onsen (花巻温泉) is the most known
out of the bunch. Hanamaki Onsen refers to Dai-Onsen,
Hanamaki-Onsen, Shidotaira-Onsen, and Hanamaki-
Minami-Onsen-Kyo Village. The area is famed for being
one of Kenji Miyazawa’s favorite places in his hometown.
Kenji Miyazawa was a famous poet, but he was mostly
known for his children stories like Night on the Galactic
Railroad. Dai Onsen is the oldest out of the group with
history tracing back to Sakanoue no Tamuramaro. It is
said that the Shogun stopped to rest his tired body in the
waters. He was so delighted about the onsens’ properties
that he decreed to repair and pray at the nearby shrine.
The area around the Dai onsen has kept a rustic
atmosphere that is representative of days gone by.
Some little ways down the road is the Namari Onsen, which is famed for its White Monkey bath. It is a mixed bath where the people who enter soak in it while standing instead of sitting. The hot spring is located at the Fujisan Ryokan, which is said to have been opened 600 years ago. The story goes that a member of the Fujii family was at the foot of Mount Takakura cutting wood and happened upon a white monkey curing its injuries at a hot spring near a katsura tree. The Hanamaki Onsen was founded in 1923 with the purpose of becoming a huge spa resort. There is a hallway that connects Hotel Senshukaku, Hanamaki, and Kouyoukan to each other so if you were to stay at one you will have the opportunity to visit the others.
In Hotel Kouyoukan’s Matsuri Hiroba room there are traditional dances of Shishi Odori (deer dance) and folk music playing at the location. Then in October is the Mikoshi no Owatari parade, which is part of the autumn festival, where the hotel staff carries portable shrines. The Kashouen is a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) that offers a high end onsen facility. Located along the Toyosawa River is the Shidotaira Onsen where a large hotel and ryokan are situated. The Hotel Shidotaira offers many amenities and recreational activities for families like a giant pool with slide. The 14 variety of baths is a draw, but they have one dedicated for pets to enjoy.
Hotel Shidotaira is also connected to a ryokan where every room has their own private onsen. This is meant for people who want to enjoy the water by themselves rather than going to the public baths. There are several onsen located in the Hanamaki Minami Onsen Kyo where each one has at least one or two inns. The Osawa onsen has been a favorite for literary and intellectual types. Kenji Miyazawa and Kotaro Takamura, a sculptor and poet, enjoyed going to Osawa Onsen. It maintains a traditional style and is most known for their outdoor bath that is next to the Toyosawa River.