Traveling through Hachimantai in a rental car with your family? Great idea! If you know to do that, you probably already know about the Salad Farm- a rather expansive area with all kinds of great activities and food to enjoy! Whether you’d like to buy house plants, create your own “moss ball” with a plant growing out of it, pick fresh strawberries, relax in a cafe, or or meet the cutest Alpacas that you’ve ever seen – the Salad Farm is the place! Another of the facilities were renovated recently, and there’s a large new garden area with ponds, all kinds of flowers, and great views of the surrounding mountains. And don’t miss the chance to try their delicious gelato!
So after you’ve explored the Hachimantai Summit area and walked around the alpine marshlands there, zip down to the Salad Farm for dessert!
Full details here: https://trip8.jp/listings/salad-farm-2/
Now is the perfect time to visit Goshiki Pond in Hachimantai! While it changes color throughout the year and thus warrants multiple visits, if you were only going to see it once, now would be the time! Around late August and early September, just after the end of the rainy season in Japan, the pond is at its most radiant. The bright azure color of the water right now is further accentuated by the red clay that surrounds the pond. Its location right next to another scenic lake, this one not augmented by subterranean minerals and thus normal (though beautiful) in color, makes the special character of Goshiki Pond even more pronounced!
This area is easy to reach, just a 15 to 20 minute walk from the parking lot on the Hachimantai Aspite Line. (Here: https://goo.gl/maps/i4N8C9CsW7dFDMLc9)
And if you visit this area, there are so many other things for you to enjoy nearby! From the ruins of the Midorigaoka apartment ruins near the Matsuo Mine site, to the alpine wetlands near the summit of Mt. Hachimantai- this entire area is a paradise for those that appreciate the great outdoors! And we haven’t even entered the delicious season of autumn colors….!
Detailed information on Goshiki Pond here: https://trip8.jp/listings/goshiki-pond/
Car rental information has been posted under access.
Please consider renting a car in order to make the most of the time you have for your vacation.
You can find information here about rental car agencies near Morioka Station and the Hanamaki Airport. Click!
We may be right in the middle of the rainy season here in Hachimantai – but this is also the season for beautiful alpine flowers! There are so many interesting, not to mention stunningly beautiful, flowers that are blooming right now!
1. Komakusa – these pink flowers have roots systems that go down a meter or more, allowing them to thrive in harsh volcanic conditions that choke out other plants.
2. Sankayo – These petals of these beautiful white flowers become transparent when wet! Delicate and mysterious!
3. Shirane aoi (photos 3 and 4) – These much-loved alpine flowers are usually purple, and only grow in the most pristine natural areas. On some mountain slopes in Hachimantai you can find the rarest breeds – the white ones!
This year and last a secret tour was held among a small group in Hachimantai organized by The Hachimantai Farm Stay Council. We were testing and refining the content that is now emerging into the light of day. Allow me to introduce “Hachimantai Auberge Washinooo & Onsen” – a sake-lover’s dream tour of Hachimantai!
The tour starts before lunch with a tour of the Washinoo Sake Brewery in Hachimantai. The building itself dates back about 250 years, though the current Washinoo was founded in 1829. The brewmaster himself guides you through the facility, explaining the fascinating details of how sake is made. His enthusiasm and extensive knowledge make this an exceptional brewery tour. Even if you’ve visited a few other sake breweries in Japan, you’ll find something new this time!
This brewery tour is held at the same time as a special yearly event introducing various lacquer, glass, and ceramic drinking implements at the brewery. The shape and texture of the glass really makes a difference in the aroma and thus flavor. Doing tasting with various glasses really demonstrates this, opening up an entire other aspect of drinking sake! (They also offer a number of other tasty items during the event, including the sweet warm non-alcoholic beverage amazake, and crackers made with sake kasu.)
Next is a late lunch at the Sawaguchi Liquor Store. This local shop carries the full line of Washinoo sake, including limited edition items not sold elsewhere. Enjoy trying three different types of Washinoo sake while eating lunch seated around an irori open hearth. During this year’s tour, a Hachimantai photo exhibition by THE BLURRED PHOTO was held on the second floor, displaying the best of the natural beauty that Hachimantai has to offer.
After lunch, it’s off to the Hachimantai Mountain Hotel. Just before dinner around 6pm there is a fascinating event called Tama-wari held in the hotel dining room just for the tour group. During this activity, the owner of Washinoo demonstrates how very small adjustments in the amount of spring water added to sake has a drastic impact on the flavor. This activity is actually my favorite part of the tour, but I won’t spoil any of the surprises. You’ll have to go next year to discover more.
Dinner served at the Hachimantai Mountain Hotel is a course meal with sake pairings in addition to the already excellent buffet. Breakfast the next morning also features the Mountain Hotel’s luxurious buffet.
On the second day, you are treated to something many people have seen in movies or photos but never had the chance to experience. We take a traditional bonnet bus deep into the mountains to Matsukawa Hot Springs. There, we bathe in the mixed outdoor hot spring bath with a platter floating in the water with us. And what is on this platter but a pitcher (or two!) of sake and some little cups. That’s right – you can sit in a traditional outdoor hot spring bath, gazing out at the mountainside covered in snow, while sipping sake. It doesn’t get much better than that.
After a bath, a delicious lunch awaits in the Matsukawaso building, which is a delicious mix of local traditional Japanese dishes. Lunch then concludes this deeply satisfying tour, and visitors are taken back to Morioka by bus.
This tour is by reservation only, so be sure to book in advance!
As a result of COVID-19, numerous flights in and out of Hanamaki Airport have been cancelled.
IT258/IT259 between Hanamaki and Taiwan will not be in operation from March 4th through March 28th. (What will happen after this period is as of yet undecided.)
MU229/MU230 between Hanamaki and Shanghai will not be in operation until July 11th. (What will happen after this period is as of yet undecided.
We’ll update here with further information as it becomes available.
The Nanataki Waterfall in Hachimantai is about 80% frozen now! Hopefully in another few days it will be completely solid!
I was able to hike out there today to check on its progress. Another beautiful day with fresh powder snow covering the forest. It took about 40 minutes to walk to the waterfall without snowshoes, but probably will take an hour if you wear snowshoes.
This weekend and the following weekend will probably be the peak season for people visiting the falls. Don’t miss this stunning natural work of art!
In fast, you can visit this frozen waterfall with a guide that will explain other interesting stories about this natural area here!
Have you explored the nightlife around Obuke station in Hachimantai? You should! And now it’s all much more convenient!
We’ve published a convenient guide in English for using the night bus service that runs from December 24th through March 8th. Now, if you’re staying near Appi, you can still go out to eat and explore that Obuke station area with all the great places to eat and drink at night.
See the new guide here!
Have you ever seen a frozen waterfall? Did you know that because of the way it freezes that the ice swells to more than 10 times the size of the waterfall during the warmer months?
Nanataki Falls is amazing all year round, but in the winter it really is magical. There’s a new tour from the Hachimantai Resort Panorama Ski Area to snowshoe out through the pristine winter forest to see this stunning tower of ice.
Fantastic article from Hachimantai’s own Nick Carmon! He’s composed what I believe is currently the best, most detailed article on the Yakehashiri Lava Flow in Hachimantai. This area is just one example of the amazing volcanic geographical nature of the Hachimantai. Mt. Iwate – the immense volcano that it is – has given so much to this area both in the rich volcanic soil for agiculture and in filtering pristine water to springs such as the Kanazawa Spring area where some of the most delicious salmon in Japan are being raised. We owe so much to this beautiful volcano.
Take a minute to read this great article about the fascinating volcanic history of this area:
A well-known Thai blogger recently wrote an extensive article featuring their favorite areas of Hachimantai and Kazuno. They listed 16 areas they found impressive. I don’t read any Thai, but in this era of Google Translate it’s actually possible to see what it is that stuck out to them about our beloved Hachimantai. There are also some rather excellent photographs included as well.