Mr. Ohtani's Hometown
I visited Mr. Ohtani's hometown at the beginning of December. He is a renowned baseball player in Major League Baseball, currently with the Los Angeles Dodgers. His hometown is in Oshu City, Iwate Prefecture, where Hanamaki Higashi High School is located, and Ohtani graduated from there in 2023. Mr. Yusei Kikuchi, who plays for the Toronto Blue Jays, also graduated from the same school in 2010.
During our visit, we explored the Oshu Traditional Industry Museum, situated in front of the Mizusawa-Esashi Station. The journey from Tokyo Station to Mizusawa-Esashi Station takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes by Shinkansen.
One highlight of the visit was the opportunity to shake hands with Mr. Ohtani, and you can experience the same. Inside the hall, there is a monument featuring Ohtani's right hand, adorned in gold.
Additionally, both Ohtani and Kikuchi have left their handprints on monuments at their alma mater, Hanamaki Higashi High School. The school proudly commemorates their appearances in the 2021 MLB All-Star Game with special celebrations.
Numbu Ironware (Numbu Tekki)
Oshu City is renowned as a prominent hub for ironware production in Japan, particularly known for its distinctive craft known as Nambu Ironware, or Nambu Tekki in Japanese. This traditional form of craftsmanship has been passed down through generations and is employed in creating a variety of household items, including pots, pans, kettles, paperweights, vases, and more. The meticulous artistry involved in Nambu Ironware not only ensures the durability and functionality of the products but also adds a touch of cultural heritage to each piece. Explore the rich history and craftsmanship of Oshu City through the exquisite Nambu Ironware, where tradition meets functionality in every carefully crafted item.
Hanamaki Hot Spring
Hanamaki Hot Spring, nestled in Iwate Prefecture, offers a peaceful getaway just about two hours away from Tokyo Station. You can easily get there by hopping on the speedy Shinkansen bullet train and then taking a short shuttle bus ride from Shin-Hanamaki Station.
In this charming hot spring spot, you have four lovely hotels to choose from: Kashoen, Hotel Koyokan, Hotel Hanamaki, and Hotel Senshukaku. Each place has its own unique charm to make your stay special.
During our time at Kashoen, we couldn't help but notice how amazing the hot spring water was – it's famous for giving your skin a healthy glow. We met a sweet couple who told us they love Hanamaki Hot Spring even more than the one close to their home. They enjoy it so much that they make it a point to visit twice a year.
If you're feeling adventurous and want to try different hot springs, Hotel Koyokan, Hotel Hanamaki, and Hotel Senshukaku have their own special waters. The cool part is, if you stay at Kashoen, you can check out the hot springs at these other hotels for free. All four hotels are run by the same company, giving you a chance to experience the relaxing vibes of Hanamaki Hot Spring in different ways. It's a fantastic spot for a relaxing and rejuvenating getaway!
During our stay at Kashoen, we had the pleasure of enjoying dinner right in our room, adding a nice touch of relaxation to the experience. The meals not only tasted fantastic but were also visually stunning. My mother-in-law was delighted, and it was truly worth inviting her as a gesture of thanks. My wife and I had a wonderful time with her.
The breakfast was equally luxurious, served in a banquet hall, and surprisingly, our mother was very content. It made me appreciate once more the pride I feel for Japanese dishes, the beautiful gardens, and the impressive facilities at Kashoen.
I enjoy trying local food when I travel. During this trip, we went to the Marukan Building Restaurant to try their famous huge soft ice cream, which is a local favorite.
On the way back home, we stopped by Sendai Station while riding the Tohoku Shinkansen. We tried traditional hot pot cooking and more at Kurano-Syo, a place near the station that locals really like.