This article was written by the Morioka Regional Promotion Bureau of the Iwate Prefectural Government, and translated by Amanda Wayama.

The novel coronavirus is spreading throughout the entire world. It’s a scary time, but we hope for everyone to stay safe, and for everything to calm down as soon as possible. In the meantime, we’d like to continue sharing the beauty of the Tohoku region and the candidate site in the Kitakami mountains for the ILC in hopes that our readers will get to come someday.

From mid-April to the beginning of June, the Hachimantai area comes alive!!

Hachimantai is a city in northern Iwate where you can experience both cherry blossoms and something called the Snow Corridor at the same time during mid-April to mid-May. The Snow Corridor is the name of a road running through the Hachimantai Aspite Line and Hachimantai Jukai Line that is flanked by tall walls of snow. Plows clear away the winter snow so that cars can drive through the mountains without snow-tires. Sometimes road conditions prevent passage through the mountains, so you’ll need to check the Hachimantai Tourism Association’s homepage before you go. (They post info on when the road opens for the year as well as road conditions)


Once you pass through the snow corridor, you’ll be able to enjoy cherry blossoms which will be in bloom starting from the base of the mountain. This is a fantastic opportunity that you can only experience right here, only at this time of year!

This year the roads will open on:

-Hachimantai Aspite Line: April 15 (Wed) 10 am

-Hachimantai Jukai Line: April 24 (Fri) 10 am

There’s one more spot in Hachimantai that you can only see once a year. From late May to the beginning of June, you’ll be able to see something called the Hachimantai Dragon Eye. Right near the top of Mount Hachimantai is a mirror-like pond that is covered with snow during the winter. As the weather gets warmer, the snow melts in a way that looks like the eye of giant dragon. Every year, people come from all over the world to see the Dragon Eye.

However, you can only see this beautiful emerald green Dragon Eye for a few days each year, and even then, only when conditions are perfect (good weather, the snow melts at a certain rate, etc). If you ever get a chance to see it, know that you’ve been blessed with good fortune.

This photo was taken near the end of May 2019. It’s kind of mysterious, seeing this humongous eye appear in the middle of this vast natural setting. We recommend you visit in the morning.

Check out the final photograph⇒

After checking out the Dragon Eye, why not stay out for a bit longer? You can trek through Hachimantai to enjoy the last of the snow. There are a lot of little ponds besides the Dragon Eye, and once the snow melts you’ll be able to see little flowers bursting through the soil – a perfect spring-time walk. The course is about an hour long, so you’ll get some good exercise, but remember to bring some cold-weather gear and rubber boots.

There are even some people who go on to hike Mount Iwate after seeing the Dragon Eye. This entire area is chock full of ways to spend time in the great outdoors.

After seeing the Dragon Eye, you’ll want to warm up with a nice soak in a hot springs facility, right? Nearby you’ll find hot springs like Toshichi Onsen and Matsukawa Onsen where you can relax your sore muscles in a natural hot spring.

You can have fun just visiting the different hot springs in the area.

Source: (Matsukawa Onsen “Shofuso”)

Source: (Matsukawa Onsen “Shofuso”)

How to get to the Dragon Eye

〇From the Tohoku Expressway, take the Matsuo-Hachimantai IC exit, and drive another 40 minutes to reach the top of Hachimantai.

〇From JR Morioka Station, you can take a bus to the top of Hachimantai (takes about 2 hours).

〇From Hachimantai Chojo Rest House, it’s about a 15 minute walk to the Dragon Eye.

For more details, check out the following page:

Hachimantai Tourism Association:



新型コロナウィルスの影響が全世界に広がっています。 皆さんに安心して東北、北上サイトに来ていただけるようになった時のために、「THE KITAKAMI TIMES」はこれからも北上サイトの情報を発信します。