Since this article was written, Iwate Hanamaki Airport has welcomed the addition of two regularly scheduled flights abroad – You can now use Hanamaki to travel to Taiwan or Shanghai!

I’ve been asked a few questions from visiting researchers about Iwate Hanamaki Airport, so here’s a quick tour. Iwate Hanamaki Airport, the only airport in Iwate, is an important gateway to the prefecture.

Iwate Hanamaki Airport is about one hour away by car from both Ichinoseki and Oshu cities in the ILC candidate site. Should the ILC be realized, this airport will be an important gateway to Iwate for researchers.

While there are no current connections to Europe or airports in Tokyo, there are international charter flights to Taiwan, meaning you could travel to Taiwan first from Europe or the USA, and transfer to a Hanamaki flight. Iwate Hanamaki Airport welcomes an increasing number of international tourists each year. Let’s take a look around!


Hanamaki Airport

This airport currently offers regular domestic flights to Sapporo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka, as well as international charter flights to mainly Taiwan. Inbound international charter flights to Iwate Hanamaki Airport began in 2000 ; in the past, there have been flights from (and to) Hawaii, Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong, Korea, and of course Taiwan. More and more international flights come through Iwate Hanamaki Airport every year. Last year (2017) was a new record, with 165 international flights serving almost 20,000 passengers.

Welcome group for Taiwan charter passengers including airport mascot “Hanappi,” Iwate prefecture mascot “Sobacchi,” local government and tourism officials.

Welcome group for Taiwan charter passengers.

I personally have used Iwate Hanamaki Airport twice, both on trips to Sapporo, and would jump at the chance to use it again because it’s so close to where I live in Oshu, because spending time in this airport has always been very pleasant and relaxing, and because of the amazing parking. The neighboring parking lot there can accommodate 1150 cars and is free to use!

Iwate Hanamaki Airport is working to become more and more convenient for international flights. For example, the airport offers free Wi-Fi and opened a tax-free shop on its premises. In 2016, the airport built a counter and check-in lobby for international flights and expanded its international waiting area, immigration area, and baggage claim for international passengers. Airport liners (affordable shared taxis) connect the airport to destinations such as World Heritage Site Hiraizumi, and charter flight tourists from Taiwan are also being provided with 500 yen set price taxi rides to the nearest local train station (Hanamaki Station) and bullet train station(Shin-Hanamaki Station).

Multilingual signs at the airport

Comfortable waiting lounges

Rental car companies

Thirty minutes by car from the airport is Hanamaki Hot Springs, one of the best hot springs villages in the Tohoku region. Also close by is the Edelwein winery, makers of popular Iwate wines that have won the gold in domestic and international wine competitions. A wide array of Iwate food and nature is awaiting you once you arrive at the airport.

Learn more about Hanamaki on their tourism portal website:

Shidotaira Hot Springs

Osawa Hot Springs

This airport is a lovely gateway to Iwate prefecture from within the country and increasingly from overseas. We in Oshu place great importance on Iwate Hanamaki Airport and hope it will bring even more international tourists to Iwate and someday help provide the most convenient access for researchers when the ILC is built.

Tigerair Taiwan links together Hanamaki and Taiwan