Photo:Cheng-en Cheng on Flickr

Kenji Miyazawa’s Fairy Tale Village in Hanamaki, Iwate

Come to Iwate to experience a colorful dreamscape of crystals and light. At the Kenji Miyazawa Fairy Tale Village, you can jump into a world befitting of fairies.

Born in Hanamaki, Iwate in 1896, Kenji Miyazawa was a writer and watercolor painter, best known for his fairytale children’s stories. He brought his passion for romanticism and Buddhist literature into his works, which can be seen in his rich, colorful language and ethical messages. Even today, his stories are used to assist the moral education of children in Japan and are loved by generations young and old. He drew inspiration from mystical visions of facing demons as well, which gave his works an ethereal and dark tone. Some speculate that classical music, such as Debussy and Wagner, influenced his poetry through the synesthesia of music to color. A cultured and curious man, his poems sprinkle various types of language from scientific jargon to Sanskrit and Esperanto. From all of this, his diverse pallet truly comes to life in this village with many different sights to see and soundscapes to behold.

To honor Kenji Miyazawa, this village was erected in 1996, 100 years after his birth, in his birth town of what is now Hanamaki, inspired by his wealth of writings. Reflecting his fairytale and Buddhist-inspired stories, visitors enter a world of multiple elements: space, sky, earth and water. The main building is called Kenji’s School, where visitors can be brought into the fairy world through videos and sounds. A collection of log houses called Kenji’s Classroom depicts magical motifs like animals and stars from his writing as well. Outside, the modern architecture and landscape feature constellations and depict the vastness of outer space.

Outside in the Fairies’ Trail, the magic continues. Visitors can weave through walnut, Japanese pear, and magnolia trees in Ihatov’s Forest and see luminous crystalline structures sprouting out of the ground. Everything and everywhere is a photo opportunity, but it’s not enough to see it through pictures. In the forest, visitors can feel the dewy fog. They can hear heavenly ambient music and see lights dancing from the treetops, all of it capturing the senses.

Further into the Fairies’ Trail, there are vibrant lake installations heavily reminiscent of Buddhist hells. Nightmarishly deep reds stain everything the eyes can see, but turn the corner and luminous teardrops lead to new exhibits. Here, the crystals become the forest themselves, sprouting up like budding flowers and even an incubating pagoda-shaped nest. 

This nest is among the largest and most complicated features of the fairytale village, glittering like a stained glass church window brought to life. Although everything in the outdoor village is best viewed after the sun sets, this installation in particular shines best when contrasted with the pitch black night. Visitors could stand entranced for hours before following a babbling brook back out through the garden and past the entrance gate again.

Upcoming Festival

This year on August 31st to September 1st, there is a special festival called the Ihatov Festival. At this festival, the fairytale village will be introduced by artists and include live performances, readings, and video screenings! Performers will be announced closer to the event and the lightup fairytale village will remain open through this festival for all to explore.

Additional Information:

  • Location: 26-19 Takamatsu, Hanamaki City, Iwate
  • Fairytale Village Dates: July 27, 2019 ~ November 10, 2019
  • Hours: Main Facility 8:30AM ~ 4:30PM (Admission until 4PM); Outside: 6PM ~ 9PM
  • Kenji School Admission: 350 yen for adults, 250 for university and high school students, 150 yen for junior high and elementary school students
  • Festival Dates and Times: August 31, 2019 ~ September 1, 2019; 4PM ~ 9PM 
    • Free admission
    • Shuttle bus from Hanamaki Station (15 min) and Shinhanamaki Station (10 min)
    • Temporary additional parking lot at Hanamaki Nitodo Memorial Hall and Yazawa baseball stadium
  • Click here for the ongoing Facebook events and details.

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