Hanamaki officials have shown a keen interest in Garvan Woodland Gardens from its inception. The Japanese influence is easily seen in the Garden of the Pine Wind, which the Japanese named and provided design input. They also helped name and dedicate the Sunrise Bridge, and presented a pagoda sculpture to further grace the gardens.
Hanamaki Permanent Exhibit
In 2001, Hanamaki officials helped dedicate the Hanamaki Permanent Exhibit at the Hot Springs Civic & Convention Center. The museum-quality exhibit features a core sampling of contemporary Japanese folk art, as well as an authentic Deer Dancer costume, a famous symbol of Hanamaki culture. The costume was presented as a gift from Hanamaki to Hot Springs during grand opening ceremonies for the Hot Springs Convention Center in December 1998.
During the Sister City’s 20th Anniversary celebration held in October 2013, a 45-member delegation visited Hot Springs from Hanamaki. Members of the Hot Springs National Park Sister City Foundation raised funds to erect a silhouette statue of Kenji Miyazawa, a replica of a statue at the museum in Hanamaki dedicated to this famous poet’s life work. That statue can be found in front of the Hot Springs Convention Center.
In honor of the 25th Anniversary of the Sister City relationship, The City of Hanamaki gifted the people of Hot Springs a special crystal light sculpture, part of a collection of crystals created to commemorate the 120th anniversary of Kenji Miyazawa’s birth. The crystal can be found in the main concourse of the Hot Springs Convention Center.
Sister City Mural
A mural which will ultimately feature artwork representing the four seasons of the year in Hanamaki was began in 2018 by Pepe Gaka. Gaka is an Italian artist who lived in Japan for several years and has also spent a significant amount of time in Hot Springs with numerous murals that can be seen around the city. The first segment of the mural featured a winter seen of one of Hanamaki’s most famous onsen, Osawa onsen. The spring mural is one of Hanamaki’s many shrines surrounded by the beautiful sakura, cherry blossoms, in full bloom. Summer and fall additions are planned in the coming year. The mural is located at 833 Central Avenue.