Spa Resort Hawaiians

50, Warabidaira, Fujiwaramachi,
Joban, Iwaki-shi,
Fukushima, 972-8326, Japan

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Joban Coal Mine Co., Ltd., the predecessor to Joban Kosan Co., Ltd., which is the current operator of Spa Resort Hawaiians, prospered in the era when coal was revered as “black diamonds” and was the largest coalmine on Japan’s main island of Honshu. It was a true champion of what was renowned as the nation’s core industry. From around 1960, however, the fortunes of the coalmining business steadily waned as an energy revolution began to sweep the world, marking the arrival of the age of oil. As the town was faced with the crisis of the imminent closing of the coalmine, an idea was hatched as an intrepid attempt to save jobs in the local community: the construction of a resort facility that would utilize the heat and hot water generated by the hot spring gushing up in large volumes from within the mine. This marked the beginning of the Joban Hawaiian Center (today known as Spa Resort Hawaiians). In this way, the stage was set for the opening of Japan’s very first resort facility. At a tim when restrictions on overseas travel by the Japanese public had been eased, and the “Dream Islands of Hawaii” topped the list of favored destinations, the resort was crafted in the image of the coveted island paradise.

1883 Iwaki Mining Co., Ltd. established.
1895 Iriyama Mining Co., Ltd. established.
1944 Mar. The two companies merge and become Joban Mining Co., Ltd.
1964 Sep. In an effort to transition from the coalmining business to tourism, Joban Yumoto Onsen Kanko Co., Ltd. is established. Preparations commence to open Joban Music and Dance Institute and Joban Hawaiian Center.
1965 Apr. 1 In preparation for the opening of Joban Hawaiian Center the following year, Joban Music and Dance Institute is established to train daughters of local coalminers as professional dancers. The idea is to produce a full-fledged “for Japanese by Japanese” hula show as the main attraction of the center. As an advance promotion for the opening, a traveling performance troupe tours 70 locations nationwide.
1966 Jan. 15 Joban Hawaiian Center opens as Japan’s first theme park.
1968 Dec. Joban Music and Dance Institute is sanctioned by the Governor of Fukushima Prefecture as a vocational school pursuant to the School Education Act.
1970 Jul. Joban Mining Co., Ltd. is renamed Joban Kosan Co. Ltd. and merged with Joban Yumoto Onsen Kanko Co., Ltd.
1971 Mar. Four years after the opening of the center, annual attendance tops 1.55 million guests.
1990 Mar. Joban Hawaiian Center is renamed Spa Resort Hawaiians, and a Southern-European-style hot spring facility called Spring Park opens.
1997 Oct. Edo-Jowa Yoichi, the world’s largest open-air bath (Guinness World Records), opens.
1999 Oct. ViR Port is opened to offer exercise programs utilizing the power of the local hot spring.
2001 Jul. Spa Garden Pareo, an art-themed outdoor spa that comprises four separate color zones, opens.
2006 Sep. Opening of Hula Girls, a feature-length film that depicts the launch of Joban Hawaiian Center. The film wins a huge number of Japan’s major movie industry awards in 2007.
2008 Jul. Opening of the Hula Girls stage production based on the Hula Girls story.
2011 Mar. 11 Great East Japan Earthquake strikes and the theme park is forced to suspend operation.
2011 Mar. 3 Hula Girl Nationwide Bonding Caravan begins. Carrying on the spirit of the first-generation of hula girls who rose up to revive their declining coalmining community, modern-day hula girls tour nationwide to promote disaster recovery efforts. The initiative generates a major reaction and is talked about both in Japan and abroad. The total number of performances reaches 247, and the Hula Girl Caravan is honored with the Third Japan Tourism Agency Commissioner Commendation in fiscal 2011.
2011 Oct. 1 Partial resumption of theme park operations (204 days after the Great East Japan Earthquake).
2012 Feb. 8 Grand reopening of all facilities. The main attraction, the Water Park, is remodeled, and the newly built Monolith Tower hotel offers guests a traditional “real Hawaiian” ambiance.