A bustling seaside industrial city on Japan’s mainland, Hamamatsu is known for its production of fine musical instruments and expert motorcycles. Though not a traditional tourist hotspot, Hamamatsu does offer some enticing attractions to raise travelers’ interest as well as places to soak up the friendly local atmosphere. Hamamatsu may not be a place that sets tourists clamoring but with a few historical sites of ancient dynasties to eateries featuring yummy regional dishes, this town can surprise you in unexpected ways. So if your curiosity is piqued then you need to read on and discover the top things to do in Hamamatsu, Japan.
1. Enjoy a leisurely day of fishing by Hamana Lake
Freshwater and saltwater mix in this dark body of water called Hamana Lake. This breezy spot offers a rich variety of fish and it is particularly well known for raising hearty eels, oysters, pike conger, blowfish, great soft-shelled turtles, and fresh seaweed. So needless to say, it’s a bit of a fisherman’s oasis. In springtime, you can engage in Hamamatsu’s traditional activity of fishing by torchlight. Seasonal clam digging is also plentiful on Hamana Lake and when the sun sets over the water, it’s a very picturesque and relaxing sight.
Address: Shizuoka, Japan
Situated on the banks of Lake Hamana, The Hamanko is a hotel accommodation that you’ll never want to leave. This fine hotel features a splendid indoor hot spring bathhouse and an outdoor hot spring rock bath. Rooms are spacious and comfy and some units offer stupendous panoramic views of the lake. This luxury hotel knows how to treat its guest like royalty, boasting a top-floor French restaurant that also provides impeccable views. A handy grocery store is on the premises along with a lively karaoke bar and soothing hot sauna.
3. Stroll in colorful tulip fields at Hamamatsu Flower Park
From classic roses to delicate orchids to sturdy Mexican cacti, Hamamatsu Flower Park offers a full range of delightful floral and plant life to enjoy. The true standouts of this park, however, are the multitude - around 500,000 - of brilliant tulips that get a large amount of the attention from park guests. When it comes to Hamamatsu Flower Park’s tulips, every color of the rainbow is represented! For tulip viewing, it’s best to visit around late March to mid-May. Hamamatsu Flower Park also features lots of whimsical topiary designs and provides a train to easily get around the expansive 75-acre (30.3-hectare) facility.
Hamamatsu Flower Park
Address: 195 Kanzanjicho, Nishi Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 431-1209, Japan
Website: Hamamatsu Flower Park
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 5.64 - 9.41 USD
4. Glide over Lake Hamana on a Kanzanji Ropeway cable car
Boasting the only cable cars in Japan that travel above a lake, Kanzanji Ropeway cable car is equally thrilling and calming. Stretching 2,372 feet (723 meters) across Lake Hamana, Kanzanji Ropeway affords riders the pleasure of a tranquil four-minute cruise through the air. Admire panoramic views of Hamamatsu cityscape. In the distance, you can view the grandness of Mount Okusa and the vastness of the Pacific Ocean as you coast high above the lake. The feeling of exhilaration is endless aboard one of these safe and secure cable cars.
Address: 1891 Kanzanjicho, Nishi Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 431-1202, Japan
Website: Kanzanji Ropeway
Opening hours: 9am - 5:30pm (daily)
Price: 3.87 - 7.70 USD
An absolute divine spot to relax and rejuvenate is Kanzanji Sago Royal Hotel. A traditional Japanese inn, Kanzanji Sago Royal Hotel offers the utmost in comfort. Tension and stress simply melt away when you step into soothing rooftop open-air onsens that overlook Lake Hamana. Other amenities for your enjoyment are a seasonal outdoor pool and on-site bike rentals. Every air-conditioned room features a top-notch flat-screen satellite TV, a handy kettle, and a pristine private bathroom supplied with comfy slippers and fragrant complimentary toiletries.
6. Leave a good-luck charm at Kanzanji Temple
Surrounded by lots of natural beauty, Kanzanji Temple is a historic Buddhist temple constructed as far back as the year 810. Its long, fascinating history is as striking as the beautiful natural red-quartz rock formations it showcases. A sense of serenity envelopes this ancient structure that has inspired many Japanese poets. If searching for your soul mate, many come here to offer charms in the hope of falling in love. In the immediate area, there’s a wonderful scenic footpath that allows visitors to stroll around the lovely Hamana Lake.
Address: 2231 Kanzanjicho, Nishi Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 431-1209, Japan
Website: Kanzanji Temple
7. Relax in the tranquil gardens of Ryotanji Temple
Displaying a harmonious and calm ambiance, Ryotanji Temple is a real treat when it comes to the ultimate place to escape the hectic energy of city life. The grounds of this temple boast a network of pathways, lots of lush greenery, pretty cherry blossoms, and other blooming trees and plants. With a famous Zen garden that boasts an eye-catching dragon-shaped pond and distinct hallway boards that emanate lulling birdlike chirping sounds, Ryotanji Temple exudes a magical feel. It’s not surprising this ancient temple is one of the stellar Japanese gardens in Hamamatsu.
Address: Iitani-1989 Kita Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 431-2212, Japan
Website: Ryotanji Temple
Price: 3.76 USD
8. Visit the Unagi Pie Factory
A popular and healthy snack called unagi is made at the Unagi Pie Factory. A self-guided tour is offered, which includes delicious samplings of this snack made from eel extract. A nice gift shop filled with souvenirs and ample supplies of the flavorful treat is on the premises. The eel-flavored cookie is a crowd-pleaser throughout Japan and even has a few converts among foreigner tourists. An on-site cafeteria serves this treat in eye-popping presentations. Try the unagi with strawberries and cream paired with a cup of green tea for a tasty combination.
Unagi Pie Factory
Address: 748-51 Okubocho, Nishi Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 432-8006, Japan
Website: Unagi Pie Factory
Opening hours: 9:30am - 5:30pm (daily)
9. Savor fresh shirasu sardines at the Maisaka Enbai Morning Market
If you’re in the mood for fresh shirasu sardines then the ultimate place to satisfy your craving is Maisaka Enbai Morning Market. The port of Maisaka is considered one of the top spots for fishing for this baby sardine delicacy. You can find shirasu prepared in a variety of delectable ways at the Maisaka Enbai Morning Market: shirasu tempura, crunchy shirasu fritters, and Maisaka kaori-yaki - a tempting pancake blended with shirasu. Shirasu is extremely versatile in Japanese cooking and what’s available at this popular market only proves the point.
Maisaka Enbai Morning Market
Address: 2119-38 Maisakacho Maisaka, Nishi Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 431-0211, Japan
Website: Maisaka Enbai Morning Market
Opening hours: 7am - 10pm (third Sat of the month)
10. Pick juicy Japanese mandarin oranges at Hamamatsu Fruit Park
Spend a wonderful time picking fresh fruit at Hamamatsu Fruit Park. Opt for traditional products like cherries, strawberries, and, of course, luscious mandarin oranges or go for rarer items such as figs and akebi - a purple-hued chocolate vine. Hamamatsu Fruit Park makes fruit picking an adventuresome diversion for the entire family. This fruit-themed agricultural park harvests around 15 types of seasonal fruit every year and the expansive orchard is nine times the size of the Tokyo Dome - a structure that holds 55,000 people! If orange picking is your preference then from October to December is the time to visit.
Hamamatsu Fruit Park
Address: 4263-1 Miyakodacho, Kita Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 431-2102, Japan
Website: Hamamatsu Fruit Park
Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)
11. Sample local honey at Nagasaka Apiary in Hamanako Lakeside Plaza
Nagasaka Apiary is a top-notch honey store in Hamanako Lakeside Plaza that features scrumptious seasonal local honey and a bee mascot who’s sure to get the kids’ attention. Visitors can enjoy tasting samples and watch live bees buzzing about while going to and from beehives arranged in the courtyard of this establishment. The moment you step inside, you can get a whiff of the sweet smell of honey and you are greeted by the gracious staff. Nagasaka Apiary offers many flavors of honey and the honey bread is a very popular item, so don’t forget to buy a loaf on the way out.
Address: 97-1 Mikkabicho Shimoona, Kita Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 431-1424, Japan
Website: Nagasaka Apiary
Opening hours: Thu - Tue: 9am - 6pm (closed on Wed)
12. Explore Japan on the Tenryu Hamanako Railroad train
Known to locals as the Tenhama Line, Tenryu Hamanako Railroad is a classic rail line that’s been chugging along the north coast of Lake Hamana since 1935. Replete with a vintage-era feel, this train runs a length of 41.6 miles (67 kilometers). Within Hamamatsu, the rail passes through 19 stations and along the way passengers can enjoy a leisurely ride and drink in some of Japan’s choice terrain. The changes of seasons only enhance the beautiful landscape. Admire vibrant red spider lilies sprouting beside the tracks in Autumn and look for cherry trees with their pretty pink blossoms blanketing the area in Spring.
Tenryu Hamanako Railroad
Website: Tenryu Hamanako Railroad
13. Tour the historic Hamamatsu Castle
Located in Hamamatsujo Park, Hamamatsu Castle was formerly the home of the first shogun of the Edo Shogunate, Ieyasu Tokugawa. With its ornate Hirayama-style architecture, this manor is a true attention grabber. Climb the observation tower of this four-level structure and get great views of Hamamatsu and even as far away as Mount Fuji when the weather is clear! As a bonus, Hamamatsu Castle is one of the top spots in the country to enjoy cherry blossoms, possessing about 370 cherry trees on the grounds! This area is also a splendid place to have a laid-back afternoon picnic.
Address: 100-2 Motoshirocho, Naka Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 430-0946, Japan
Website: Hamamatsu Castle
Opening hours: 8:30am - 4:30pm (daily)
Price: 1.88 USD
14. Explore the grounds of Gosha Shrine/Suwa Shrine
With two imposing dog-shaped statues guarding the entrance, Gosha Shrine/Suwa Shrine is a temple dedicated to the deities Gosha and Suwa: the god of the land and the god of parenting or babysitting, respectively. The treasures at this site are intriguing. There’s a Shinto water purification pavilion, lovely hand-cut stones, and the beautifully outstanding Unateri-nomitama monument. This shrine is popular in November when parents dress their young children in colorful kimonos or their best dresses and take them to the shrine for a Shinto cleansing ceremony.
Gosha Shrine/Suwa Shrine
Address: 302-5 Togimachi, Naka Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 430-0937, Japan
Website: Gosha Shrine/Suwa Shrine
15. Check out diverse instruments at Hamamatsu City Museum of Musical Instruments
Boasting 1,300 various instruments from around the globe, Hamamatsu City Museum of Musical Instruments is a musician’s paradise. The only public musical instrument museum in Japan, this attraction opened its doors in 1995 and it is committed to enriching people’s lives through music. The first floor houses instruments from Japan and the rest of Asia while other levels display instruments from far-off countries such as Africa, South America, Europe, and more. This museum strives to be a hands-on experience so visitors are welcome to play an American banjo or a Mongolian batokin.
Hamamatsu City Museum of Musical Instruments
Address: 3 Chome-9-1 Central, Naka Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 430-0929, Japan
Opening hours: 9:30am - 5:30pm (daily)
Price: 7.51 USD
16. Learn about Suzuki's history at the Suzuki History Museum
Since worldwide brands like Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki originated from Hamamatsu, it’s fitting that there’s the Suzuki History Museum to showcase such an immeasurable successful story. This three-level museum traces the history of Suzuki’s automobiles as well as motorcycles. Get an intimate glimpse at the entire Suzuki car-building experience from inception to completion. Enjoy informative exhibits and close-up views of a modern car production line. Automobile aficionados will truly appreciate the in-depth information provided at the Suzuki History Museum.
Suzuki History Museum
Address: 1301 Zoracho, Minami Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 432-8062, Japan
Website: Suzuki History Museum
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 9am - 4:30pm (closed on Mon)
17. Board a fighter plane at Airpark JASDF Hamamatsu Air Base Museum
For flight fans, Airpark JASDF Hamamatsu Air Base Museum has to be the top attraction in Hamamatsu. An expert flight simulator puts you on the pilot’s seat and gives you the feel of a true fighter pilot experience. The display hanger will make your jaw drop with a platoon of excellent planes, fighter jets, and helicopters. You can even sit in some of the machinery. There’s also a very cool post World War II military aircraft collection. Don’t pass up the opportunity to try on a flight suit and have a commemorative picture taken. The suits even come in smaller sizes so little ones can join in on the thrills.
Airpark JASDF Hamamatsu Air Base Museum
Address: Nishiyamacho, Nishi-ku Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 432-8551, Japan
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 9am - 4pm (closed on Mon)
18. Chow down on savory eel at Unamasa
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Hamamatsu is famous for its eels and is, in fact, the top supplier of eels throughout Japan. So it’s no surprise many food establishments have some form of eel dish on their menus. However, the restaurant Unamasa is a cut above when it comes to this regional delicacy, offering freshwater eel that attracts a loyal following of patrons. Prepared fresh daily, eel entrees are usually broiled and served on a bed of fluffy rice. Pair your eel with a glass of rich flavorful sake and you have the makings of a delightful meal.
Address: 467-4 Mikataharacho, Kita Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 433-8105, Japan
Opening hours: Mon: 11am - 2:30pm, 5pm - 7:30pm; Tue: 11am - 2:30pm; Thu - Sun: 11am - 2:30pm, 5pm - 7:30pm (closed on Wed)
19. Stuff yourself with gyoza dumplings at Gyoza Mutsugiku
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Served at more than 300 eateries throughout Hamamatsu, these Chinese dumplings called gyoza are a genuine treat and shouldn’t be skipped when visiting Hamamatsu. And nobody prepares the dumplings better than Gyoza Mutsugiku eatery. In fact, they’re the best gyoza you’ll ever taste: just the right amount of crispy on the outside and warm, soft, and luscious on the inside. The main ingredients are a delicious mixture of salty minced pork, cabbage, and onions with a handful of fresh bean sprouts on top. This basic combination of ingredients creates an out-of-this-world flavor. Plan to come hungry so you can savor more than one plate.
Address: 356-5 Sunayamacho, Naka Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 430-0926, Japan
Website: Gyoza Mutsugiku
Opening hours: Sun: 11:30am - 1:30pm, 5pm - 9pm; Mon - Sat: 11:30am - 2:30pm, 5pm - 9:30pm
Hamamatsu Hotel is an in-demand accommodation and one reason could be because of its wonderful all-you-can-eat curry. For curry lovers, this centrally located hotel is the prime place to be. Hamamatsu Hotel hosts curry nights so guests can indulge in free curry and rice service at dinnertime. In addition, the staff is warm and friendly offering a complimentary welcome drink upon your arrival. The overall experience at Hamamatsu Hotel is comfortable and affordable. As well as curry delights, this lodging also serves a free buffet breakfast that’s very satisfying and certain to get you going in the morning.
21. Explore the famous tea fields of Shizuoka
The sight of Shizuoka Prefecture and its wondrous green tea fields are unmatched. With rows of lush green tea meadows as far as the eye can see and set against the backdrop of majestic Mount Fuji, the scenery of this area is unforgettable. Home to the finest tea in the world, Shizuoka Prefecture is the biggest tea-producing region in Japan and green tea is an item that’s been prized throughout the country’s history. This green-tea plantation is historic and worth exploring. If you’re not a tea fan, you’ll at least be rewarded with some of the most awesome sights of Mount Fuji!
Website: Shizuoka Prefecture
22. Marvel at the Nakatajima Sand Dunes
One of the three largest sand dunes in the country, Nakatajima Sand Dunes is a sandy attraction for top-notch recreation. Extending 2.48 miles (4 kilometers) from east to west, this inviting area is great for kite flying, squishing your toes in the soft warm sand during nice walks, bike riding, and much more. Actually, a peak time to visit is during the Hamamatsu Kite Festival. It’s quite a sight to see an array of colorful kites against the clear blue sky. But the true highlight of a visit to Nakatajima Sand Dunes is the simple pleasure of watching the delicate wind patterns created on the dunes: it’s an enchanting way to pass the time.
Nakatajima Sand Dunes
Address: 1313 Nakatajimacho, Minami Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 430-0845, Japan
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
23. Enjoy a breezy beach day on Bentenjima Beach
With Hamamatsu in close proximity to the water, it seems like a crime not to spend a relaxing day at the beach. Bentenjima Beach provides a nice sand and sea playground. With bright sunny skies, sparkling blue water, and tall swaying palm trees, Bentenjima Beach oozes a seductive tropical vibe. This beach is easily identified by the prominent bright red torii, or gate, that stands 59 feet (18 meters) on the water and is a popular spot to snap pictures at sunset. Calm waves and a seaside park with an aquarium make this serene beach a premier spot for families with young children.
Address: Maisakacho Bentenjima, Nishi Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 431-0214, Japan
Website: Bentenjima Beach
Price: 3.85 USD (parking)
An ensemble of exciting attractions
Hamamatsu’s past relied on three main industries for prosperity: fast motorcycles, melodic musical instruments, and essential textiles. Today, this city continues to thrive and it has a wonderful ensemble of exciting attractions, tasty regional cuisines, and beautiful scenery to draw travelers to its shores. If you’re searching for tasty eel, gorgeous flowers, and fruits bursting with flavor, including Hamamatsu in your travel plans is the only way to go.
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