HAMAMATSU

Hamamatsu Japan Travel Guide - Hamamatsu attractions including Hamamatsu Castle, Hamamatsu Hotels, Hamamatsu pictures and Hamamatsu to Sendai.

Hamamatsu is a city located in western Shizuoka Prefecture, Chubu, Japan, and is the largest city in the prefecture. Hamamatsu is famous for its eel and eel pies. Hamamatsu is an important industrial hub, the city is home to many companies, including Honda Motor Company, Kawai Pianos, Yamaha, Sony, Suzuki Motor Company and Hamamatsu Photonics as well as a large air base for Japan's defence force. Consequently, the city is well known for producing motorcycles, musical instruments and optoelectronic sensors among other things.

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For its population of 818,197 (July 2006 figures), Hamamatsu is a uniquely international city. It is home to almost 19,000 Brazilians and 3,000 Peruvians, giving it the highest per-capita concentration of South Americans in Japan. The city also has sizable Indonesian, Korean, Filipino, Chinese, and Nepalese populations. The ethnic diversity here provides the city with a wide array of ethnic stores, restaurants, bars and clubs.

Hamamatsu Attractions

Act City Tower Observatory
Hamamatsu's only skyscraper, situated next to JR station, is a symbol of the city. It's design is supposed to resemble a harmonica, a reminder that Hamamatsu is sometimes known as the "City of Music". The building houses shopping and a food court, the Okura Hotel, and an observatory on the 45th floor from which you can see all of central Hamamatsu, even down to the sand dunes at the shore. If the weather is exceptionally clear, you can even glimpse Mount Fuji in the distance. The observatory is open Monday through Friday from 10:00am until 6:00pm. Admission is 500 yen.

Chopin Monument
This is an authentic 1:1-scale replica of the famous Art Nouveau bronze statue of Chopin by the famed artist Wacław Szymanowski. The original is in Hamamatsu's sister city, Warsaw.

Hamamatsu Castle

Hamamatsu Castle Park stretches from the modern city hall building to the north. This Japanese castle is located on a hill in the southeast corner of the park, nearest city hall. It was built by Ieyasu Tokugawa, who is considered perhaps the greatest shogun and one of the three people most important to the unification of Japan. His rule marks the beginning of the Edo Period. Tokugawa lived here from 1571 to 1588. After the Edo Period, the castle was destroyed, and was restored in 1958. There is a small museum inside, which costs 200 yen to enter, and which houses some armour and other relics of Tokugawa as well as a miniature model of how the city might have looked 400 years ago. North of the castle is a very big park with a Japanese garden, a koi pond, a ceremonial teahouse, and some commons areas. Buses 36, 40, 41, and 50, among others stop in front of city hall (市役所前).

Hamamastu Castle
Hamamastu Castle (Picture by  Texugo)

Hamamatsu Flower Park
Hamamatsu Flower Park has its own stop on the Kanzanji bus line from terminal 1 at the main bus station. Open 9 AM to 5 PM. Closed from Dec. 29 to Jan. 1. This beautiful park has many gardens full of a variety of flowers. There is also a restaurant and shopping area. Admission ¥700.

Hamamatsu Fruit Park
Has its own stop on the "Miyakoda Keiyu Fruit Park Iki" bus line from terminal 16 at the main bus station. Open 9 AM to 5 PM. Closed from Dec. 29 to Jan. 1(closes at 16:30 from October through April) This unique amusement park is a working fruit farm where you can see, touch, taste, and pick a variety of fruits. Admission ¥700.

Hamamatsu Municipal Zoo

Miyakoda Hiking Course
This "19 km hiking trail" is actually a route on the roads through the area. While quite confusing to the non-Japanese speaker, it does take one past Washizawa Cave, winds up the mountains to a lookout, a temple, bridges, and waterfall. A new highway being built across this area seems to have altered some roads and creates for a challenge in route-finding. Be prepared to trek 25-30 km as the 19 km length assumes one does not get lost. Take the Enshu Railroad to Nishikajima station (460 yen one way). Transfer to the Tenryu-Hamanko Railroad which leaves hourly at 35 minutes after the hour and take that to Miyakoda station (360 yen one way). Once at Miyakoda station look for a signpost showing the hiking route, these will be at most major intersections on the route.

Nakatajima Sand Dunes (中田島砂丘).

Hamamatsu Art Museum
Just one stop up the road from city hall is Hamamatsu's art museum. Exhibits vary. The bus stop is called bijutsukan (美術館).

Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments
108-1 Itaya-machi, Tel. 053-451-1128. This museum, just northeast of Act City Tower, houses a collection of over 2,000 kinds of ethnic instruments from around the world. Each instrument has a display attached, with headphones so you can listen to the sound of the instrument. The museum also has a hands-on room, where you can play many types of instruments; drums, xylophones, sitars and native Japanese instruments. This is a child friendly museum. Admission ¥400
 
Air Park
This museum is on the airbase near Takaoka-cho and displays some aircrafts and other items. It also has a flight simulator and a theatre. Closed Mondays. Admission free.

Hamamatsu Festivals

Shoryu Weeping Plum Blossom Festival - February/March
Princess Road Festival - April
Hamamatsu Festival - early May - This 400-plus-year-old festival is famous throughout Japan. In what is known as the Takoage Gassen, every neighborhood in the city and even some from other cities design and make their own kites to fly and to fight near Nakatajima Sand Dunes. There are parades all over the city well into the night, in which children playing various instruments are carried in large ornate parade floats. Everywhere there are groups marching and chanting to the sound of trumpets, and the sake flows freely.

Hamakita Hiryu Festival - June
Enshu Dainenbutsu (Buddhist Chanting Ritual) - July 15
Hamakita Manyo Festival - October
Inasa Puppet Festival - November
Akiha Fire Festival - December
Hanabi Taikai - There are many fireworks displays in the area during the summer. The largest of these is Fukuroi Enshu no Hanabi held in Fukuroi, a small town a few stops east on the JR line. This celebration in early August is one of the largest fireworks displays in Japan, with over 30,000 fireworks. Within Hamamatsu city limits, there are also impressive hanabi taikais in Bentenjima (late June), Kanzanji (late July), and Tenryu (early August).

There are also various festivals and performance to celebrate the Japanese-Brazilian heritage that is so prevalent in this area.

Getting to Hamamatsu

By plane
From Chubu International Airport, Entetsu operates a bus called E-Wing, which runs directly to Hamamatsu. Buses depart the airport once per hour (00 minutes past in the morning, 45 minutes past in the afternoon) and reach Hamamatsu station in two hours (¥3000). Schedule in Japanese

From Narita International Airport, when exiting customs take the Airport Limousine Bus (¥3000) to Tokyo station and then purchase a ticket on the JR Tokeido Shinkansen line to Hamamatsu Station (about ¥8000). It is the 5th stop on the express train from Tokyo station and takes about 1 1/2 hours. Alternatively, take the Narita Express Train (NXT) from airport to Tokyo station and transfer over to the Shinkansen. The upside to this is that you can purchase both train tickets from the one vendor (located at the same counter as the Airport Limousine Bus), and the NXT puts you right into Tokyo station.

By train
Hamamatsu is situated on both the Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and the JR Tokaido Line, which serve major cities like Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.

There are a handful of Hikari and Kodama services that stop in Hamamatsu. From Tokyo, there are two all-stopping Kodama trains that depart every hour, making the run to Hamamatsu in about 2 hours. Faster Hikari trains depart once every 1-2 hours, running to Hamamatsu in 90 minutes. The fare is the same for both, at ¥8070 for a reserved seat.

There are hourly departures to Hamamatsu from Osaka and Kyoto on either a Hikari (90 minutes from Osaka) or Kodama (2 hours from Osaka) service. The reserved seat fare is ¥8700 from Shin-Osaka and ¥8070 from Kyoto.

If you wish to sacrifice travel speed for savings, you can take advantage of the Puratto Kodama Ticket (in Japanese), which offers a discount for Kodama services if you purchase at least one day in advance. You get a reserved seat and a free drink on board. With this ticket a trip to Hamamatsu costs ¥6300 from Tokyo (2 hours), ¥3500 from Nagoya (50 minutes), ¥6300 from Kyoto (1 3/4 hours) and ¥6800 from Shin-Osaka (2 hours). Kodama trains run once an hour from Shin-Osaka and Kyoto; twice per hour from the other cities. A few early-morning Kodama trains cannot be used with this ticket.

Regular local train services on the Tokaido Line will get you from Tokyo to Hamamatsu in approximately 4-5 hours for ¥4310 with at least one change of trains required. From Osaka, it takes around the same amount of time for ¥4940 with several train changes required.

Train service from Nagoya take as little as 1 hour 40 minutes on the regular Tokaido Line (¥1890), changing at Toyohashi, or as little as 30 minutes on the Shinkansen (¥4810).

All of the above train services are free with a Japan Rail Pass.

Hamamatsu serves as a stop on the Hayabusa and Fuji overnight train services to and from Kumamoto and Oita, respectively. The Sunrise Izumo and Sunrise Seto trains make overnight stops in Hamamatsu on runs to Izumoshi and Takamatsu.

By car
The Tomei Expressway, the main artery through the Chubu region, also bisects the city.

By bus
Hamamatsu serves as a major stop for bus travel throughout the country, thanks in large part to its location near the Tomei Expressway artery. Through buses may stop at the Hamamatsu Kita interchange of the expressway, a good distance from Hamamatsu station.

To/From Tokyo
There are six daily JR Tomei Liner buses that run from Tokyo to Hamamatsu Station (about 4 - 4 1/2 hours, ¥3770). Most of the runs are to Tokyo earlier in the day, and from Tokyo late in the day.

To/From Kyoto
JR Tokai Bus runs one daily round-trip bus between Hamamatsu and Kyoto via the Meishin Expressway. The trip takes about 4 1/4 hours and costs ¥6200 one way. As of October 2006, the bus leaves Hamamatsu at 8:00, and the return bus leaves Kyoto at 16:30.

(Article based on Wikitravel article by Based on work by Wikitravel user(s)Texugo. Based on work by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others. Article used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0.)

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