Referred to as the Riviera of Japan, the Shizuoka Prefecture is one of the best places to enjoy a wide array of activities and attractions that offer a taste of the country’s rich history, natural beauty, cultural practices, and pleasant mix of the old and the new.
Before rushing to the prefecture’s popular Mount Fuji or Izu Peninsula, tourists should also consider its many other underrated cities such as Hamamatsu – a place known to be a center of music, among other things.
Overview of Hamamatsu, Japan
The city of Hamamatsu in the Shizuoka Prefecture is considered to be an industrialized region home to manufacturers such as Kawai, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Honda. During the Edo Period, the city served as an important center for communication, given its location between the Shinano highway and Tokaido highway.
The Weather and Climate of Hamamatsu, Japan
Foreign travelers visiting the city of Hamamatsu should take note that the weather and climate for its southern and northern sections significantly vary from each other.
Southern Hamamatsu features a relatively mild climate with little to no snowfall during the winter season. However, because of Enshu no Katakaze, a term used to refer to the dry monsoon that is only experienced by the area, tourists can expect windy days and nights.
Up north, harsher climates should be expected, with hot summers reaching 35 degrees Celsius and significant amounts of winter snowfall.
The Tourist’s Guide to Hamamatsu, Japan – Attractions, Hotels, Kite Festivals, and More
The Hamamatsu Castle or Hamamatsu-jo was originally known as the Shussei Castle, which unfortunately suffered the same fate of ultimate destruction as the rest of Hamamatsu City during the World War II. It was only rebuilt during the year 1958 and now serves as a pleasant place for locals and tourists to enjoy hanami (cherry blossom viewing), given the more than three hundred cherry trees that fill the complex.
According to historical records, the Hamamatsu Castle served as the residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu for seventeen years after choosing to leave his previous headquarters at the Okazaki Castle. Afterward, he once again relocated his base from the Hamamatsu Castle to the Sumpo Castle of Shizuoka City.
At present, the castle grounds primarily serve as a charming park which houses several interesting structures and attractions such as a bronze statue of Tokugawa Ieyasu, and a small museum that showcases the life of Tokugawa Ieyasu.
There is also another museum known as the Hamamatsu City Art Museum located within the vicinity. Here, visitors may view a wide array of artworks from different local artists including Hiroshige Ando. For those looking to educate themselves on the literary preferences of the city, a visit to the Hamamatsu Literary Memorabilia Museum is highly recommended.
After exploring some or all of the things mentioned above, the complex also features a tea house called the Shoin-tei tea house for tourists to rest and enjoy some snacks and tea.
Hours: 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM, daily
Admission Fee: 150 yen per person
Address: 100-2 Motoshirocho, Naka-ku, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture 430-0946
Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments
The Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments is believed to house more than a thousand different instruments that have come from different countries across the globe. These instruments are put on display in several exhibits that represent Japan, Europe, America, Africa, Oceania, and Asia
Given that Hamamatsu is home to companies such as Kawai and Yamaha which manufacture large amounts of reed organs, among other instruments, on an international scale, the establishment of the Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instrument further strengthened the city’s role as a center for music.
Through a simple but effective system, visitors of the museum are given the chance to listen to the sounds produced by each instrument on display. To complete the experience, the museum also has several monitor stands in place which present various movies and videos of the instruments actually being played.
Hours: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM, daily
Admission Fee: 800 yen per person (for adults); 400 yen per person (for students)
Address: 3 Chome-9-1 Chuo, Naka Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture 430-0929
The Act Tower is a 213-meter tall skyscraper that stands as the tallest building in the city of Hamamatsu. It was established during the year 1994 and features a total of 45 floors, the top seventeen of which serve as the floors that make up the Okura City Hotel. At the topmost floor, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the city and beyond from a massive observation deck.
In line with the city’s title as a center for music, the architectural design of the Act Tower is meant to mimic the appearance of a harmonica.
Hours: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM, daily
Admission Fee: 500 yen per person (for adults); 300 yen per person (for students)
Address: 111-1 Itayamachi, Naka Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture 430-7790
Hamamatsu Science Museum
The Hamamatsu Science Museum is just a 7-minute was away from the JR Hamamatsu Station. Visitors can expect to be welcomed by a robot guide upon entering the complex.
Six different exhibitions make up the museum which features themes revolving around electricity, sound, energy, light, space, and nature. All these elements are presented through unique displays that require visitors to use their senses to get a better understanding of the mysteries that surround nature and science.
Among the notable attractions within the Hamamatsu Science Museum is a state-of-the-art planetarium that has a daily schedule of at least three shows about constellations and other explanations about space.
Hours: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM, from Tuesday to Sunday
Admission Fee: 500 yen per person (for adults); 350 yen per person (for students)
Address: 256-3 Kitaterajimacho, Naka Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture 430-0923
The Gosha Shrine is one of Hamamatsu’s most popular tourist destinations, particularly during the month of November when children of ages three, five, and seven go to the shrine for a purification ceremony. During the year 1960, an older shrine known as the Suwa Shrine was merged with the Gosha Shrine to form the massive complex known today.
Large dog statues welcome visitors right before the entrance of the shrine. According to Shinto beliefs, dogs serve as guardians to the shrine and the deity it is dedicated to. For the Gosha Shrine, the gods of protection and parenting are worshipped and prayed to.
Address: 302-5, Togimachi, Naka Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture 430-0937
Keisuke Kinoshita Memorial Museum
The Keisuke Kinoshita Memorial Museum, as its name suggests, is all about the popular Japanese movie director Keisuke Kinoshita. During Japan’s golden age of making films, Keisuke Kinoshita was among the best directors that actively contributed to the industry from the city of Hamamatsu.
Since he made his debut in 1943, Keisuke Kinoshita has left nearly fifty works of art for the public to discover. The goal of the Keisuke Kinoshita Memorial Museum is to promote the culture of filmmaking that was carried by the esteemed director and his colleagues in the city of Hamamatsu.
The museum features two main exhibit rooms for visitors to explore. The first room showcases the apartment of Keisuke Kinoshita which includes his actual work table, library, and ashtray, among other personal belongings. On the other hand, the second room is filled with posters of the director’s films and the many awards that he had won during his lifetime.
There is also a separate video screening room within the museum for visitors to enjoy the films produced by Keisuke Kinoshita, as well as other classic movies by different directors.
Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, from Tuesday to Sunday
Admission Fee: 100 yen per person
Address: 3-1 Sakae-machi, Naka Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture 432-8025
Accommodation Options (Hotels, Ryokans, Etc.)
Hotel Wellseason Hamanako
Rating: 9.2 out of 10
Address: 431-1209 Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Nishi-ku Kanzanjicho 1891, Japan
Rating: 9.0 out of 10
Address: 431-1209 Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Nishi-ku Kanzanji-cho 2178, Japan
Okura Act City Hamamatsu
Rating: 8.9 out of 10
Address: 430-7733 Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Naka-ku Itaya 111-2, Japan
Daiwa Roynet Hotel Hamamatsu
Rating: 8.7 out of 10
Address: 430-0927 Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Asahimachi 9-1, Japan
Richmond Hotel Hamamatsu
Rating: 8.4 out of 10
Address: 430-0946 Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Motoshiro 218-1, Japan
Hotel Sorriso Hamamatsu
Rating: 8.3 out of 10
Address: 430-0926 Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Sunayamacho 322-7, Japan
Hamanako Royal Hotel
Rating: 8.3 out of 10
Address: 431-0101 Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Nishi-ku Yutocho Yamazaki 4396-1, Japan
Hotel Route-Inn Hamamatsu
Rating: 8.3 out of 10
Address: 430-0929 Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Chuo-ku Chuo 3-10-28, Japan
Rating: 8.3 out of 10
Address: 431-1209 Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Kanzanji-cho 2214, Japan
Hotel Concorde Hamamatsu
Rating: 8.2 out of 10
Address: 430-0946 Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Nakaku Motoshirocho 109-18, Japan
Comfort Hotel Hamamatsu
Rating: 8.2 out of 10
Address: 430-0926 Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Naka-ku, Sunayama-cho 353-5, Japan
Sago Royal Hotel
Rating: 8.1 out of 10
Address: 431-1209 Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Nishi-ku Kanzanjicho 3302, Japan
Hotel Villa Kuretake
Rating: 8.0 out of 10
Address: 432-8036 Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Higashi-Iba 1-1-26 Naka-ku, Japan
Events and Festivals
Akiha Fire Festival
The Akiha Fire Festival pays tribute to Mount Akiha and the community’s belief in the mountain’s supernatural powers to protect the city from experiencing horrible fires. Different activities and ceremonies, such as fire walking and fire dances, are hosted by the Akiha Shrine and Akiha Temple during this festival.
Venue: Haruno, Tenryu Ward
Date/Duration: Month of December
The Enshu Dainenbutsu refers to Hamamatsu’s practice of providing a Buddhist chanting ritual to families who have suffered the loss of a loved one and will be commemorating their first Obon holiday (a day meant to honor the spirits of one’s ancestors).
The ritual consists of a group that starts a procession in front of the family’s house. This group is led by a person with a lantern in hand and marches on with the sounds of cymbals, drums, and flutes playing in the background.
Venue: Saigagake Museum, Hamamatsu
Date/Duration: Every 15th of July
Hamamatsu Kite Festival
The Hamamatsu Kite Festival, or simply the Hamamatsu Festival, is an annual event the city is most famous for. Its origins can be traced back around four centuries ago when the then ruler of the city celebrated the life of his first son by having countless kites flown across the sky.
Since then, the act has become a tradition of Hamamatsu in the form of a festival that consists of kite flying contests, luxurious floats, and traditional Japanese festival music.
Venue: Different wards in the city of Hamamatsu
Date/Duration: from May 3 to May 5
Hamakita Hiryu Festival
The Hamakita Hiryu Festival is dedicated to Ryujin, the god of the Tenryu River. Different legends depict Ryujin to come in the form of various animals and mythological creatures, the most common representation being a dragon. As such, the festival consists of two events known as the Hamakita Takoage and Hiryu Himatsuri – a kite flying event and a flying dragon fire event.
Venue: Hamakita Ward
Date/Duration: Month of June
Hamamatsu International Piano Competition
The Hamamatsu International Piano Competition is a grand celebration of the city’s role as a center for music. Dozens of young pianists from different parts of the world are invited to play and compete with each other at the Art City Concert Hall and Main Hall every November.
Venue: Act City Concert Hall and Main Hall
Date/Duration: Month of November
Hamakita Manyo Festival
The Hamakita Manyo Festival involves people dressing up in the traditional clothing worn by the local community during the Heian Period. The goal of the festival is to commemorate the ancient times of Japan and offer proper forms of respect to the past
Venue: Hamakita Ward, Hamamatsu
Date/Duration: Month of October
Inasa Puppet Festival
The Inasa Puppet Festival consists of about sixty performances of thirty plays that are done by esteemed puppet masters from different regions of Japan. Both children and adults can enjoy the many shows lined up for the month of November.
Venue: Inasa, Kita Ward
Date/Duration: Month of November
Princess Road Festival
The Princess Road Festival is a stunning sight to see along the Toda River during the month of April. This parade is a reenactment of the ancient times when Japanese princesses enjoyed walking through this path with their servants, maids, and samurai warriors in tow.
Venue: Hosoe, Kita Ward
Date/Duration: Month of April
Shoryu Weeping Ume Blossom Festival
The Shoryu Weeping Ume Blossom Festival takes place in the Ryusui Garden where about eighty weeping ume trees that prune in such a way that they look like dragons ascending towards heaven.
Venue: Inasa, Kita Ward
Date/Duration: from late February to late March
Basic Information about Hamamatsu, Japan - Map & Access, Transportation Systems, Airport, Etc.
The transportation railway systems that tourists can take from different parts of Japan (such as Osaka and Tokyo) to Hamamatsu and the respective train stations within the city are as follows:
Tenryu Hamanako Line
Ona, Okuhamanako, Mikkabi, Tsuzuki, Higashi-Tsuzuki, Hamanako-Sakuma, Sunza, Nishi-Kiga, Kiga, Kigakokomae, Kanasashi, Hamamatsudaigakumae, Miyakoda, Fruit Park, Miyaguchi, Gansuiji, Nishi-Kajima, Futamata-Hommachi, Tenryu-Futamata
Enshu Railway Line
Nishi-Kajima, Enshu-Gansuiji, Enshu-Shibamoto, Enshu-Kobayashi, Misono-Chuo-koen, Hamakita, Enshu-Komatsu, Enshu-Nishigasaki, Sekishi, Saginomiya, Jidosha-Gakko-Mae, Enshu-Kamijima, Enshu-Hikuma, Sukenobu, Hachiman, Enshu-Byoin, Dai-Ichi-dori, Shin-Hamamatsu
JR Iida Line
Kowada, Ozore, Misakubo, Mukaichiba, Shironishi, Aizuki, Sakuma, Chubu-Tenryu, Shimokawai, Hayase, Urakawa, Kamiichiba, Izumma
JR Tokaido Main Line
Bentenjima, Maisaka, Takatsuka, Hamamatsu, Tenryugawa
JR Tokaido Shinkansen
Alternatively, the city of Hamamatsu can also be reached by bus, particularly those that will be taking the Tomei Expressway, Shin-Tomei Expressway, or Sanen Nanshin Highway. The National Highway Route Number 1, 42, 150, 152, 257, 301, 362, and 473 also connect to Hamamatsu.
For those who want to catch a plane to the city, the nearest airport would have to be the Shizuoka Airport, which is about 43 km away from the Hamamatsu Station. The second closest is the Chubu Centrair International Airport, which is located in the Aichi Prefecture and is about 87 km west of the city.