You may not know Hamamatsu, but you may be familiar with many of Hamamatsu’s product. Names such as YAMAHA, KAWAI, SUZUKI, HONDA, and so many others, are well known to discerning consumers everywhere. The area’s main products include motorcycles, musical instruments, textiles, and a growing number of new, and innovative products.
Although it is an industrial city, farming, fishing and forestry still flourishes in Hamamatsu thanks to a mild climate, good soil, plenty of rain, and hard-working, inventive farmers. Our main products are fruits such as mandarin oranges and musk melons, vegetables such as celery and onions, eels, snapping turtles, and laver(seaweed), and cedar and cypress wood.
The population of Hamamatsu is over 800,000 and the area of the city is the second largest nationally. Located halfway between Tokyo and Osaka, Hamamatsu City (Hamamatsu-shi) is blessed with good geographic conditions, a mild climate and beautiful natural surroundings including rolling mountains in the north, the Pacific ocean in the south, Tenryu River in the east, and Lake Hamana in the west. Hamamatsu continues to develop as a dynamic and lively city with advanced industries and local cultures, based on the efforts of the “Yaramaika (Let’s try) Spirit”.
The Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa, who established a line of Shogun that ruled Japan during the Edo Era, built Hamamatsu Castle in 1570 when he was still a minor noble. Hamamatsu and its castle, due to their central location, were of a strategic importance, and many important battles were fought nearby. Those who became its lord later went on to important positions in the government. Hence its nickname: “The Castle of Success”.
Ever since Medieval times, Hamamatsu has been considered by most Japanese to be “in the middle of Japan” due to its equal distance from both Tokyo and Osaka. Today, more than ever, it is a vital link for the Japanese transportation industry and for other manufacturing operations. So prized is its locations, that it has been made the site of the only inland container terminal in Japan.
Hamamatsu can be reached by train on the super express Shinkansen line and Tokaido line , by car or truck on the Tomei Expressway, and benefits from an extensive infrastructure of local roads and rail lines. It is approximately two hours from both Tokyo and Osaka by train.
To the south is the Pacific Ocean and the rough surf of the Enshu Coast. To the west is Lake Hamana, which is open to the sea and has long provided an ideal location for aqua culture. To the north are the foothills of the Japanese Southern Alps, well tended producers of Cedar and other fine lumber. And to the east is the Tenryu River that provides water and hydroelectric power.
Located in the “Enshu” region of Japan, Hamamatsu is a city of more than 560,000 inhabitants, which makes the second biggest city in the Tokai area, in the middle part of Japan. The Act tower (see picture below) – the tallest building in the Tokai (212m) – is the center of the Act city, the new symbol of Hamamatsu.
Currently Hamamatsu, developed as a peoples city with strong accord between culture and industry, is creating the future through such operations as: ACT City, the Hamamatsu Area Technopolis, the Intelland Hamanako, and the Music City. “Convention City Hamamatsu” welcomes people from the world over.
What’s in Hamamatsu City (Hamamatsu-shi)
Ever since prehistoric, Hamamatsu have been a place where people come together, holding the Iba Ruins and the Shijimizuka Ruins. Shougun Ieyasu Tokugawa, who became the ruler of Japan about 400 years ago, is perhaps accountable for laying the foundation of present Hamamatsu. Young Tokugawa, before he became a Shogun, held Hamamatsu Jo (castle) as his headquarter while he aimed at conquering the country. As Tokugawa increased in power in the civil wars, the Castle Town Hamamatsu also developed.
In the Pacific War, about 50 years ago, air raids destroyed and burned the streets of Hamamatsu into ashes. But the Hamamatsu residents’ energetic vitality reconstructed the City. Today, a 45-floor-building “ACT CITY” Hamamatsu ( in the middle of Hamamatsu ) assures everyone who visits Hamamatsu of its remarkable development.
Industry and culture reside in Hamamatsu:
The industries, such as musical instrument, light automobile, motorcycle and optical electronics, have grown to lead today’s Japan¡¡enterprises. Not only is the City a manufacturer of musical instruments, it has also become a musical town. Prospective musicians perform on the streets of central Hamamatsu on weekends and holidays.
Visitors can enjoy water sports at the Lake Hamana, hot springs and many other tourist spots in the Hamamatsu area. On the coast of the Sea of Enshuu, the “Nakatajima Dune” is one of the three biggest dunes in Japan. Every May 3, 4 and 5, Hamamatsu Matsuri, a few-hundred-year-old kite festival, takes place on the Dune. During Hamamatsu Matsuri, “Goten Yatai” and people parade through central Hamamatsu at night.
Places to Visit in and around Hamamatsu City (Hamamatsu-shi)
Hamanako (Lake Hamana) Area [to the west of Hamamatsu]
Hamanako (Lake Hamana) Area is blessed with a diversity of history, nature, and today’s industry. From the Enshu Coast (Enshunada) and Lake Hamana to the mountains up the Tenryu River, there are many historic sites from the old days (late 1400s ~ late 1800s) where you can experience history. Coastal areas of Lake Hamana are popular water sport spots, and Lake Oku-Hamana is loved by people who prefer to vacation in a quiet resort.
The lake is famous for eel farming. It is also famous as a popular resort place where people can enjoy yachting, jet-skiing, bathing on the beach and collecting shells. On the lakeside is Kanzanji hot-spring and Bentenjima hot-spring where a wide variety of accommodations are available. It was a freshwater lake in ancient days. In Edo era, a seismic wave made the lake open to the sea. Since then, the seawater has flowed into the lake through ‘Imakireguchi’, the mouth the lake. Sakuma, Haruno, and other mountain villages up the Tenryu River are visited by many mountain climbers, hikers, and campers who come here to experience the magnificent nature. Hamamatsu and its vicinity, the most densely populated area in Shizuoka Prefecture, have sophisticated streets and the country’s best production plants. You may want to enjoy factory tours of various industries.
Bentenjima hot-spring (Maisaka town, Hamana district)
An island in the south of lake Hamana. The place is easy of access owing to Route 1 and Bentenjima Station on the JR line. The main streets are lined with tourist hotels. In summertime, many families come here for shell gathering.
Kanzanji hot-spring (in the west of Hamamatsu)
A drama, ‘Yunomachi Koushinkyoku’ (‘A Spa-town March’ in direct translation), had its setting in Kanzanji, which was produced in 1994 by NHK, Nihon Housou Kyoukai (Japan Broadcasting Corporation). It takes about 1 hour by bus from Hamamatsu station, about 20 minutes by car from Hamamatsu West interchange on Tomei expressway. This area offers many tourist attractions, such as a zoo, a flower park and an amusement park. A rope-way takes you to the top of Mt. Okusa where you can obtain a superb view of the whole lake Hamana.
Nakatajima Dune (to the south of Hamamatsu)
It is one of the Big three dunes in Japan. ‘Karakkaze’ (a synonym for a high dry wind in Enshu area) elaborates a great variety of beautiful patterns on the sands. It is also one of few places in the world where sea turtles lay eggs. On May 3-5, the famous Hamamatsu Kite Festival is held here. In the park adjacent to the dune is the Hamamatsu Festival Pavilion where you can experience the excitement of the festival any day.
Figure: “Act City” and “Nakatajima Dune”
ACT CITY Hamamatsu (in the middle of Hamamatsu)
The center of the cultural complex is the Act tower, the highest building (212 meters) in the Tokai area. The other amenities are music halls, the Congress Center, the Event Hall and the Musical Instrument Museum. On the roof of the music halls is a garden full of green, a perfect spot for walking. More Details: ACT City Hamamatsu
Hamamatsu Regional Technopolis
The Miyakoda area, known for its plush greenery, has new recognition as the region with ultramodern high-tech industry as well as the dwelling place for the engine of scientific research. Here this technological powerhouse together with the natural beauty of the area redefine maximization of active city development.
Offering of information on the beautiful shores of Lake Hamana, the Hamanako Institute Corporation is a research facility known for fostering the human mind. It is a unique place with superb facilities that create a comfortable environment suitable for research.
The Making of the “Music City”
Widely known for musical instruments, Hamamatsu has currently sprung up around the world as the Music City. From concerts at ACT City featuring world renown topnotch performers to the flowing music found at street shows, Hamamatsu has always been able to touch people with pleasant music.
The Castle of Hamamatsu (in the northwest of the main area)
The Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa constructed this castle in his youth. The castle is also called ‘Shusse-jyo’ (‘Castle of Promotion’ in direct translation) because, starting from this castle, Ieyasu increased his power, and eventually ruled over Japan. Its castle tower has been reconstructed after World War2. Its inside displays historical documents.
Ryugashido (Inasa town, Inasa district)
A limestone cave. Such as an big underground waterfall, many spots in the cave are worth seeing. About 1 hour by bus from Hamamatsu station.
The Site of Arai Checkpoint (Arai town, Hamana district)
One of the checkpoints on the old-time Tokaido highway. The original building remains intact only this site in Japan. Several minutes walk from Arai station on the JR line.
Ooigawa railway (Kanaya town, Haibara district)
It is famous for steam locomotive which starts from Kanaya station. You should look over the train schedule since the service runs only once in awhile. It takes about 30munites from Hamamatsu station on the JR line.
Irako Point (Atsumi town, Atsumi district, Aichi prefecture)
The head of the Atsumi Peninsula, which separates the bay of Mikawa from the Pacific Ocean. This is also a landing place for ferries go to Toba city (Mie prefecture). A local specialty is a delicious big clam. A flower park and the Koijigahama Beach are other tourist spots. The point is a two hour car ride from Hamamatsu.