Hamamatsu

Hamamatsu Castle

Hamamatsu (浜松) is the largest city in Shizuoka, Japan.

Understand

An important industrial hub, the city is home to many companies, including Honda Motor Company, Roland Corporation, Kawai Pianos, Yamaha, Sony, Suzuki Motor Company and Hamamatsu Photonics as well as a large air base for Japan's defense force. Consequently, the city is well known for producing motorcycles, musical instruments and optoelectronic sensors among other things.

For its population of just under a million people, Hamamatsu is a uniquely international city. It is home to almost 16,000 Brazilians, mostly from São Paulo, Paraná, and Belém, as well as 3000 immigrants from Peru, giving it the highest per-capita concentration of South Americans in Japan. The city also has sizable immigrant populations from Indonesia, South Korea, the Philippines, China, Nepal, and Bangladesh. The ethnic diversity here provides the city with a wide array of ethnic stores, restaurants, bars and clubs.

Get in

Map of Central Hamamatsu

By plane

Geographically, the closest airport to Hamamatsu is in Shizuoka, about 30 minutes away by bus or car. However, flights there are very limited, with no service to Tokyo or Kansai and international services limited to Seoul and Shanghai.

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 and in English.

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 (NEX) from airport to Tokyo Station and transfer over to the Shinkansen. While slightly more expensive, 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 NEX 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 per hour, 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.

The Sunrise Izumo and Sunrise Seto trains make overnight stops in Hamamatsu on runs to Izumo and Takamatsu, respectively.

By car

Japan's Windy City

Hamamatsu gets little snow in winter, but it often feels much colder than it really is, thanks to what is known as the enshu-no-karakkaze, a very strong and dry wind which blows across Lake Hamana and into the city. If you come here in winter, hold onto your hat because the enshuu-karakkaze is one of the strongest urban winds in the world.

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..

Get around

Hamamatsu's Akaden

The city center is easily explored on foot, but Hamamatsu is a very sprawling place, and to visit places further out such as the Fruit Park or Kanzanji Hot Springs, you will need another form of transportation.

By car

By bus

Hamamatsu Bus Terminal is located just north of the main JR train station. Take a ticket from the machine inside the bus when you enter. The number on the ticket corresponds to the number lit up at the front of the bus, which displays the fare amount for the upcoming stop.

By train

  • Bentenjima (弁天島)
  • Maisaka (舞阪)
  • Takatsuka (高塚)
  • Hamamatsu (浜松)
  • Tenryugawa (天竜川)

See

The view of downtown Hamamatsu, seen from Act City Tower's observation deck.
  • Tower Observatory. Mon-Fri 10AM-6PM. From the observatory you can see down to the sand dunes at the shore and Lake Hamana to the west. If the weather is exceptionally clear, you can even glimpse Mount Fuji in the distance. Beneath the windows are labeled panoramic photos so you can identify the sights. Coin-operated telescopes. ¥500.
  • Chopin Monument. Erected in the rooftop park beside the tower itself is an authentic two-third-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.

Museums

Temples and shrines

Parks

  • Observation tower. 9AM-4:30PM (5PM in summer). This 50-meter tower has a covered observation deck with a nice view of the park and lake. Adults ¥300, children ¥100.

Do

A guided boat tour on the Tenryuu River.

Festivals

A Brazilian samba parade near Shin-Hamamatsu station

Buy

Unagi Pie

If you need to buy omiyage from Hamamatsu to give to Japanese friends or co-workers, the typical gift here is called unagi pai (うなぎパイ), or "eel pie". Actually more of a cookie made with eel bones, these individually-wrapped treats can be purchased at a store next to the south exit of the JR station, or at any number of pastry shops around town.

It is also possible to tour the factory where these are made, though it is necessary to make a reservation.

  •   Ichino Jusco (イオンショッピングモール市野), Tennou-cho 1981-3. The largest shopping mall in the area. A free shuttle bus runs to the mall from Kamijima and Saginomiya stations on the Akaden line.
  •   Irino Jusco (イオンショッピングモール入野), Irino-cho 6244-1 - Nishi-ku (Take bus 8-22 or 9-22 to Jusco Iriguchi - ジャスコ入口),  +81 449-2611. Smallest yet closer to downtown, this location is bit more like a large department store.
  •   Shitoro Jusco (イオンショッピングモール志都呂), Shitoro-cho 5605 - Nishi-ku (Take bus 20 to AEON Mall Shitoro Iriguchi - イオンモール志都呂入口. You will pass Irino Jusco along the way-- don't be fooled.),  +81 53-415-1200.

Eat

Local specialties

Food-wise, Hamamatsu is most famous for eel from Lake Hamana, and unagi (うなぎ) restaurants can be found all over the city. Perhaps the most famous ones are Yaotoku, popular with tourists, and Atsumi, the locals' favorite. Fresh seafood from Lake Hamana is always available. In the Maisaka/Bentenjima districts, another famous local delicacy is suppon (すっぽん), or snapping turtle. Hamamatsu has Japan's second-highest per-capita sales of gyoza as well (first prize goes to Utsunomiya). Prized locally-produced seasonal produce items include mikans, melons, persimmons, white onions, and strawberries.

Budget

Mid-range

  •   Kaji-machi 319-23 - Naka-ku (across from ZaZa City),  +81 53 450-7517.
  •   Sunayama-cho 326-1 - Naka-ku (across from the southeast corner of the central JR station),  +81 53 450-8870.
  •   Chitose-cho 104-2 - Naka-ku (next to Plaza Mall Sago on Mall-gai),  +81 53 459-1788. This location has a popular patio, good for people-watching.

Splurge

Drink

Bars and pubs

Many of the drinking establishments in town can be found on or around Yūraku-gai (有楽街), which runs vaguely north-south about 4 blocks west-northwest of the JR station. At ZaZa City shopping complex, it intersects Kajimachi-dōri (かじ町通り), which is the main street leading northwest from the station.

Clubs

Hamamatsu has a lot of options for clubbing for a city its size, though most of these are open only on the weekends. Most places do not start getting busy until after midnight.

Venues

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

Internet

Go next

Routes through Hamamatsu

Nagoya Toyohashi  W  E  Kakegawa Tokyo
Nagoya Toyohashi  W  E  Iwata Shizuoka
W Junction  W  E  Shimada Shizuoka
Nagoya Okazaki  W  E  Iwata Shizuoka
Nagoya Toyohashi  W  E  Iwata Shizuoka


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