Easy Access from Tokyo and Nagoya! A Trip to Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture: Sights, Food, Hot Springs, and More!

Shizuoka Prefecture might mainly be known for Mt. Fuji or Gotemba, but in its western part, you’ll also find the city of Hamamatsu, which we believe is well worth a visit. Hamamatsu highlights include Lake Hamana, which delights people all year round with its natural beauty; the Nakatajima Sand Dunes, one of the three most famous sand dunes in all of Japan; and the Hamamatsu Flower Park, which offers different but equally beautiful scenery with each season. Visitors to Hamamatsu can also relax their body and mind at Kanzanji Onsen (hot spring) or feast on the city’s famous unagi (freshwater eels), Hamamatsu-style gyoza (fried dumplings), or the uniquely-named snack “Unagi Pie.” In this article, we’ll discuss the best tourist spots to visit and dishes to sample during a trip to this enchanted part of Shizuoka.

About Hamamatsu

Hamamatsu connects western and eastern Japan. To the west of it lies Nagoya, with Tokyo not being too far to its east. Because of its proximity to these large cities, Hamamatsu prospered as a castle town and a Tokaido highway post town during the Edo Period (1603 – 1868).

Today, Hamamatsu’s claim to fame is the fact that famous Japanese corporations like Suzuki, HONDA, and Yamaha were founded and grown in the city. But industry isn’t everything that Hamamatsu is about. Because of its mild climate, it’s also a popular tourist destination, offering such attractions as Lake Hamana, the Kanzanji Ropeway, the Nakatajima Sand Dunes, or the Yamaha INNOVATION ROAD Corporate Museum. With all these and more, it’s easy to see why Hamamatsu keeps attracting visitors from all over the world.

Access to Hamamatsu

Because Hamamatsu is located almost exactly at the border between eastern and western Japan, it can be reached from both Nagoya Station (30 minutes by shinkansen) or Tokyo Station (90 minutes by shinkansen). To get around the city, we recommend you get the one-day Entetsu bus and railway pass, called the “Enshu Railway Burari Rail Pass.” You can also rent a bicycle and bike around Lake Hamana.

Shinkansen

・From Tokyo Station to Hamamatsu Station on the Tokaido Shinkansen line: 90 minutes, 8,640 yen/person
・From Nagoya Station to Hamamatsu Station on the Tokaido Shinkansen line: 30 minutes, 5,240 yen/person

Bus

・From Chubu Centrair International Airport to Hamamatsu Station: 135 minutes, 3,200 yen/person

*For more information, check the Entetsu Express Airport Bus e-wing website: https://bus.entetsu.co.jp/e-wing/ (Japanese), https://www.inhamamatsu.com/recommend/ewing.php (English)

How to Reach Hamamatsu’s Tourist Spots for the Best Price

Bus and Train

・1-Day Enshu Railway Burari Rail Pass

PriceAdults: 1,570 yen, Children: 790 yen*Half price for those with physical disabilities.
ValidityEntetsu buses (excluding e-wing and e-LineR), Trains (all lines)
Where to BuyHamamatsu Station Bus Terminal ticket center, Shin-Hamamatsu Station, railway service offices, Nishi-Kajima Station
Website (Japanese)https://bus.entetsu.co.jp/ticket/coupon/index.html

Rental Bicycle

・YURIN

PriceAdults: 520 yen, Students (elementary school or younger): 310 yen*All rentals require a 1,000 yen/person deposit, payable back upon the bike’s return
Rental SpotsMikkabi Station Terminal, Kiga Station Terminal, Kanzanji Terminal, Nagisa-en (Nagisa Garden) Terminal, Bentenjima Seaside Park Terminal, Araimachi Station West Terminal, Kaikokan Terminal*Regular bicycles, electric bicycles, and e-bikes available. For operating hours and prices, please consult each location’s website.*Service is liable to change due to the condition or number of available bicycles.
How to RentGo to the terminal and fill out a rental form. You also have to submit a form of personal identity verification (passport, driver’s license, health insurance card, student card, bank card, etc).
Hamanako Cycle Tourism (Japanese)http://www.hamanako-ct.jp/
Hamanako Cycle Tourism (English)http://www.hamanako-ct.jp/en/
Hamanako Cycle Tourism (Traditional Chinese)http://www.hamanako-ct.jp/chi/
YURINhttps://www.inhamamatsu.com/japanese/activity/hamanako-cycling-road.php

Tourist Spots That Show Off Hamamatsu’s Seasonal Beauty

Nakatajima Sand Dunes: Where Nature Draws Wind Patterns in the Sand

Together with the ones in Tottori and Kagoshima’s Fukiagehama, the Nakatajima Sand Dunes are one of Japan’s most famous natural sand formations. Stretching 4 km from east to west, they create an unobstructed world of emptiness that blends beautifully with the seemingly endless Pacific Ocean.

When the sea breeze sweeps across the banks of Hamamatsu, it draws ripples in the sand, creating stunning pieces of natural art.

The dunes are also a popular spot for enjoying Hamamatsu’s sunrises and sunsets.

Additionally, every year between May 3 and 5, the city throws the Hamamatsu Festival, the highlight of which are the kite battles held over the Nakatajima Sand Dunes. The impressive large kites are all decorated in their own unique way and create quite a sight against the clear May skies. The hot fervor of the battling kites really raises the spirits of the locals and is something to look forward to every year.

NameNakatajima Sand Dunes
AddressNakatajima-cho, Minami-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka 静岡県浜松市南区中田島町
Access15-minute Entetsu bus ride (bound for Nakatajima) from Hamamatsu Station, then a 4-minute walk from the Nakatajima Sakyu bus stop

Ride the Kanzanji Ropeway Across Lake Hamana and Feast Your Eyes and Ears at the Hamanako Orgel Museum

A symbol of Hamamatsu, Lake Hamana is a Pacific Ocean-fed brackish lake that covers an area of 65 million square meters. In 2016, it was chosen as the sister lake of the Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County, Taiwan. Lake Hamana offers something different depending on the season. In spring, you can admire the cherry trees growing around it. In summer, it becomes an oasis of green, and in autumn, you can enjoy its maple trees. You can view this scenery from a sightseeing boat or the Kanzanji Ropeway, the only cable car in Japan that crosses over a lake. It takes you up slowly, giving you wider and wider views of the area (including the dazzling spray of the lake, the Kanzanji Onsen hot spring town, and the Pacific Ocean in the distance) until it reaches the Mt. Okusa observation platform four minutes later.

NameHamanako Cruise
Kanzanji Departure AreaKanzanji Port, Flower Park Port
AccessFlower Park Port: Ride the Entetsu bus towards Kanzanji Onsen and get off at Dobutsuen. It’s a 1 minute walk from there.Kanzanji Port: Ride the Entetsu bus towards Kanzanji-cho and get off at Kanzanji Onsen. It’s a 5-minute walk from there.
PricesKanzanji Course, Full Tour (30 min): Adults: 1,000 yen, Children: 500 yen
Seto Course, One Way (30 min): Adults: 1,000 yen, Children: 500 yen
Kanzanji and Seto Course Pass: Adults: 1,800 yen, Children: 900 yen*Please check the official website for the cruise schedule:
https://www.hamanako-yuransen.com/
NameKanzanji Ropeway
Opening hours9:00 am – 4:30 pm *The schedule is liable to change due to time of year or inclement weather *Duration: 4 minutes (one way)
PriceAdults (junior high school and older): Round Trip: 840 yen, One Way: 420 yen Children (ages 3 to elementary school): Round Trip: 420 yen, One Way: 210 yen
Address1891, Kanzanji-cho, Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka 静岡県浜松市西区舘山寺町1891
AccessGet on the bus going towards Kanzanji Onsen at Platform 1 of the bus terminal at Hamamatsu Station’s North Exit, ride it for 45 minutes, then get off at the Hamanako Pal Pal bus stop.
Website (Japanese)https://www.kanzanji-ropeway.jp/
Website (English)https://www.kanzanji-ropeway.jp/en/
American (left) and Japanese (right) mechanical instruments
18 Dutch bells at the top of the observation deck

The Hamanako Orgel Museum is located at the summit of Mt. Okusa, accessible via the Kanzanji Ropeway. It boasts an extensive, priceless collection of 19th to early 20th century antique orgels, organs, and mechanical instruments. You can listen to them in the museum hall or enjoy the observation deck’s carillon, which rings every day at the same time, its knell spreading across Lake Hamana, adding its beauty to the surrounding scenery.

NameHamanako Orgel Museum
Opening hours9:00 am – 5:00 pm *The opening hours are liable to change. Please check the official website for up-to-date information. *The ropeway service may be suspended due to inclement weather or for maintenance.
PriceAdults: 640 yen, Children (ages 3 to elementary school): 300 yen *The Kanzanji Ropeway and Hamanako Orgel Museum ticket set is unavailable for the time being.
Address1891, Kanzanji-cho, Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka 静岡県浜松市西区館山寺町1891
AccessGet on the bus going towards Kanzanji Onsen at Platform 1 of the bus terminal at Hamamatsu Station’s North Exit, ride it for 45 minutes, then get off at Hamanako Pal Pal. After that, it’s a 4-minute cable car ride on the Kanzanji Ropeway.
Website (Japanese)https://www.hamanako-orgel.jp/
Website (English)https://www.hamanako-orgel.jp/en/

Bentenjima Seaside Park: Where the Red Torii Gate Floats Above a Sunset-Lit Lake

The red torii gate standing calmly 18 meters above the waters of Lake Hamana has become a symbol of Benten Island’s Bentenjima Seaside Park, located at the southern part of the lake. Benten Island enjoys shallow waters and gentle waves, so in early spring during low tide, people go clam digging there. During hot summers, the island also offers a cool spot to take a refreshing dip in the water. And, of course, we have to mention how beautiful Benten Island gets during the fall. Then, during winter from November to mid-January, you can enjoy the sight of the setting sun passing straight through the torii gate on clear days. You will never forget the memory of strolling along the lake and getting to witness the vermilion gate getting lit up by the fiery colors of the evening.

NameBentenjima Seaside Park
Address3775-2, Bentenjima, Maisaka-cho, Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka 静岡県浜松市西区舞阪町弁天島3775-2
Access3-minute walk from Bentenjima Station

HAMANAKO ENGINE: Where the Past Meets the Future

Located up on Kanzanji Monzen Street, HAMANAKO ENGINE is the area’s new tourist destination, housed in a renovated souvenir store built in the 1960s. The new shopping and leisure center, which preserves the building’s past while breathing new life into it, houses cafes and shops as well as the Re-renta rental bicycle store. At Re-renta, you’ll find regular bikes as well as electric and road bicycles. Rent one and enjoy the sights of Lake Hamana and Kanzanji at your leisure!

Just a 1 minute walk from HAMANAKO ENGINE, towards the coast, you’ll find the vermilion-lacquered Shibuki Bridge. Renovated in 2011 by local businesses, it has since become a symbol of Kanzanji Onsen. A lot of people come from all around just to witness the beautiful contrast of the bridge against the blue skies above Lake Hamana in the background.

NameRe-renta
Opening hours11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Closing daysWednesday, Thursday
Pricee-Bike (4 hours): 2,500 yen e-Bike (1 day / 360 minutes): 4,000 yen Hybrid bicycle (4 hours): 1,500 yen Hybrid bicycle (1 day / 360 minutes): 2,000 yen Road bicycle (4 hours): 1,500 yen Road bicycle (1 day / 360 minutes): 2,000 yen Kids’ hybrid bicycle (4 hours): 800 yen Kids’ hybrid bicycle (1 day / 360 minutes): 1,000 yen *Prices don’t include tax.
Address2251-3, Kanzanji-cho, Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka 静岡県浜松市西区舘山寺町2251-3
AccessGet on the bus going towards Kanzanji Onsen at Platform 1 of the bus terminal at Hamamatsu Station, ride it for 45 minutes, then get off at the Kanzanji Onsen bus stop. It’s a 5-minute walk from there.
Website (Japanese)https://www.engine-kanzanji.jp/

Nukumori no Mori Recreates a Fairy Tale World of Wonder!

Within a small forest in Hamamatsu, there’s a magical place with restaurants, cafes, general stores, and an owl cafe. It’s called Nukumori no Mori, a secret spot hidden in the middle of a residential area of Lake Hamana. Simply walk the gentle hidden path between the trees for 5 minutes and soon, you’ll think you’ve been transported to a village in Europe.

Nukumori no Mori was originally an architectural design office and furniture studio created in 1983 by Japanese architect Shigeyoshi Sasaki, who spent years designing it and was personally involved in the construction of this fairy tale world straight out of a Ghibli movie. Within it, you’ll now find many different small shops surrounded by tall trees and singing birds. They sell everything from original leather products to cute plates and aromatherapy goods like pleasant-smelling oils that will help you relax after a long day. You’ll definitely find something here for yourself or for your friends and family.

NameNukumori no Mori
Opening hoursWeekdays: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm (last entry: 3:30 pm)Saturday, Sunday, National Holidays: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (last entry: 4:30 pm)
Closing daysThursday*The facility may close on days with inclement weather. Some stores within the facility also close on Friday, so please check the official website for details.
Entrance feeJunior high school students and older: 400 yen, Elementary school students and younger: Free1 Year Pass: 1,200 yen*You can purchase Nukumori no Mori entrance tickets at the facility’s parking lot ticket machine. There is no ticket machine at Nukumori no Mori.
Address2949, Waji-cho, Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka
静岡県浜松市西区和地町2949
AccessGet on the bus going towards Kanzanji Onsen at Platform 1 of the Entetsu bus terminal at Hamamatsu Station’s North Exit, ride it for 40 minutes, then get off at the Sujikai-bashi bus stop. It’s a 5-minute walk from there.
Parking4765-1, Waji-cho, Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka *Parking is free
静岡県浜松市西区和地町4765-1
Please refer to the map linked below for directions on getting from the parking lot to Nukumori no Mori (a 3-5-minute stroll after walking up a steep and narrow residential road).https://www.nukumori.jp/access.htmlhttps://www.nukumori.jp/map.html
Website (Japanese)https://www.nukumori.jp/

Experience the High Standard of Yamaha at YAMAHA INNOVATION ROAD

The Yamaha Corporation, which is headquartered in Hamamatsu, is the largest manufacturer and seller of musical instruments in the world. In 2018, they opened the YAMAHA INNOVATION ROAD museum, which details the history of the company since its founding and charts the path towards its future through various exhibits.

The museum is divided into 12 areas. Some show cross-sections of instruments down to the smallest detail while others, like the CRAFTSMANSHIP WALK, showcase an amazing lineup of instruments created through the fusion of traditional technology and industrial mechanization. In the Musical Instruments Exhibit Area, you’ll find many different examples of instruments throughout history, all of them ready to be played. And at the Virtual Stage area, you can enjoy live mechanical instrument concerts mixed with virtual projections. If you love music and want to learn more about Yamaha’s products, their manufacturing process, and their services, then you can’t miss YAMAHA INNOVATION ROAD.

NameYAMAHA INNOVATION ROAD
Entrance feeFree
*Entrance restrictions in place. Please make a reservation beforehand.
*Reservations can be made (in English) by phone: +81-53-460-2010
*No entry without a reservation.
Reservation periodUp to 1 month (31 days) in advance
Opening hoursAs of now, the museum accepts reservations for the following three time slots:1. 9:30 am – 11:30 am
2. 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
3. 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Closing daysPlease check the calendar on the museum’s official website for details.
Address10-1, Nakazawa-cho, Naka-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka
静岡県浜松市中区中沢町10-1
AccessRide the Entetsu train from Shin-Hamamatsu Station to Hachiman Station. It’s a 2-minute walk from there.
Website (Japanese)https://www.yamaha.com/ja/about/innovation/
Website (English)https://www.yamaha.com/en/about/innovation/
Notes・One entry per person per day (up to 2 hours)
・Up to 30 visitors per time slot
・Reservations for groups of 11 people or more will not be accepted

Seasonal Sightseeing Spots

Flower Viewing: Hamamatsu Flower Park

Located on the banks of Lake Hamana, Hamamatsu Flower Park is a colorful and vibrant flower paradise that covers an area of 300,000 m2 and houses 3,000 species of plants. It includes greenhouses, fountains, and smaller individual gardens, which allow visitors to experience different flowery offerings of Japan’s four seasons depending on when they visit the park. In February, you can visit their plum orchard. From late March to mid-April, there are cherry trees and tulips to admire, while the time between April and Golden Week (early May) is when you can enjoy the park’s Chinese wisteria. Spring in particular is a great time to visit here, as that’s when the park’s 1,300 cherry trees, including the Yoshino and double cherry varieties, start to bloom, making the park a popular spot for flower viewing.

The park is very large, and it will take more than an hour to walk it all, so you may want to hop on the Flower Train, which will take you all around the park in just 15 minutes while the guide tells you more about the plants you see along the way. It’s a great way to enjoy the flower park. If you get there in the afternoon, you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful flowers during the day, and the Flower Illumination after the sun goes down.

In autumn, you get to enjoy the park’s lovely topiaries and plant sculptures.
NameHamamatsu Flower Park
Opening hoursMarch – September: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm October – November: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm December – February: 10:00 am – 4:30 pm *Last entry: 30 minutes before closing
Closing daysNone (except for December 29 – 31 when the park closes for maintenance)
Price[March – June] Adults (high school students and older): 600 – 1,000 yen Elementary and junior high school students: 300 – 500 yen Handicapped adults (disability certificate required): 300 – 500 yen [July – August] Free [September – February] Adults (high school students and older): 500 yen (includes a 300-yen park gift card) Elementary and junior high school students: Free Handicapped adults: Free *Prices and opening hours change throughout the year due to the flowers’ different blooming times affecting the park’s scenery. *The Flower Train tickets are 100 yen (high school students and older) and 50 yen (elementary and junior high school students).
Address195, Kanzanji-cho, Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka 静岡県浜松市西区舘山寺町195番地
AccessGet on the bus going towards Kanzanji Onsen at Platform 1 of the bus terminal at Hamamatsu Station’s North Exit, ride it for 40 minutes, then get off at the Flower Park bus stop.
Website (Japanese)https://e-flowerpark.com/

Colorful Autumn Leaves at the 1,000-Year-Old Ryotanji Temple

According to Ryotanji, the temple was first opened in 733 and has since then been preserving the history, culture, and faith of the Lake Hamana region. But that’s not all. It’s also survived Japan’s Sengoku (Warring States) Period, was led by a line of female head nuns, and is the final resting place of Ii Naotora, a famous female feudal lord who was portrayed in the 2017 NHK show “Naotora: The Lady Warlord.”

Nightingale corridor
Wooden dragon carving

Ryotanji houses countless treasures and historical artifacts, including the Kensan Tenmoku, a tea cup said to have belonged to the famous warlord Oda Nobunaga, as well as the Ii family armor “Akazonae,” and a nightingale corridor (floors that make a chirping sound when walked upon) and spectacular wooden dragon carvings reportedly created by the legendary artist Hidari Jingoro.

A national scenic spot, the temple’s garden is an Edo Period (1603 – 1868) work of famed architect and master of tea ceremonies Kobori Enshu, who also designed the Ninomaru Garden at Kyoto’s Nijo Castle. Every year from mid-November to early December, the entire area becomes a popular fall foliage site that blends the autumn leaves with the green of the traditional Japanese garden’s moss and the crimson of its fuchsia plants to create a mesmerizing autumn concerto of color. If you ever get the chance, find a moment to sit back and relax while gazing at these displays of nature from the garden veranda.

NameRyotanji Temple
Opening hours9:00 am – 4:30 pm (closes at 5:00 pm)
Closing daysAugust 15, December 22 – 27 (every year)
PriceAdults (high school student or older): 500 yen Children (elementary school and junior high school students): 200 yen
Address1989, Iinoya, Inasa-cho, Kita-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka 静岡県浜松市北区引佐町井伊谷1989
AccessGet on the Entetsu bus going towards Okuyama at Hamamatsu Station and ride it for 45 minutes. Get off at the Jinguji bus stop. It’s a 10-minute walk from there.
Website (Japanese)http://www.ryotanji.com/

Pick Fresh Fruit at Kashima Harvest

Besides visiting tourist spots or enjoying flowers and beautiful landscapes, you can also get closer to nature by visiting a fruit orchard during your trip to Hamamatsu. There is nothing better than enjoying sweet, fresh fruit that you’ve just picked yourself. You can experience that firsthand by visiting Kashima Harvest, located just a 15-minute walk from Hamamatsu Flower Park, which offers strawberry and melon picking.

Every year from early January to early May, Kashima Harvest hosts an event where guests get to pick and eat as many strawberries as they want. The farm primarily offers Shizuoka’s famous Akihime variety of strawberries, known for their long shape and sweetness. To participate in the event, first make a reservation either by phone or online. Once you do, you’ll be able to enjoy as many strawberries as you want during a 1-hour period, with the staff explaining to you how to find the ripest ones. If you ever visit Hamamatsu between winter and spring, you’ll be able to enjoy the freshest strawberries you’ve ever had.

From mid-July until late August, the farm switches to melon picking, during which you can choose one whole melon for yourself and take it back home with you. Kashima Harvest also has tasting sessions where you can eat half of a whole melon! For a summer fruit-picking activity, consider visiting Hamamatsu for their sweet and fresh melons.

NameKashima Harvest
Price[Strawberry Picking] January 2 – February 29: Adults (elementary school students or older): 2,000 yen, Children (kindergarten students): 1,700 yen March 1 – March 31: Adults (elementary school students or older): 1,700 yen, Children (kindergarten students): 1,400 yen April 1 – Mid-May: Adults (elementary school students or older): 1,400 yen, Children (kindergarten students): 1,100 yen Children (age 3 or younger): Free [Melon Picking] 1 Souvenir melon + 1 Tasting (half a melon): 2,500 yen Tasting only: 1,000 yen *Prices do not include tax.
Address3624, Kurematsu-cho, Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka 静岡県浜松市西区呉松町3624
AccessGet on the Entetsu bus going towards Kanzanji-cho at Hamamatsu Station and ride it for 40 minutes. Get off at the Toriisaki bus stop. It’s a 5-minute walk from there.
Website (Japanese)http://www.kashimaharvest.jp/
Other・The strawberry-picking experience lasts 1 hour. Kashima Harvest may close early or on unannounced dates depending on the condition of the strawberries. Please call ahead to confirm if the farm is open. Reservations available by phone or online. ・Strawberry tastings are available only at the farm. Guests cannot take the strawberries outside with them. ・Melon picking is available by appointment only. Reservations need to be made at least 3-4 days in advance. ・Please wear comfortable shoes and avoid high heels.

Mouthwatering Local Dishes

Unagi Kohan Shokubo Kanzanji-en: Located by Lake Hamana, Where Eels Have Been Raised for Ages

Surrounded by mountains, the ocean, and lakes, Hamamatsu has been blessed with clean waters and a warm climate, which has allowed it to become famous for its meaty eels. Eels have been raised in the area for more than 100 years, with many of the restaurants around Lake Hamana going almost as far back. Among them is Unagi Kohan Shokubo Kanzanji-en, one of the few restaurants in the city that primarily cooks wild eels caught in Lake Hamana. The restaurant building itself overlooks the lake, so you can admire the amazing views of Lake Hamana while enjoying your fragrant grilled eel whether you’re dining indoors or outdoors.

Kabayaki Eel (Set Meal)

The two unagi styles seen above are “kabayaki” and “shirayaki.” Kabayaki-style eel is first seasoned with salt and a flavorful sauce and then grilled over fire. The shirayaki-style eel doesn’t use any kind of seasoning or sauce. The eel is grilled as is to bring out all of its natural flavors. Each style has its fans, so choose whichever one sounds better to you. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Japanese as the restaurant also offers menus in Chinese and English.

Kabayaki Mabushi Eel Over Rice (Set Meal)
Add soup to your remaining rice!

When enjoying the soft eel over white rice, first drizzle it with sauce and enjoy it as it is. Then, add tororo (grated yam), nori seaweed, and spices to create a whole new unagi meal. Finally, add soup to your remaining rice. These three ways of eating eel are known as “santori” in Japanese.

We also recommend the set meal which comes with fresh eel liver, a local delicacy.

NameUnagi Kohan Shokubo Kanzanji-en
Opening hours11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Closing daysThursday (open on national holidays)
PriceShirayaki Mabushi Eel Over Rice (Set Meal): 3,200 yen (excl. tax) Kabayaki Mabushi Eel Over Rice (Set Meal): 3,200 yen (excl. tax) Grilled Eel and Rice: 4,600 yen (excl. tax)
Address2229, Kanzanji-cho, Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka 浜松市西区舘山寺町2229
AccessGet on the bus going towards Kanzanji Onsen at Platform 1 of the bus terminal at Hamamatsu Station’s North Exit and get off at the Kanzanji Onsen Iriguchi bus stop.
Website (Japanese)http://www.kanzanjien.net/

Hamataro Gyoza Center: Serves One of the Three Most Popular Styles of Gyoza

When visiting Hamamatsu, you have to try their famous Hamamatsu-style gyoza, said to be one of three most popular styles of Japanese dumplings alongside Utsunomiya gyoza and gyoza from Yahata. The Hamamatsu variety features a lot of cabbage, onions, and pork, and is characterized by the natural, sweet taste of the vegetables and the fragrant meat. It’s also eaten with a rich, flavorful sauce. Hamamatsu gyoza are fried in a circle until they are crispy on the outside. Then, once they’re done, you spread boiled bean sprouts on top of them to absorb the excess oil. That’s how you can instantly recognize Hamamatsu-style gyoza.

Hamataro Gyoza Center makes their own gyoza dough from scratch using a special flour blend. They also use the famous Hamanako Sodachi breed of pigs for the meat, leeks from Ibaraki Prefecture, garlic from Aomori Prefecture, and other domestic vegetables from all over Japan. The result is a dumpling with a crispy, flavorful skin that opens up to a juicy filling of meat and vegetables. Hamataro doesn’t use any sort of artificial seasoning, instead bringing out the natural flavors of their ingredients.

Red Gyoza Set Meal with rice, miso soup, a side dish, pickled vegetables, and dessert

The restaurant’s signature fried gyoza comes in two varieties: Red Gyoza (with garlic) or White Gyoza (no garlic). First, eat the gyoza without anything, then dip them in Hamataro’s special soy vinegar dipping sauce, sesame sauce, or chili oil. Experiment with different condiments and experience whole new worlds of flavor.

NameHamataro Gyoza Center
Opening hours[Dine-In Corner] 11:00 am – 3:00 pm (last order: 2:30 pm), 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm (last order: 7:30 pm) *Between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm, the restaurant only sells frozen gyoza. [Take-Out] 11:00 am – 8:00 pm *The store closes once all gyoza sell out. *Other menu items may also sell out.
Closing daysWednesday
Price18-Piece Gyoza Set: 1,280 yen
Address981-2, Nakagawa, Hosoe-cho, Kita-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka 静岡県浜松市北区細江町中川981−2
AccessGet on the Entetsu bus going towards Kiga Eki-mae at Hamamatsu Station and ride it for 41 minutes. Get off at the Iwaida bus stop. It’s a 1-minute walk from there.
Website (Japanese)https://www.hamatarou.jp/

Chaika Cafe: Home to Traditional Firm Pudding

Even after a big meal, you may still be in the mood for something a little sweet. In that case, walk 10 minutes from Hamamatsu Station towards the middle of a residential area and you’ll find a hidden retro cafe beloved by fans of sweets and coffee. Established more than 40 years ago, Chaika Cafe is very popular with the locals and boasts a stylish retro design featuring wooden tables and leather-covered chairs.

Chaika Pudding

The cafe’s signature drinks and dishes include siphon-brewed coffee, classic Napolitan pasta, and homemade desserts. Of particular interest is the slightly hard Chaika Pudding served in a goblet glass, which kind of brings to mind Japan’s Showa Period (1926 – 1989). It certainly looks amazing, but it tastes even better. The slightly bitter caramel, the firmness of the pudding, and the eggy fragrance that fills your mouth when you taste it work together to make this dessert something truly special. It’s easy to see why this elegant, retro pudding is the cafe’s bestseller.

NameChaika Cafe
Opening hours11:30 am – 5:00 pm
Closing daysThursday, Every 3rd Friday
PriceSweets: 450 yen Drinks: 400 – 500 yen *All sweets (pudding, coffee jelly, cheesecake) have to be ordered with a drink.
Address305-6, Togimachi, Naka-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka 静岡県浜松市中区利町305-6
Access10-minute walk (800 m) from Hamamatsu Station
Website (Japanese)https://www.instagram.com/chaika_cafe/

Recommended Lodgings in the Kanzanji Onsen Area

The hot springs of Lake Hamana’s Kanzanji area first opened 60 years ago. The name “Kanzanji” comes from Kanzanji Temple, located on Mt. Tate to the north of this hot spring area. Kanzanji Onsen is a sodium-calcium saline spring that revitalizes the body and helps with chronic muscle and joint pain, sleep disorders, and stomach problems. It’s the perfect place to rest up after a day of sightseeing. So, we’d like to recommend two inns in the Kanzanji Onsen area.

Hotel Wellseason Hamanako: An Onsen Paradise Boasting Many Different Kinds of Hot Springs

Hitotoki-no-Yu Bath

Located on the banks of Lake Hamana, Hotel Wellseason Hamanako is a spacious hot spring resort with a grand garden. Besides the open-air Hitotoki-no-Yu bath, available only to hotel guests, it’s also home to Hanasaki-no-Yu, the largest hot spring in all of Shizuoka Prefecture (day trip plans also available). You can relax in the gold or silver natural hot spring baths (depending on the day), or the spacious open-air baths, rock baths, or indoor baths. Altogether, there are 26 bath varieties to choose from, making this resort the perfect place to relax while traveling through Hamamatsu.

Hotel Wellseason Hamanako offers everything from modern Western-style rooms to traditional Japanese-style rooms. It also has a combination Western-Japanese lobby decorated with tatami mats where you can buy souvenirs like Lake Hamana’s famous Mikkabi (mandarin orange) juice or Shizuoka snacks and local alcohol. The hotel is also situated near such attractions as Hamanako Pal Pal, an amusement park popular with the locals; the Kanzanji Ropeway; and the town of Kanzanji Onsen.

NameHotel Wellseason Hamanako
Check-in2:00 pm
Check-out10:00 am
Address1891, Kanzanji-cho, Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka 静岡県浜松市西区舘山寺町1891
AccessGet on the bus going towards Kanzanji Onsen at Platform 1 of the bus terminal at Hamamatsu Station’s North Exit, ride it for 50 minutes, then get off at the Wellseason Hamanako bus stop. It’s a 1-minute walk from there.
Website (Japanese)https://wellseason.jp/
Website (English)https://hpdsp.jp/wellseason/en

Hoshino Resorts KAI Enshu: A Perfect Blend of Tradition and Modernity

This is a facility developed by the popular Hoshino Resorts under their KAI brand of hot spring inns. KAI Enshu is located on the banks of Lake Hamana, which you can see through the large windows of every guestroom in the inn. Inside the rooms, you’ll find many interesting items like sliding doors and bedding made from Enshu cotton which has been produced in Hamamatsu since the Edo Period.

You will find the same kind of amenities here as you would at any other hot spring facility, from the masterfully and carefully designed open-air baths to indoor Hinoki cypress baths. Next to the Hana-no-Yu open-air bath, you’ll also find bamboo baskets for drying organic tea leaves, filling the air with pleasant smells that will relax your body and mind.

After a long soak, continue relaxing by sipping on local Shizuoka green tea, which offers a different flavor depending on the season. Besides first-class service that you won’t find anywhere else, KAI Enshu brings the old traditions of Japanese hot springs to the modern age, adapting them to the lifestyles of modern people.

NameHoshino Resorts KAI Enshu
Check-in3:00 pm
Check-out12:00 pm
Address399-1, Kanzanji-cho, Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka 静岡県浜松市西区舘山寺町399-1
Website (Japanese)https://kai-ryokan.jp/enshu/
Website (English)https://kai-ryokan.jp/en/enshu/

Don’t Miss Out on These Souvenirs That Are Only Available in Hamamatsu!

The Classic Hamamatsu Treat: Shunkando’s Unagi Pie and Unagi Sabure

Left: Chocolate Unagi Sabure, Right: Unagi Pie V.S.O.P.

Shunkando’s signature snack, the Unagi Pie, was created back in 1961 and is now one of the most popular Hamamatsu souvenirs of all time. It’s made from a delicate pie pastry with about 9,000 layers that sandwich select ingredients like butter, granulated sugar, and unagi powder. And on the outside of it all, you have their secret sauce that brings the entire crunchy, fragrant snack together. The Unagi Pie V.S.O.P. is the crowning achievement of this Hamamatsu staple, featuring such ingredients as brandy and macadamia nuts.

The Unagi Sabure is a shortbread featuring the likeness of an eel and that also includes unagi powder. The version sprinkled with Suruga Bay salt, with chocolate covering the lower half of the snack to bring out the shortbread’s natural, delicious flavor, is only available during the winter. Needless to say, it, too, is very popular.

NameShunkando
Price (excl. tax)Unagi Pie V.S.O.P.: 909 yen (for a pack of 5)Chocolate Unagi Sabure: 750 yen (for a pack of 6). Only available during winter.
Where to BuyConfectionery on B1F of the Entetsu Hamamatsu Store’s annex building(320-2, Sunayama-cho, Naka-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka)静岡県浜松市中区砂山町320-2
Website (Japanese)https://www.shunkado.co.jp/

Genji Pie Piano Black: Only Available in Shizuoka Prefecture!

The Genji Pie was created in 1965. It was inspired by the French pastry “palmier,” and today is well recognized by everyone in Japan. The chocolate variety of this heart-shaped snack is this classic staple’s flanker brand, sold in packages featuring black and white piano keys. They are only available in Shizuoka Prefecture, which makes them great souvenirs.

NameGenji Pie Piano Black
PriceGenji Pie Piano Black: 648 yen (for a pack of 20)*Price is liable to change.
Where to BuyWithin Hamamatsu StationEXPASA Lake Hamanako Service AreaMikatahara Parking Area (Outbound)NEOPASA Hamamatsu Service AreaHamanako Pal PalHamamatsu Flower ParkYaizu Fish Center
Website (Japanese)https://www.sanritsuseika.co.jp/products/%E6%BA%90%E6%B0%8F%E3%83%91%E3%82%A4%E3%80%80%E3%83%94%E3%82%A2%E3%83%8E%E3%83%96%E3%83%A9%E3%83%83%E3%82%AF/

Get Lucky! Buy Patisserie Marutaya’s Ageshio Cookies

In Japanese, “ageshio” means “high tide,” and when you buy Marutaya’s Ageshio cookies, you’re hoping that good luck will come your way like a rising tide. The cookies themselves are delicious, made from dough with walnuts and raisins mixed in. They also have a pleasant orange fragrance. Then, to bring it all together, they’re topped with crumbled cornflakes. The picture above shows mini Ageshio cookies, which are beloved by all sorts of people.

NamePatisserie Marutaya
PriceAgeshio Cookies: 810 yen (for three 50g packs)
Where to Buy・Patisserie Marutaya May One Eki-mae Branch: Inside EKIMACHI WEST on 1F of Hamamatsu Station’s May One building (across from the regular ticket machines)・Confectionery on B1F of the Entetsu Hamamatsu Store’s annex building (320-2, Sunayama-cho, Naka-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka)
Website (Japanese)https://marutayashop.net/shopbrand/ms0201/

Hamamatsu Bunmeido: Try Their Delicious Chattera, a Castella with a Rich Tea Leaf Aroma

Since Shizuoka is famous for tea, you cannot miss out on buying a dessert made with Shizuoka tea leaves. Hamamatsu Bunmeido’s Chattera is a castella that includes tea leaves from Shizuoka. Featuring layers of regular sponge cake and tea leaf sponge cake wrapped in a soft pancake dough, the Chattera is the coming together of soft and fluffy cake and pleasant tea aromas. Not too sweet, it goes great with a cup of tea and is a delicious, can’t-miss souvenir.

NameHamamatsu Bunmeido
PriceChattera: 1,188 yen (for a box of 10)
Where to BuyConfectionery on B1F of the Entetsu Hamamatsu Store’s annex building(320-2, Sunayama-cho, Naka-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka)静岡県浜松市中区砂山町320-2
Website (Japanese)http://www2.enekoshop.jp/shop/bunmeido/item_list?category_id=385807

Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture: The Ultimate Destination for Beautiful Sights and Great Food

From Lake Hamana with its seasonal beauty to the Kanzanji Ropeway, the Nakatajima Sand Dunes, Ryotanji Temple, and the Bentenjima Seaside Park, Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture offers some of the most beautiful sights in all of Japan. But it also has hot spring inns—each one with a different kind of hot spring bath—and local delicacies such as exquisite unagi, Hamamatsu-style gyoza, and Unagi Pie. There seems to be no limit to how amazing Hamamatsu is, so if you’re looking for a new one-of-a-kind tourist destination, please keep this wonderful city in mind.

If you want to give feedback on any of our articles, you have an idea that you’d really like to see come to life, or you just have a question on Japan, hit us up on our Facebook!

By the way, if you're looking for a job or career change and you're already in Japan, we now have a jobs site called tsunagu Local Jobs! On top of having exclusive job listings that you won't find anywhere else, we've vetted all the listings to ensure that they're foreigner-friendly and high quality. If you register for an account on the site, you can even make use of our agent service where our international staff will help you find the perfect job in Japan, so check it out today!

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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