Japan's City of Music, and a manufacturing town as well; an urban area with both mountains and the sea.
The city of Hamamatsu was once a castle town, and later flourished as a post station for travelers. Located in the western part of Shizuoka Prefecture and situated about midway between Tokyo and Osaka, it sits near the center of Honshu. The city's total area is quite large. The city has Lake Hamana-ko to the west, in the area extending from Hamamatsu Station along the Pacific Ocean. To the south is the Enshu-nada Sea, which hugs the Nakatajima Sakyu (sand dunes). To the north are mountains covered with lush greenery, and the Tenryu-gawa River. With the sea, lakes, mountains and rivers, the area displays a variety of expressions.
Let us introduce you to the area centered on Hamamatsu Station.
The musical instrument industry in Hamamatsu has flourished to the extent that the city is called "Japan's City of Music." The area has a monopoly on the production of pianos in Japan, claiming an astonishing 100% share!
Three major musical instrument manufacturers have established operations in Hamamatsu. The city's landmark is the 45-story Act City Hamamatsu (Act Tower), which towers in front of the station. Inside are meeting areas, a concert hall and exhibition areas, as well as the Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments, Japan's only public museum for musical instruments. More than 850 exhibits are on display in the museum, including gorgeous 19th century European pianos and horns. It is a delightful museum that also has a hands-on experience corner where visitors can even perform.
In addition, the city is known for manufacturing not just musical instruments, but also many other goods such as textiles, automobiles, and motorcycles; and it is the birthplace of such world famous manufacturers as Suzuki and Honda.
A 15-minute bus ride from Hamamatsu Station will take you to the Nakatajima Sakyu. The dunes are four kilometers wide from east to west, and 600 meters wide from north to south, extending all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The sunsets here are truly romantic. From early summer to autumn, loggerhead turtles come to lay their eggs, a time when the Nakatajima Coast becomes a world of mystery.
During the three-day period from May 3rd to 5th, the Nakatajima Sakyu is the main site of the Hamamatsu-matsuri Festival, which includes a thrilling event where battles of huge kites unfold. In the evening, crowds are drawn to the city to view beautiful floats known as "Goten-yatai." Every year around 1.5 million people come to enjoy this heroic and gorgeous Hamamatsu-matsuri Festival.
One of the local products of Hamamatsu is 'unagi (eel).' The city boasts the largest production of cultured eel and has a long history of over 100 years in eel cultivation. Takifugu from the Enshu-nada Sea and 'mikan' oranges from Mikkabi-cho are also famous products of the city. As a unique dining place, the Hamamatsu Bengara Yokocho, a food community park, is situated beneath the Enshu Railway Line. The line of restaurants and shops starts from Shin-Hamamatsu Station, offering such fare as ramen noodles and 'yakitori (grilled chicken on a skewer).'
From Tokyo :
[Rail] 1h 30 min from Tokyo to Hamamatsu Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen "Hikari." (2h by "Kodama")
From Osaka :
[Rail] 1h 30 min from Shin-Osaka to Hamamatsu Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line "Hikari." (1h 55 min by "Kodama.")