Hamamatsu City, located in Shizuoka Prefecture, is a provincial city situated almost directly in the center of Japan. This page gives you an overview of Hamamatsu City, from its history and culture, to its weather.
Hamamatsu is located half way between Tokyo and Osaka and is situated at the center of Japan. The city’s industrial and tourist activities take advantage of this central location. Bordered by the ocean, a river, mountains and a lake, Hamamatsu offers its residents and visitors various seasonal sceneries and leisure activities. Local cuisines exemplified by eel (or “unagi”) dishes and Hamamatsu gyoza (Chinese style dumplings) also attract visitors from around Japan. Hamamatsu is a perfect destination to stop at before or after a visit to Mt. Fuji.
A western Shizuoka city, Hamamatsu has a population of 820,000. The city spreads over a total area of 1,558.04 square meters, making it the largest city in Shizuoka Prefecture and the second largest city in Japan.
Daylight hours are long and the climate is mild throughout the year. However, winter months are known for strong north-westerly winds, or “karakkaze”, which makes it feel colder than the actual temperature. And the city often records the highest temperatures in Japan during summer months due to a foehn phenomenon occurring in mountain areas. (Graph: Monthly average temperatures and rain fall)
Hamamatsu is known as a place associated with Tokugawa Ieyasu, one of the most important shogun in Japan’s Edo period. Ieyasu, who built Hamamatsu Castle in 1570, spent 17 years there between the ages of 29 and 45. Because Ieyasu later became the ruler of Japan, Hamamatsu is also called “shusse-jo”, or the castle of promotion. The castle is still one of the most important landmarks loved by citizens of Hamamatsu.
Industries and Culture
Hamamatsu is the birthplace for companies with a global brand such as Suzuki, Yamaha, and Honda. It is also the technological mecca of monozukuri (creative manufacturing), where a number of the world’s very first products and technologies were born. While Hamamatsu is one of the leading manufacturers of musical instruments in the world, the city has promoted itself as the town of music in recent years. Hamamatsu International Piano Competition is held in this city every 3 years.
Lake Hamana, a brackish lake, is 141 km in circumference and 6,880 hectares in area. It is the 10th largest lake in Japan. Lake Hamana is a popular location for marine sports. Famous hot spring resorts, or onsen, are found in Kanzanji, Bentenjima, and Mikkabi by the shore of Lake Hamana, attracting numerous visitors from around Japan.
Energetic and magnificent Hamamatsu Festival is held from May 3 through 5 and attracts 1.5 million visitors each year. During the day epic kite battles are held at the Nakatajima Sand Dunes, while as night falls the action moves downtown, where spectacular floats are paraded through the streets.
Eels of Lake Hamana
Eel is one of the most famous local products of Hamamatsu. Lake Hamana is the birthplace of eel farming and a brand of eel well known in Japan. Nutritious and delicious Lake Hamana eel is a delicacy well worth a try.