Lake Hamana/浜名湖(Shizuoka)

About Lake Hamana

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Gardens
  • Onsen
  • Festival
  • Cultural Experience
  • Temples & Shrines
  • World Heritage
  • Castles
  • Historical Sites
  • Cherry Blossoms
  • Autumn Leaves
  • Skiing and Snowboarding
  • Beautiful Places
  • National Parks
  • Beaches & Coast
  • Mountaineering & Hiking

Lake Hamana is a brackish-water lake that spans the boundaries of Hamamatsu and Kosai cities. With a circumference of 114 km, it is the largest brackish-water lake in Japan. Eels, seaweed, oysters, and soft-shelled turtle cultivation flourish in the lake, and the lagoon is famous as one of the best eel-producing areas in Japan. With seawater flowing in from the Pacific Ocean, Lake Hamana offers abundant seafood and marine sports. Lakeside you will find "Hamamatsu Flower Park" and "Hamanako Garden Park", co-hosts of the Shizuoka International Horticulture and Garden Exposition Pacific Flora 2014.

Today, Lake Hamana is a brakish-water lake with a mixture of seawater and freshwater, but it was once a freshwater lake. A major earthquake around 1498 opened a connection between the lake and the sea, turning it into a brackish lake. For this reason, Lake Hamana is home to not only freshwater fish, but also a large number of marine fish and shellfish, resulting in over 800 species. During the Edo Period (1600 or 1603-1868 ), seaweed cultivation began, and in the Meiji Era (1868-1912), eel, soft-shelled turtle, and oyster farming followed suit. Eels from Lake Hamana are especially famous throughout Japan, being carefully farmed without stress in the warm climate and utilizing the mineral-rich groundwater from the Tenryu River and the Mikatahara Plateau. The eels have a reputation for their firm flesh and fatty, luxurious flavor.

At Lake Hamana, visitors can enjoy sightseeing with varied seasonal attractions. In spring, visitors can enjoy the blooming of 1,300 cherry trees and 130 kinds of tulips at Hamamatsu Fruit Park. In May, visitors can try by their hands at picking Hamamatsu's famous tea, and drink to compare the different types of Hamamatsu tea. "The Hamamatsu Festival" is also held during this period, a major event in the city. The festival is one of the most popular in Japan, attracting more than 1 million visitors over the 3rd, 4th, and 5th of May each year. The parade of the gorgeous palace floats and kite-flying battles featuring myriads of hundreds of large sumptuous kites are well worth seeing. In summer, visitors flock to the area for swimming in the sea and enjoying marine sports such as windsurfing and kayaking. At this time of year, eels from Lake Hamana, pike congers from the coast of Enshu, and the “phantom” mud crab are in season and can be enjoyed as gourmet delicacies. The "Floating Lantern Fireworks Display," in which approximately 2,000 lights adorn the lake while fireworks are shot off, is a magnificent sight.

In autumn, the mountains surrounding Lake Okuhamana slowly turn red, and beautiful garden scenes can be seen in the famous Kohoku Gozan temples including Houkouji, Ryotanji, and Daifukuji. Visitors can also enjoy picking seasonal fruits such as mandarin oranges and Japanese pears.
In winter, the air is clear, and you can experience the pure beauty of Lake Hamana. Blessed with warm temperatures and abundant seafood, Lake Hamana is a paradise for wild birds, and many wintering birds visit the lake. The bath at "Kanzanji Onsen" on Lake Hamana has a high salt content that warms the body from the core, making a dip in the hot springs a wonderful experience for cold winter bodies.
In the area surrounding Lake Hamana, industries such as textiles, musical instruments, and transportation equipment are successful, as well as fishing and agriculture taking full advantage of nature's bounty. World-renowned companies such as Yamaha and Suzuki were founded here, with facilities where visitors can learn about the history of these companies.

Getting there and around


■From Nagoya
Take the Tokaido Shinkansen from JR Nagoya Station to Hamamatsu Station.
Take the Tokaido Main Line from JR Nagoya Station to Hamamatsu Station (change trains at Toyohashi Station on the way).
■From Tokyo
Access by Tokaido Shinkansen from JR Tokyo Station and getting off at Hamamatsu Station.

Top Tip

Kanzanji Onsen/舘山寺温泉

  • Onsen

Kanzanji Onsen, located on the shore of Lake Hamana, was opened in 1958. Surrounded by tourist attractions such as "Hamanako Pal Pal," "Kanzanji Ropeway," and "Hamamatsu Flower Park," the hot spring resort often accommodates tourists in Hamamatsu. At both lodging facilities and eateries, you can enjoy the prized gourmet foods Lake Hamana is famous for, like eels and natural torafugu blowfish.

Nakatajima Sand Dunes/中田島砂丘

  • Beaches & Coast

The Nakatajima Dunes are a popular spot for tourists to view simultaneously the wind ripples in the sand that form for 4 km east to west, the vast Pacific Ocean, and the setting sun on the horizon. From spring to summer, green turtles can be seen coming ashore to lay their eggs. The spot is also used as a filming location for Japanese movies and TV dramas.

Hamamatsu Flower Park/はままつフラワーパーク

  • Cherry Blossoms

Hamamatsu Flower Park is a botanical garden located on the shore of Lake Hamana. In the vast park of approximately 300,000 m2 is the world's most beautiful "Cherry Blossom and Tulip Garden," as well as approximately 3,000 varieties of flowers and plants, including wistarias, roses, Japanese irises, and plums, blooming from season to season, creating a relaxing space for visitors. Seasonal exhibits and events are often held, attracting visitors all year round.

Hamamatsu Castle/浜松城

  • Castles
  • Cherry Blossoms

Hamamatsu Castle is where the young Tokugawa Ieyasu fought and survived for 17 years despite being surrounded by powerful warring lords Imagawa, Takeda, and Oda, and where he grasped the dream of unifying Japan. During the Edo Period (1603-1867), the castle was held by feudal lords who had served the Tokugawa family for generations, and many of them were appointed to important positions in the Edo Shogunate after serving as the lord of Hamamatsu Castle, hence the castle is also known as "Promotion Castle.” The nearby Hamamatsu Castle Park is famous for its cherry blossoms.


Links and Resources


Unique Local Experiences

Hamanakohoku Gozan is the collective name for five temples (Shosan Hourinji, Ryotanji, Houkouji, Makayaji, and Daifukuji) located in "the Lake Okuhamana area", situated a little further into the mountains from Lake Hamana in Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture. Each temple is a nationally designated important cultural property and contributes to preserving much rich culture. The beautiful gardens and autumn leaves in particular are a must-see. Visitors can enjoy a journey through the ages from the Heian Period to the Edo Period, beholding important cultural properties as designated by the Japanese government.

Unique Local Experiences

Travel Advice and Tips

“Unagi Pie ” (eel pie,) a sweet biscuit using powdered eel which is a standard Hamamatsu souvenir, is the favorite product of Shunkado, a confectionary shop founded in 1887. You can observe the production process at the "Unagipie Factory" in Hamamatsu City. After the tour, enjoy original sweets featuring eel pie only available here at Unagipie Cafe .


The Hamanako(Shizuoka)

The Hamanako(Shizuoka)
  • Cool and Unusual Hotels

4396-1 Yamazaki, Yuto-cho, Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka

Located on the shore of Lake Hamana, this hot spring resort hotel overlooks the water below.
The French cuisine, abundant in vegetables, is as vivid as a painting, and the desserts after the meal are so beautiful that it seems a shame to eat t....

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Special Tours

Nagoya Travel Guide