Maisaka is best known as the 30th stop at Old Tokaido Road. It is located at the west of Hamamatsu station. Maisaka area has nice pine avenue as well as Waki-Honjin house(the secondary lodging for feudal lords). Its coastal area is nice as well, the beach area is popular among surfers.
Hamakita-ku is one of the wards of metropolitan Hamamatsu, formerly Hamakita City. Hamakita is a nice suburban area of Hamamatsu and has some historical sites such as Gansuiji Temple, Fudoji Temple and nice parks such as Shizuoka Prefectural Forest Park(Hamakita Forest Park) and Manyono Mori Park. Hamakita is best known by the anthropologists as a place prehistoric human bones about 14,000 years to 18,000 years ago were found. Hamakita Man is Homo Sapiens just as present human being.
Also see Hamakita Travel Page for more info.
Ryotanji Temple in Kita-ku is perhaps the most popular temple in Hamamatsu. It is one of the Five Major Temples in Northside of Lake Hamana. The temple is best known by its zen meditation garden, which is said to have been directed by Enshu Kobori (recently it's been challenged by some scholars though). But the garden is only a part of the appeal. You will find a lot of photo ops when you walk around the temple. See more of the photos in my coming travelogue because commenting the whole features of the temple may need a volume of a book.
Most of the Hamamatsu temples with excellent gardens are located in the mountainous area and to get there you need to either ride a bus, taxi, or rent a car. Jissoji temple in Kita-ku, Hamamatsu is located north of Kanasashi station of Tenryu Hamanako Line and only 10 minutes uphill walk from the station. The temple is located next to the Kanasashi Elementary school and is easy to find as well. The zen meditation garden which looks like simpler version of that of Ryotanji temple is really an excellent one. To be honest it didn't look great just by seeing the photo but actually seeing the garden was really quite an impression. If you push a button you can have an audio narration in Japanese. Although I am a native Japanese I couldn't quite follow what it says. Zen meditation gardens are sort of cryptic and this garden is no exception. It used to be free of charge to see the garden but today the temple asks the visitors to donate 200 yen for garden maintenance. It is really worth it I guess.
Most of excellent Japanese gardens in Hamamatsu belong to Buddhist temples. Particularly Japanese gardens of following temples are noteworthy.
Photo #1 Jissoji Temple: Recently uncovered garden with excellent rock formation.
Photo #2 Ryotanji Temple: Often highly rated in the rankings of Japanese gardens. It is one of the temples where the souls of Ii family are laid to rest.
Makayaji Temple: Landscape garden uncovered during 60s is noted for the excellent rock formation. It also has a castle ruin on the nearby hill.
#22 in Shiosai Ranking 2010
Daifukuji Temple: The garden as well as Niomon Gate are well-appreciated by history buffs.
Chorakuji Temple: The garden is said to have been designed by Enshu Kobori.
Built in 1986, this science museum is mainly for educating children but adults can also enjoy there. It has a lot of touch-and-play exhibits so all you have to do is play with the exhibits. You may not understand what the Japanese instruction says. But that's also thrilling. You can guess how it works and that is not so difficult. Its planetarium has three programs. One of them is featuring the constellations you can see during the night sky at 8 p.m. and midnight. And the stories and legends related to them. But the narration is given in Japanese.
Opening Hours: (Closed on Mondays or the day after the National Holidays on Mondays, Yearend and New-Year Holidays)
9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. During Summer Holiday season from July 20 to August 31. (Enter at least 30 minutes before closing time).
Admission Fee: Museum Only: 500 yen for adults 350 yen(high-school students, ages15-18) Free of charges for children under 15.
With Planetarium: Adults 900 yen, Ages 15-18 500 yen Children under 15 100 yen.
Another Planetarium Program 200 yen for adults 80 yen for Ages 15-18 and Children under 15 50 yen
At the top of the hill called "Chopin Hill", a part of Act City Open Space, stands the 2/3 scale replica statue of Frederic Chopin by Waclaw Szymanowski presented from Warsaw in 1994 to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Sister Cities in Music and Culture in 1990. It's the first replica statue of Szymanowski's Chopin.
Open Space, the rooftop gardens on Act city complex are so well made it fits naturally to surrounding landscape. One of the entrances is close to the end of moving walk extending from the station building. The views from the roof gardens are very great. The rooftop gardens were designed by Tadashi Yamaguchi, a renowned landscape architect based in U.S.
This indoor playground facility for children is in the Zaza City, one of the most popular shopping mall near Hamamatsu station.
Open: Mon-Fri 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sat-Sun and Holidays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Except on December 29- January 1 and second Wednesdays of each month.
Admission fee: 200 yen for adults, 100 yen for children(high school, junior high school and elementary school children)
Free of charge: preschool kids.
Shointei is a nice place to taste Japanese green tea by being in nice tea houses and viewing Japanese garden. There is a great stroll garden near the entrance gate and inside the Shointei facility there are three tea houses and a Japanese garden. If not unoccupied you can enter the tea house and taste Japanese green tea for 400 yen.
The tea house facility is located at the northern detachment of Hamamatsu Castle Park. To get there, go toward the north edge of main park area near the Hotel Concord and walk past the kiddie park with a swimming pool. The entrance gate is beyond the other side of the kiddie park area.
**Shointei Tea Ceremony House is currently entry-limited because of Shogi Meijinsen title match on April 20 and 21. It will be repopened to public from Saturday, 23rd.
Four art museums in Hamamatsu. Hamamatsu City Art Museum is located next to the Hamamatsu castle keep. It has wide variety of themes for special exhibitions. So it might be hit or miss depending on when you visit. And admission fee might be a lot higher when large-scale exhibition takes place. Akino Fuku Art Museum is in Futamata area about 20 kilometers north of central Hamamatsu. Akino Fuku is known by her paintings on Indian landscape and people. Its building is art in itself. Hirano Museum of Art is a private museum mostly dedicated to Japanese art. They sell postcards on Japanese art works. Hamanako Kanzanji Art Gallery is close to the amusement park Hamanako Pal Pal and also dedicated to Japanese arts.
This park is commonly referred to as "Hamakita Forest Park". It is undoubtedly one of the biggest public parks near the huge industrial city Hamamatsu. The park has 215ha in area nearly as large as London's Hyde Park. Birdpia Hamakita at the north-central edge of the park serves as a visitor center. Most visitors of the park enjoy short trip to the suspension bridge, and stroll around pond and grassy park area with day-camp facility. Near the park there are some nice places to visit including Gansuiji temple at the south-eastern direction and day-trip Onsen Aratamanoyu, the west of the park.
To find out about this park in detail please also see my Hamakita Page
The park at the former site of Hamamatsu Municipal Hall is connected to the community hall area by the red bridge called "Kodomono Hashi" or "the Children's Bridge". The park has some war memorial monuments and is a nice place to view cherry blossoms. Close to the park is Gosha Shrine.
Children's Bridge was built in 1967. Before this fancy pedestrian bridge was built there had been sad traffic accidents involving children crossing the busy street to get to the children's museum(currently Hamamatsu Science Museum near the station). A samaritarian donated 10 million yen to the museum so that the bridge could be built.
Private and small art museum opened in 1989 is known only to fans of Japanese artists. Collection of the Hiranos include the works of Daikan Yokoyama and Kazan Watanabe. If you love Japanese paitings this museum is a nice place to visit. They sell postcards of major exhibits for only 100 yen per piece.
When you walk near the Gosha Park you will see the torii gate carrying two shrine names. I have been to a lot of shrines but I have never seen like this. Gosha shrine was founded in late 16th century and closely related to Iyeyasu Tokugawa. Suwa Shrine dates back as far as late 8th century. Both shrine used to have buildings designated as national treasures but the air raid during second world war turned them into ashes. In 1960 Gosha and Suwa shrines were amalgamated into one single religious entity. Present Main Shrine building was built in 1982. Gosha and Suwa Shrine is also used as a shrine characters of "Ichigo Mashimaro" often visit.