When looking for an easy getaway from the Tokyo Metro area lots of places come to mind; Hamamatsu was not one of them. It was just by chance that my stepson Hiro and I picked this wonderful city for a three-day excursion.
We were looking for a place that had a variety of attractions that would satisfy a 28 year old and myself (old man). It turns out that three days was not enough time to experience all this area has to offer.
We actually planned our days by the weather report, which was rain, more rain, and maybe cloudy on the last day.
On a Wednesday morning we boarded the 7:27 a.m. Shinkansen (bullet train) out of Tokyo station for the two-hour trip. Upon arrival, we headed straight to the Hamamatsu Information Center where we picked up several maps/brochures, purchased their two-day rail pass using our smart phones, and then walked over to the bus terminal to start our adventure.
The Hamamatsu Rail Pass includes: the Tenryu Hamanako Railroad, Entetsu Bus/ Entetsu Train, Hamanako Cruise, Kanzanji Ropeway, plus discounts at 19 different attractions throughout the area all for just 3,360 yen.
Hiro used his smart phone to take pictures of all the bus/train schedules and we boarded a bus for our first stop at Hamamatsu Botanic Garden.
This garden is over 75 acres and could take you half a day to see it all. Start at the beautiful rose garden and work your way over to the greenhouse. It has several countries represented, plus some nice fountains and unusual art displays. Outside you will see some floral sculptures; turn to the left and go down to Waterfowl Pond, Terrace Pond, Pond of the Rabbit Ear Iris, and over to the Japanese Garden. There are many seasonal blooms throughout the garden and if the walking is a bit much you can enjoy the Flower Train which runs every 15 minutes.
We exited at the Zoological Garden main gate and walked about 15 -minutes to the Lake Hamanako Cruise Pier. Your railway pass covers the 70-minute tour. Since the ropeway (which is also included in your rail pass) was closed due to covid, we opted to get off at the Seto Port and explore the northern area of the lake. There were many shrines and temples along our route.
We walked all the way to the Ona Train Station on the Tenryu Hamanako Railroad line. This railroad has many stations on the historic register along the route. We departed the train at Mikkabi Station, to do a little exploring. The train runs about every hour, so you have to plan your activities around their schedule. In Mikkabi we discovered a very old Sake shop and of course had to make a purchase. We caught the next train to Nishikajima Station and then boarded the Enshu Railway back to Hamamatsu Station.
It was evening and we were interested in trying one of the many Brazilian restaurants in the area, but they were all buffet style. Hiro using his smart phone looked up a Mexican restaurant, which had very high ratings. I love Mexican food, but most of the ones in Japan are not authentic and the portions especially in the Tokyo area are more of a snack. Las Chillonas was beyond our expectations. First off, we met the owner Rosa who is from Mexico. Still thinking about the Tokyo small portions, we ordered Burritos, Chimichanga, and Nachos. When the food was delivered, we asked Rosa how come the servings were so big and her reply was “I like making the food the way I did in Mexico.” Needless to say, we both rate this is the best Mexican food in Japan.
We experienced heavy rain as we headed back to the Hamamatsu Station Hotel...
3 DAYS IN HAMAMATSU SERIES