Lake Hamanako

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Hamanako (l) is a large lake at the Pacific Coast of western Shizuoka Prefecture. Originally a fresh water lake separated from the ocean, Hamanako got connected to the ocean as a result of an earthquake in 1498 and its water turned salty. The majority of Hamanako's attractions are concentrated around the Kanzanji Onsen, a hot spring resort on an inlet along the lake's eastern shores.

It was not until the late 1950s that Kanzanji Onsen's hot spring was drilled and a town with various tourist attractions grew around it. Although Kanzanji Onsen does not have the traditional atmosphere of a more historic onsen town, it does offer an attractive range of baths with views onto the lake. Most of the baths are found in the town's hotels and ryokan, and many are accessible not only to staying guests but also to daytrip visitors for a small fee.

The following is a list of some of Kanzanji Onsen's best baths that are open to day trip visitors:

Sago Royal Hotel
Daytime Hours: 11:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:00)
Daytime Admission: 1100 yen
Overnight Stay: From 10,000 yen per person including 2 meals
The Sago Royal Hotel is one of the most prominent hotels of Kanzanji Onsen, located just beside Kanzanji Temple at the end of a small peninsula. The hotel has several baths, among which its rooftop outdoor pools (rotemburo) with 360 degree views of Lake Hamanako are quite outstanding.

Hanasaki no Yu
Hours: 10:00 to 23:00 (entry until 22:00)
Admission ends one hour before closing
Admission: 1280 yen (1500 yen on weekends, 1940 during high seasons)
Part of the Hotel Wellseason, the Hanasaki no Yu is a large, attractive public bath catering to daytrip visitors. It offers a wide variety of baths, including some outdoor baths in a garden area, relaxation services and restaurants.

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While the history of Kanzanji Onsen does not extend far into the past, its namesake temple is believed to have been founded in the early 800s by the famous monk Kobo Daishi. The grounds of Kanzanji Temple are quite expansive, extending over the forested tip of a peninsula that juts out into Hamanako. There are nice walking paths through the forest with views out onto the water.

One of the views from the walking trails around Kanzanji Temple

Among the other attractions around Kanzanji Onsen, the most noticeable is the Pal Pal Amusement Park with its large Ferris wheel. The park's other rides include roller coasters, merry go rounds and water slides and are particularly well suited for kids. Rides can be paid for individually (typically 200-800 yen per ride) or used with a 1-day freepass (4100 yen).

A unique sight of Kanzanji Onsen is the Kanzanji Ropeway, which travels over the inlet between the Pal Pal amusement park and the summit of Okusayama Mountain. A free observation deck with nice views over the town and lake and a paid music box museum are located on the mountain's summit at an elevation of about 100 meters.

The Kanzanji Ropeway travels past the Pal Pal Amusement Park to Okusayama Mountain

As an alternative to going up in the air for good views of the area, sightseeing boats allow travelers to enjoy the scenery from the water. Cruises of 30 minutes (750 yen) or one hour (1320 yen) travel out of Kanzanji's inlet and further into Hamanako Lake. The boats can be boarded at Kanzanji Temple or the entrance to the Hamamatsu Flower Park, a spacious park with flowers for every season.

At the end of a day exploring the lake or as a mid day meal, travelers should consider eating Japanese Eel (unagi), a locally farmed specialty. Many restaurants offer the dish, usually broiled and served over a bed of rice as unadon (in a bowl) or unaju (in a rectangular box). The meal can be a bit on the pricey side, usually costing around 2000 yen.

Hamamatsu Flower Park
Japanese Eel

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Get There and Around

How to travel between Hamanako and Tokyo

By shinkansen and bus
1 transfer, 2.5 hours, about 8500 yen one way, one connection per hour
Take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo to Hamamatsu (90 minutes, about 8000 yen, one direct hikari train per hour) and then a bus to Kanzanji Onsen (40 minutes, 570 yen, frequent departures at least twice per hour). The entire one way trip takes around 2.5 hours and costs about 8500 yen. The bus ride is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass.

By highway bus
Direct, 4.5 hours, 3980 yen one way, a few departures per day
Some highway buses between Tokyo and Nagoya stop at the Tomei Kanzanji Onsen bus stop along the expressway. The one way trip takes four hours and costs 3980 yen. From the bus stop it is a 30 minute walk into the town center.

Above fees and schedules are subject to change. For the current yen exchange rate, click here.


Although Hamanako lake is very large, the majority of its attractions are centered around Kanzanji Onsen and within walking distance from one another. Stretching along the southern coast of a small inlet, all attractions can be reached within a 30 minute walk from each other.

A convenient tourist bus called the Flower Go runs alongside the waterfront and can be used free of charge. The bus connects Kanzanji Temple, Hanasaki no Yu, the Pal Pal Amusement Park, the Hamamatsu Flower Park and Okusayama's upper ropeway station, and runs about once per hour. The bus operates on weekends only except during peak travel seasons when it operates everyday.

Hours and Fees

Pal Pal Amusement Park


Usually 10:00 to 17:00, but opening times vary


Thursdays during low seasons


1100 yen (admission only), 4100 yen (free pass including admission and rides)

Kanzanji Ropeway


9:00 to 17:00 (the time of the last departure varies seasonally)


Several days in January, February, June and July


820 yen (round trip), 410 yen (one way)

Hamamatsu Flower Park


9:00 to 16:30 (until 17:00 from May to September)
Occasional evening opening hours
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time


No closing days


500 yen (Oct-Feb, includes 500 yen coupon), 600 to 1000 yen (Mar-Jun), free entry (Jul-Sep)

Hotels around Lake Hamanako

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Page last updated: September 20, 2014