A large brackish lake that stretches inland from the coast with a unique ecosystem that provides a wide variety of experiences & activities.
A LARGE ‘OCEAN LAKE’ FULL OF SURPRISES.
HISTORY, SEAFOOD, CYCLING AND MARINE ACTIVITIES
Lake Hamana was a freshwater lake until a 1498 earthquake connected it to the Pacific Ocean – so it is technically a lagoon.
The water in Lake Hamana is brackish meaning the water is a mix of saltwater from the Pacific Ocean and freshwater that flows down from the Japanese Southern alps – the lake water does not have the same amount of salt content as the ocean.
Lake Hamana is the second largest brackish lake in Japan at 65km² with a total circumference of 114 km.
Due to the size of the lake and the land formations, there are many areas and districts around Lake Hamana ready to be explored.
It is difficult to define Lake Hamana and what each area provides – there are three ‘destinations’ that are worth checking out.
Oku-Hamana is the name used to describe the mountainous area North & West of the Tenhama Railway Line –See Map. Highlights of this area include 1,350-year-old Ryotanji Temple, Mandarin Orange Picking, Paragliding & the Ryugashido Cavern.
Central / Eastern Lake Area – a section of land on the East Coast in the middle of the lake that includes the famous hot spring resort town of Kanzanji, the Hamamatsu Flower Park, and the Hamanako Garden Park.
The options for things to do in Lake Hamana are endless and varied depending on which of the three areas you visit and which season you visit.
‘Oku’ in Japanese means ‘back’ or ‘behind’ and is a prefix that is often used to refer to areas that are off the beaten track and commonly describes a sparsely populated, forested, or mountainous area.
Oku-Hamana consists of the Northern Coastline of Lake Hamana and the densely forested area at the foothills of Japan’s Southern Alps.
Oku Hamana offers many great opportunities for adventurous travelers to enjoy lake activities, cycling, onsen, hiking.
There are also the “5 temples North of the Lake”, which have been designated as important cultural assets, are well worth exploring.
CENTRAL / EASTERN LAKE AREA
The Central and Eastern areas of the Lake are perhaps the most popular destination for visitors.
Kanzanji Hot Spring resort area which includes hot spring hotels, culturally significant Kanzanji temple, many great restaurants and other activities.
Just South of Kanzanji the Hamanako Garden Park is a popular destination especially for its pleasure cruise through the gardens in Spring and the water park for kids to enjoy in the hot Summer months.
SOUTHERN COASTAL AREA
The Southern Coast of Lake Hamana primarily consists of 2 stations on the JR Local Tokaido train line – Bentenjima and Araimachi.
Within this area, there are some unique experiences for the whole family that make it worth a stop.
Have a flutter at the local Boat Race, stop off in Arai-machi and visit the Tokaido Highway Checkpoint and museum, relax on Bentenjima beach, or set out for some night fishing using traditional spears with local fishermen.
HOW TO GET THERE & AROUND
Hop off the Bullet Train at Hamamatsu Station and it is a 12 min local train ride to Bentenjima Station on the Southern Coast.
From Hamamatsu Station, many of the Hotels in the Central / Eastern Lake Areas have free shuttle buses which are a great way to get there.
Oku – Hamana is a little more difficult to get to – taking the Tenryu Hamanako Line from Shinjohara Station (one stop from Hamamatsu Station on the JR Tokaido Line) will get you there in about an hour.