Sponsored by the Shizuoka Prefecture Tourism Association
During my trip to Shizuoka Prefecture, I wanted to see Hamana-ko, which is the tenth largest lake in Japan. As the eastern part of the lake is lined with hot springs, I also wanted to spend the night in one of the ryokan with onsen.
The Hamana-ko lake
On the southern part of the lake, near Bentenjima station, I had spotted a very photogenic floating torii. As I had planned to arrive late in the afternoon at the lake, I was just in time to see the sunset (around 5pm in winter)!
In summer, it must be very pleasant. There are cruises that go out on the lake, and people can collect shells on the beach!
As it was winter, I quickly returned to the car to go to the ryokan where I would stay the night.
If you go to Hamana-ko lake by car, the parking costs ¥400. If you just stay a few minutes to take a picture, like me, I advise you to park a little further in one of the free parking lots.
The Fujiya ryokan
The Fujiya ryokan (舘山寺温泉ふじや旅館) is located right in the thermal village of Kanzenji onsen. The rooms in this traditional Japanese hotel overlook the lake and the view is absolutely splendid. It is a real pleasure to wake up and see the lake right outside your window!
My room was very comfortable, the futons were already set up on the tatami mats.
The ryokan has two private onsen with showers and bath for two (ideal for couples who can then bathe together). For my stay, I had not booked dinner, only breakfast, so I bought some food at the local kombini (convenience store). I very much recommend the breakfast served at the ryokan! It was very tasty, healthy and perfectly cooked.
And also, well displayed!
I was served boiled kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), marinated seaweed, soy glazed daikon (a kind of radish-turnip), silky tofu with dried bonito (a fish like tuna) sauce, homemade pickles, rice, salad and miso soup with kombu, a very tasty seaweed used to make dashi.
The ryokan is located at the end of a small cul-de-sac. If you come by car, you will need to park in a parking lot that is just a little further away.
The Kanzan-ji temple
Just a stone’s throw from the ryokan is the Kanzan-ji Temple (舘山寺), located in Mount Kanzan (50 meters above sea level). I went to visit this temple after breakfast, and that is where I first contemplated the view of the lake.
The temple was founded by Kôbô-daishi (the monk who originally imported Buddhism in Japan) in honor of the Bodhisattva (emanation of Buddha) of knowledge and happiness.
Another staircase leads to the top of the mountain (less than ten minute walk) where a 16 meter statue of Kanzan-ji-dai-kanon (Bodhisattva of compassion) protects the Hamana-ko lake.
How to get there
To get to the ryokan and the temple from JR Hamamatsu Station (浜松駅), take bus 30 of the line Enshû (浜松→村櫛) bound for “Kanzan-ji-onsen” and get off at “Kanzan-ji.” Approximately 45 minutes of travel (depending on traffic) for ¥610.
It is easier by car—just take the Tomei highway and exit at Hamamatsu Nishi IC. A bonus of driving a car is that you will drive along the lake and can enjoy beautiful views! The parking lot of the temple is free for the first thirty minutes. If you are unfamiliar with driving in Japan, do not hesitate to read this article for important notes on driving in Japan.