Festivals & Events
The Hamamatsu Festival is a popular festival featuring 100 kites flown over sand dunes. At night, a parade ensues, creating a whole different style of festivities from the daytime activities.
The Hamamatsu Festival is accessed from JR Hamamatsu Station, a railway station on the Tokaido Main Line and Tokaido Shinkansen.
From JR Tokyo Station, take either the Tokaido Main Line or Tokaido Shinkansen to go directly to JR Hamamatsu Station in Shizuoka Prefecture.
From JR Hamamatsu Station a shuttle bus takes visitors out to the Nakatajima Dunes.
The venue, the Nakatajima Dunes are one of the three largest sand dunes in Japan
The battle kites are decorated with the characters of the names of baby boys from each town, along with marks or designs of each town
The festival is huge, with the city's population doubling to around 1.5 million during the annual celebration
Hamamatsu Festival’s origins date back to the 16th century, when the birth of an heir to the domain was celebrated with a kite display. The tradition is echoed around the country when Carp Flags are flown on Children’s Day on May 5th, the climax of the festival.
Over the three days, more than 100 large kites take to the skies. The highlight is a battle between 100 kites. The aim is to cut your opponent’s string using friction alone. Visitors can fly kites nearby but the battle is for experts only.
In the evening the streets see a parade of 83 festival floats accompanied by traditional music. Each float is elaborately carved and decorated, and they are referred to as “palaces.”
As the festival falls within the Golden Week holidays, the streets become packed with revelers from near and far. The air fills with the scent of grilled meat and sweet sake.
Other attractions include drum and bell performances, and dancing. Hamamatsu has a substantial non-Japanese community who take part in the festival, giving it a welcoming and cosmopolitan atmosphere.