Festivals & Events
The Hamamatsu Festival is a popular event featuring 100 kites, flown over sand dunes, that battle in the skies. The event takes place in late spring during the holiday period known as Golden Week.
At night there's a parade, creating a whole different style of festivities from the daytime.
The Hamamatsu Festival is accessed from JR Hamamatsu 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. The bullet train takes about 100 minutes, whereas the regular trains will take over four hours.
From JR Hamamatsu Station a shuttle bus takes visitors out to the Nakatajima Dunes.
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 5, 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. You can fly your own 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.”
Other attractions include dancing and drum and bell performances. Hamamatsu has a substantial non-Japanese community who take part in the festival, giving it a welcoming and cosmopolitan atmosphere.