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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan. Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan.
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare. An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare.
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife. Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife.
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan. Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan.
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara. The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara.
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower. Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower.
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving. Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving.
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky. The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky.
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Festivals & Events

Hamamatsu Festival 浜松まつり

Huge kites soar into battle during the day while parades dominate the night

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.

Don't Miss

  • Exploring the venue, the Nakatajima Dunes, one of the three largest sand dunes in Japan
  • Flying your own kite, although the battles are for the pros

How to Get There

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.

Quick Facts

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

Go fly a kite

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.

Parades in the evening

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.

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