• Travelers find city living with a hint of tradition in Hamamatsu, Japan

    2010-05-06

    When most travelers head to Japan for their first time, the choice of destination is most typically Tokyo. As one of the largest cities in the world and the center of the country's cultural and governmental bodies, this city seems the obvious choice. However, travelers who have spent a good deal of time in Tokyo often prefer a break from the big city, and long to explore new and exciting regions within the country.

    One destination that aptly combines the urban life of Tokyo with the more laid-back pace of cities like Nikko is Hamamatsu. Located in the Shizuoka prefecture, Hamamatsu is the home to a number of major companies including Yamaha, Sony, Honda and Suzuki and has gained a reputation as an excellent place for musical instruments, motorcycles and consumer electronics.

    Urban explorers will definitely want to check out the towering skyscraper Act City, a massive obelisk made to resemble a harmonica. The building contains two theaters, a sunken garden and rooftop park complex, a monument to famed composer Frederic Chopin and a panoramic observatory on the 45th floor.

    More classically-minded travelers will enjoy exploring the Futamata Castle Ruins or Hamamatsu Castle, both of which date back to the 1570s and have borne important historical roles in the unification of Japan.
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