Villa Hamanako

Rest and relax at this lakeside getaway

By Peter Sidell    - 3 min read

In western Shizuoka prefecture, Lake Hamana is Japan's 10th largest, a popular place for locals and visitors alike to enjoy watersports, go fruit-picking or just admire the scenery. One of the many places to stay there is Villa Hamanako, a resort hotel on the lake's western shore, within easy distance of Hamamatsu, Toyohashi and Nagoya.

It was clearly built as a destination in its own right, I imagine during the bubble era, as there's more or less nothing to see or do nearby other than the lake. It's about a 15-20 minute walk from the nearest station, Chibata on the Tenryu-Hamanako rail line, which is also where the nearest restaurants and convenience store are.

It's a place to relax: near reception there's a comfortable lounge with lots of natural light, a compact bar, and a pool table, which may or may not actually ever be used. Outside there's a refreshing-looking pool with a wooden deck around it (though it's only for use in summer, for some reason) and a lot of comfy couches and chairs nearby under colourful sunshades.

The hotel also hosts weddings and group parties - I suspect that's now where most of their business comes from - as there's a dinky chapel near the entrance, and a couple of good sized dining rooms upstairs.

My room was in the 'Villa' part, a crescent on one side of a pleasant lawn overlooking the lake. I had a decent amount of space, a comfortable little couch and a massage chair, a nice big flat-screen TV, and an imposing canopied bed like something from an Arabic queen's boudoir. The decor was attractive, with simple, light colours, stylish lighting and tasteful prints around the walls.

I also had a little balcony facing the lake, and in the evening I tried sitting out there, wanting to just take in the atmosphere, listen to the frogs and crickets, and watch the trains trundle along the shore, their lights reflected in the water. However, it was spoilt for me a bit by the annoying perky 'resort style' music piped out to the lawn (and everywhere else), so I retired inside and made good use of the TV and massage chair.

In the morning I had an unhurried breakfast, from a mixed buffet of western and Japanese food: they had sausages, bacon and meatballs, rice, tofu, stews and (very) soft-boiled eggs, salad, bread and fruit.

There are twin and double rooms available, and the prices vary according to on the date and season, and probably also on how you book. A look at a popular booking site gave me ¥12000 a night (including breakfast) for two people, or ¥6500 for solo travelers, though it's probably more expensive in high season.

It's not really a sightseeing destination, but for a couple or a group of friends wanting somewhere to get out of the city, and just relax and enjoy each others' company, it would make a good place for a long weekend.

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Peter Sidell

Peter Sidell @peter.sidell

I came to Japan from Manchester, England in 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I'm not working, I write satire and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check YouTube for a taste.

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