Lake Hamanako (浜名湖) is a large lake at the Pacific
Coast of western Shizuoka Prefecture. Originally a fresh
water lake separated from the ocean, Hamanako got
connected to the ocean as a result of an earthquake in
1498 and its water turned salty. The majority of
Hamanako's attractions are concentrated around the
Kanzanji Onsen, a hot spring resort on an inlet along the
lake's eastern shores.
It was not until the late 1950s that Kanzanji Onsen's hot spring was drilled and a town with various tourist attractions grew around it. Although Kanzanji Onsen does not have the traditional atmosphere of a more historic onsen town, it does offer an attractive range of baths with views onto the lake. Most of the baths are found in the town's hotels and ryokan, and many are accessible not only to staying guests but also to daytrip visitors for a small fee.
The beautiful Maisaka Shukuwaki Honjin, an inn for samurai and commoners traveling on the Tokaido. It was used for more important people if the honjin, an inn designated for high profile individuals, were full. The Nakamura Residence is north of Bentenjima over the Ufumi Bridge and is the preserved household of a samurai family.
Kanzanji Temple predates the onsen and some say it was founded by the famous priest Kobo Daishi (Kukai) in the 9th century. It is a Soto Zen temple located on a small hill behind the Sago Royal Hotel and the grounds contain a large statue of Kannon, Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. There is an annual fire festival held on December 15 at the Kanzanji Temple.