Hamada (浜田市) is a city in Shimane on the JR San'in Main Line.
There are two share taxis (乗り合いタクシー) a day to and from Hamada station which take just over an hour and cost ¥2000 per person. These must be booked before 21:00 the day before. Alternatively, take the bus to Masuda Station (15 minutes, ¥330) and change there to the JR San'in Line.
Hamada lies on the JR San'in Line, and is served by all trains which pass through.
There are seven Limited Express trains per day in each direction: four Super Matsukaze and three Super Oki. Heading east, these take 1 hr 15 min and ¥3190 to Izumoshi, 1 hr 40 min and ¥4620 to Matsue and about 2 hours and ¥5270 to Yonago. Five of these trains continue as far as Tottori, taking 3 hr 15 min and ¥7330 (though you can also change at Yonago). Going the other way, they take 35 minutes and ¥2030 to reach Masuda; Super Oki trains continue along the Yamaguchi Line to Tsuwano, Yamaguchi, and Shin-Yamaguchi, reaching the last of these in 2 hr 10 min and ¥4940.
There are five Rapid Aqua Liner trains to Yonago a day, taking about 3 hours and costing ¥2590 (1hr 40 min and ¥1490 from Izumoshi). Local trains take 2 hr 20 min from Izumoshi, and may be overtaken by a Limited Express en route. Local and Rapid trains from Masuda take about 50 minutes and cost ¥760.
Going by train all the way from Osaka takes no less than 5 hours (if going via Shin-Yamaguchi) and costs ¥15,840.
Using the Shinkansen to Shin-Yamaguchi, Hakata is 3hrs 15mins and ¥9460 away (3 hr 40 min and ¥9250 if avoiding Nozomi trains). Allow at least 4 hr 30 min if you want to take the local trains on the Yamaguchi Line instead.
As a cheaper alternative to the Japan Rail Pass, JR West sells two regional rail passes covering Hamada, which are available to Temporary Visitors with foreign passports:
- The San'in-Okayama Pass covers a large stretch of the San'in Main Line (from Hamasaka to Hagi), and a few rural lines in the mountains, including services to Okayama via Yonago or Tottori. It can be used on local and rapid trains and the non-reserved seats of Limited Express trains. It lasts 4 days and costs ¥4500 (¥5000 if bought in Japan).
- The San'yō-San'in Pass covers a vast area, stretching from Kansai's Urban Network to Takamatsu, Miyajima (via the JR ferry), and Hakata, and taking in the entire San'yō Shinkansen. It is valid on local and rapid trains and both reserved and non-reserved seats of Limited Express and Shinkansen trains (including Nozomi and Mizuho trains). It lasts 7 days and costs ¥19,000 (¥20,000 if bought in Japan).
The three following bus companies operate the Isaribi-gō 16 times a day from Hiroshima, taking 2:00 to 2:30, at a cost of ¥3030 one-way, ¥5340 return. This is a major shortcut to the San'yō Shinkansen at Hiroshima, and travelers from the east should consider using it even if they have a Rail Pass.
- Chūgoku JR Bus. Runs two day buses from Osaka Station JR Bus Terminal, taking just under 6 hours at a cost of ¥5500-6500.
- Iwami Kōtsū. Runs a night bus from Umeda (Hankyū Sanbangai and Herbis Osaka) and Kōbe Sannomiya, taking 7 hours and costing ¥8200 one-way, ¥13,900 return.
- Hanshin Bus. Runs a night bus from Umeda (Hankyū Sanbangai and Herbis Osaka) and Kōbe Sannomiya, taking 7 hours and costing ¥8200 one-way, ¥13,900 return.
- 1 [dead link] Aquas Aquarium (島根県立しまね海洋館アクアス), 1117-2 Kushiro-chō (15 minutes and ¥350 from Hamada Station to Aquas-mae by bus, on the Gōtsu Line, or 10 minutes walk from Hashi Station on the JR San'in Line (15 minutes and ¥200 by Local or Rapid train from Hamada)), ☏ . 09:00-17:00 (until 18:00 during August), closed Tuesdays. A small but interesting aquarium with 10,000 fish and mammals across 400 species. The main tank has a tunnel you can walk through as sharks swim above. ¥1540 adults, ¥510 children.
- The park next to the aquarium has a great adventure playground for kids. Kagura shows are held in the park on weekends (winter excepted). Kagura is traditional outdoor theater performed by actors with fixed-expression masks and spectacular costumes. They're accompanied by musicians on traditional instruments, notably drums and bamboo flute. Shows lasts for about an hour and tell stories of heroes vanquishing dragons. Entrance to the park and the kagura show is free.
- 2 Hamada Castle (浜田城) (25 minutes walk west from Hamada Station). It was built in 1620 and destroyed in the final days of the Tokugawa shogunate. The foundations are surrounded by a pleasant park, on a hill overlooking the harbor. A prefectural cultural asset.
- 3 Iwami Kokubunji Temple (石見国分寺). Believed to have been built in the late 8th century, although today only the great foundation stones of its tower remain. A prefectural cultural asset.
- 4 Tadaji (多陀寺). Thought to date from somewhere between the mid-10th and late 11th centuries, the temple houses 59 wooden Buddha statues (木造天部像群) in its main hall. A prefectural cultural asset.
- 5 Iwami Tatami ga Ura (石見畳ヶ浦). A rock configuration created by an earthquake in 1872, which rose the seabed 1.5 meters, leaving circular rocks protruding above the seashore. A national natural monument.
- Wooden Amida Nyorai-Ritsuzo - Made around 1255, this is an Annami style statue carved from a single block of wood. It is the principal image of Buddha in the Shinkakuin temple of the Jodo sect. An important national cultural asset.
- Ancient Sufu Tomb - A keyhole shape tomb, 66 metres in length, estimated to date from about the 5th century. A national cultural asset.
The city has many festivals that are of interest if your visit matches the dates. February: Izumo Taisha Iwami-bunshi Setsubun Festival; March: Tadaji Hatsuuma Festival; April: Hamakko Spring Festival and the Daimyo Parade; July: Kokubu Kinsai Festival; August: Hamakko Summer Festival, Fireworks, and Nagahama Hassakuhana Festival; October: Nagahama Tenjinreitai Festival; November: Hamada BB Onabe Festival and Iwami Kagura Festival.
- 1 Kokufu Beach (国府海水浴場) (10 minutes and ¥260 by bus from Hamada station to Senjōen-guchi, then 10 minutes walk, or 5 minutes and ¥190 by local train to Shimokō Station, then 17 minutes walk.). An amazing surf spot in Shimane. Locals are friendly. The surf is variable, better in winter, but extremely cold. In summer the water is warm, but the sea may be flat. A good place to be during typhoon season in late summer/autumn.
- 2 Iwami Seaside Park (石見海浜公園) (Close to Aquas.), ☏ . Nice beaches for swimming, snorkeling, and surfing. There are cabins and campsites for rent. Beware of strong currents on rough days, though. You can also watch kite surfers at the weekend.
If you're in search of food to buy as a souvenir, consider kare (dried flounder), fugu mirin-boshi, blowfish seasoned with sweet sake, kamaboko (boiled fish paste), ika-maki (squid rolls), or rikyu manju (sweet bean cakes). Other popular tourist items are the iwami kagura mask and the nagahama doll.
Some local specialties are unidon, sea urchin on a bed of rice, and anko nabe, angler pot stew.
- 1 Iwami Seaside Park (石見海浜公園) (Close to Aquas.), ☏ . A beautiful and peaceful spot. Bungalows for rent. Tents can be pitched, too.
|Routes through Hamada|
|Shimonoseki ← Masuda ←||W E||→ Gotsu → Matsue|