Found in between Tokyo and Mount Fuji, Hiratsuka is a metropolitan city within an hour’s drive from the busy capital. The mention of Hiratsuka to the locals would call up the Shonan Bellmare – Japan’s professional soccer team – where their home stadium is based.

While sports and Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival are the popular appeal, Hiratsuka has stunning sights for visitors to further indulge in Japanese arts and culture.

Hiratsuka Hachimangu Shrine

One of the Six Shrines of Sagami is the Hiratsuka Hachimangu Shrine. Following the aftermath of a major earthquake that destroyed the region, Emperor Nintoku has the temple built in the year 380. Then, Emperor Nintoku enshrined Emperor Ohjin – who was his father – as the deity of the shrine and prayed for the relief of the country. Till today, the shrine is regarded as the protector of Sagami.

The sacred pond filled with red carp, turtles and ducks is a sight to catch at the shrine. One may find the stillness and silence to be the beauty of the shrine. Today, the shrine is famous for the blessings of weddings and performing a purification ceremony for new cars.

Getting there
The shrine can be accessed following an 8-minute walk from Hiratsuka station. Hiratsuka Station is accessible via the JR Tokaido line, which is a 60-minute train ride from Tokyo station.

Admission fee Free of Charge
Operating hours 9am to 5pm

Hiratsuka Museum of Art 

Driven by the theme of “Shonan Art and Light”, Hiratsuka Museum of Art is a spacious exhibition with various displays of paintings, unique art, and sculptures. Incepted in 1991, the museum boasts a collection of approximately 10,000 artistic works.

The museum houses a broad range of artistic works of local and even foreign artists. Besides that, there is a public gallery downstairs that offers a display of ceramic objects and paintings with varying concepts such as landscapes, still life and abstract art pieces. As you leave the museum, do not forget to collect a souvenir postcard at the ticket counter.

Getting There
From Hiratsuka station, hop on the Kanagawa Chuo Bus no. 4 that departs from the east exit. Alight at “Bijyutukan Iriguchi”. From here, it is just a one-minute walk to the entrance of the Hiratsuka Museum of Art.

Admission fee Adults price starts at ¥200 and children enter free of charge
Operating hours 9am to 5pm

Hiratsuka Kana Garden

Hiratsuka Kana Garden is known for its specific “zones” dedicated to various purposes of flower appreciation. There are a variety of flowers throughout the year in the flower zone. On the other hand, the agricultural zone let visitors be part of the harvesting experience, gardening and farming activities that vary according to the season. The study zone of Megumi has an exhibition room, a workshop and a cookhouse perfect for the curious minds to learn more about gardening and agriculture.

The anticipating rose festival is held every spring and autumn where over 1,000 hybrids of roses bloom splendidly in this 9.2-hectare garden. Damask rose water and rose bath fragrance are popular souvenir choices here.

Getting There
• By bus from JR Tokaido Line Hiratsuka Station: Take the Hiratsuka Station north exit, bus stop No. 8, 71.74.75 system (for Hadano Station). Get off at “Hiratsuka Special Education School”. It’s a 5-minute walk to the garden.
• By bus from Hadano Station on the Odakyu Line: Take the Hadano Station North Exit, bus stop No. 1, 71/74 system (for Hiratsuka Station North Exit). Get off at “Hiratsuka Special Education School”. It’s a 5-minute walk to the garden.

Admission fee Varies according to season. Price starts at ¥110 for children and ¥220 for adults
Operating hours 9am to 5pm

This article is made possible by Kanagawa Japan Prefecture. 
Edited by Jessy Wong

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