Music is sometimes called the universal language because of its ability to express and connect with our emotions even in the absence of words. Let us experience and understand music in Hamamatsu (浜松市), Japan’s City of Music!
Hamamatsu is one of the 23 cities in Shizuoka Prefecture. Manufacturing companies of musical instruments are mostly based in the city, making it a “City of Music.” Here are some of the things you can do in Hamamatsu!
Established in April 1995, the Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments has a collection of 3,300 musical instruments from all over the world – 1,100 of which are exhibited for everyone to see. The permanent exhibition features instruments from Asia, Africa, America, Oceania, Japan, and Europe, including Japanese-made European instruments and electric and electronic instruments. Their collection includes “Jegog,” the world’s largest bamboo gamelan, and a tamtam slit drum from Vanuatu.
The museum also has a hands-on room where you can touch and play the instruments and a reference corner where you can research about musical instruments. In recognition of its efforts in music education, the museum received the Koizumi Fumio Prize for Ethnomusicology in 2014.
Check out the museum gift shop, Andante, where you can get souvenirs for your friends and family. Some of the goods available in the shop are stationery, music boxes, keychains, assorted confectionery, and museum publications.
The Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments is open daily from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM, but closed on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month (except August), on Cleaning Day, and from December 29 to January 3. Admission fee is 800 yen for adults, 400 yen for high school students, and free for elementary and junior high school students, persons over 70 years old, and the disabled.
Music competitions cultivate talents and serve as important stepping stones in the careers of young artists. Some of these competitions are hosted in Hamamatsu.
The Hamamatsu International Piano Competition began in 1991 as part of the celebration of Hamamatsu City’s 80th Founding Anniversary. The 2015 competition gathered a total of 449 applicants from 42 countries. Held every three years since it started, the 10th Hamamatsu International Competition is slated for 2018.
Hamamatsu City also hosts the Mt. Fuji International Opera Competition of Shizuoka at the ACT CITY Hamamatsu Main Hall. Formerly known as the Shizuoka International Opera Competition, the competition began in 1996 to commemorate the 50th death anniversary of Japan’s very own prima donna, Miura Tamaki. Similar to the former competition, the Mt. Fuji International Opera Competition is also held every three years. The 8th competition received 191 applicants from 22 countries and takes place in 2017.
Jazz music takes over the city during Hamamatsu Jazz Week! Celebrated yearly since 1992, the event features a lot of activities, including the Yamaha Jazz Festival, Student Jazz Festival, Family Jazz Concert, Street Jazz Festival, and jazz lectures. It is truly an event that jazz music lovers cannot miss!
Amateur and professional musicians alike from all genres, ages, and nationalities share their passion for music in the two-day Yaramaika Music Festival. The word “yaramaika” means, “Let’s do it,” or “Let’s give it a try,” in the Hamamatsu dialect. Organized mainly by the citizens, the festival was launched in 2007.
Every musical performance is a unique experience. Indulge your senses as you experience the music of Hamamatsu!