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Hiratsuka City: 5 must-visit sightseeing spots

Hiratsuka City: 5 must-visit sightseeing spots

Looking for a lesser-known getaway nearby Tokyo? Hiratsuka City (平塚市 Hiratsuka-shi) is a seaside town located in the southern area of Kanagawa Prefecture (神奈川県 Kanagawa-ken). Facing Sagami Bay (相模湾 Sagami-wan), the city has many beautiful sceneries surrounded with abundant nature such as the sea, mountains, and seasonal flowers. You can enjoy fresh fish, vegetables, and fruits caught or harvested on the day itself. Located just 1-hour from Tokyo Station on the JR Tokaido Main Line (東海道本線 Tōkaidō-honsen), it is one of the most popular destinations to see Mount Fuji (富士山 Fuji-san). 

 

Hiratsuka City is also famous for its Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival (湘南平塚七夕祭り Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri) which is one of the biggest Tanabata festivals in Japan. With plenty to see in this picturesque city, here are 5 must-visit sightseeing spots during your trip to Hiratsuka City.

 

1. Sakitori Shrine

(Image credit: 平塚市観光協会)

 

Surrounded by lush zelkova, cherry blossom, and cedar trees, Sakitori Shrine (前鳥神社 Sakitori-jinja) is an old shrine that is known to be the home of the God of Learning and Academics, God of Activity and Good Fortune, and God of Fire Protection and Safety. With its rich history, many old artefacts such as pottery, rings, and books have also been discovered here. 

 

(Image credit: 平塚市観光協会)

 

When you visit Sakitori Shrine, there is a saying that goes that if you find a pine needle with four leaves, also known as Shiawase no matsu (幸せの松 pine of happiness), it will bring you good luck. You can also purchase their special daruma—that has been offered and prayed to for 6 days in front of the deity—for your family and loved ones.

 

Sakitori Shrine (前鳥神社)
Address: 4-14-26 Shinomiya, Hiratsuka-shi, Kanagawa 254-0014
Nearest station: Hiratsuka Station (平塚駅)
Access: 15-minutes bus ride from the north exit of the station, followed by a 3-minute walk from Sakitori Shrine Bus Stop
Operating hours: 8am–5pm (Goshuin/Amulet Reception), 9am–4:30pm (Prayer reception)
Tel: +81 463-55-1195

 

2. Hiratsuka Beach

(Image credit: 平塚市観光協会)

 

Hiratsuka Beach (​​平塚海岸 Hiratsuka kaigan) is a 4km long beach with the Shonan Bellmare Hiratsuka Beach Park (湘南ベルマーレひらつかビーチパーク) located in the middle where visitors can enjoy beach sports such as beach volleyball or soccer all-year round. This park is also equipped with shops and changing rooms.

 

(Image credit: 平塚市観光協会)

 

On the Hiratsuka Coast, there is the Sunset reflection on Hiratsuka Sand Dunes (平塚砂丘の夕映 Hiratsuka sakyū no yūbae) which is one of the eight top views of Hiratsuka. You can see Mount Fuji in the background of the television tower of Shonandaira (湘南平), another iconic symbol of Hiratsuka. It makes for the perfect photo spot where you can capture both the sea and Mount Fuji in one photo. 

 

Shonan Bellmare Hiratsuka Beach Park (湘南ベルマーレひらつかビーチパーク)
Address: 33-1 Takahamadai, Hiratsuka-shi, Kanagawa 254-0807
Nearest station: Hiratsuka Station (平塚駅)
Access: 20-minutes walk from the station’s South Exit
Opening hours: 9am–6pm
Tel: +81 463-23-4781

 

3. Hiratsuka Museum of Art

(Image credit: 平塚市観光協会)

 

Hiratsuka City is known for being a cultural hub in Kanagawa. Many artists have lived in the Shonan area including Hiratsuka since the Meiji Era. For example, the magazine Shirakaba (白樺), which had a great influence on modern Japanese art and literature, was developed in Kamakura (鎌倉), and Ryusei Kishida, who pursued a new style of oil painting, was developed in Kugenuma (鵠沼). Since then, many artists and writer are still active in the Shonan area. 

 

The Hiratsuka Museum of Art's (平塚市美術館 Hiratsuka-shi bijutsukan) main theme is “the art and light of Shonan," and it has a collection of about 13,000 works by artists and artists associated with the Shonan area. In addition to seven exhibitions a year, the museum holds various workshops for people of all ages.

 

Hiratsuka Museum of Art (平塚市美術館)
Address: 1-3-3 Nishi-yawata, Hiratsuka-shi, Kanagawa 254-0073
Nearest station: Hiratsuka Station (平塚駅)
Access: 20-minutes walk from the station’s East and West Exits
Opening hours: 9:30am–5pm (Last admission: 4:30pm) (Closed on Mondays and New Year holidays)
Admission fee: ¥200–¥800 (Fees differ based on the exhibitions)
Tel: +81 463-35-2111 

 

4. Kanagawa Prefectural Center of Flowers and Greenery, Kana Garden

A wide variety of seasonal flowers. (Image credit: 平塚市観光協会)

 

Kana Garden (花菜ガーデン), officially also known as Kanagawa Prefectural Center for Close Contact with Flowers and Greenery (神奈川県立花と緑のふれあいセンター) is a botanical garden located in Hiratsuka City. As the name suggests, this garden has facilities that allow you to experience vegetable harvesting on the weekends from late June to late September. There are also various restaurants and shops you can visit to have a lunch break while enjoying the beautiful, breathtaking view.

 

(Image credit: Cookie M / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

One of the main feature of Kana Garden, is their Rose Garden (バラ園 bara-en). It boasts one of the largest varieties in the Kanto Region (関東地方 Kanto-chihō), and there are sections divided by types of roses such as mini roses, modern roses, and old roses. There is also the fragrant rose area where visitors can enjoy the luxury of roses’ fragrance like that of perfume. If you would like to see the roses in full bloom, it is best to visit during spring and autumn. 

 

Kana Garden (花菜ガーデン)
Address: 496-1 Teradanawa, Hiratsuka, Kanagawa 259-1215
Nearest station: Hiratsuka Station (平塚駅)
Access: 20-minute bus ride from bus stop No. 8, 71, 74, 75 (for Hadano Station) at the North Exit of Hiratsuka Station. Get off at Hiratsuka Yogogakko-mae Bus Stop, followed by a 5-minute walk to Kana Garden.
Opening hours: 9am–5pm (March, April, June–November), 9am–4pm (January, February and December), 8:30am–5pm (May)
Closed days: 2nd and 4th Wednesday (July–September), every wednesday (December–February), 28 December–4 January
Admission fee: ¥400 (65 years old and above), ¥550 (20–64 years old), ¥300 (high school student / student / under 20 years old), ¥200 (elementary and junior high school students)
Tel: +81 463-73-6170
*Admission fee varies based on different seasons

 

5. Komayama Park

(Image credit: 平塚市観光協会)

 

Komayama Park (高麗山公園 Kōmayamakōen) is located on Shonandaira, a plateau 180m above sea level. It is one of the most popular spots in Hiratsuka City, offering a superb 360º panoramic view of Mount Fuji, Sagami Bay, and nearby mountains, with two large observation decks—one on the TV Tower and the other in the Koraizan Park Rest House. It has received many awards such as one of the best 100 night views in Japan. 

 

(Image credit: 平塚市観光協会)

 

In spring, crowds gather to enjoy hanami (花見) when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. It is known as one of the 50 scenic spots in Kanagawa, and about 2,000 cherry trees with varieties such as Yoshino cherry tree and Prunus speciosa bloom as early as late-March. In addition, at Flat, a restaurant in the park, you can enjoy delicious local seasonal flavours such as fresh fish from Sagami Bay and fresh vegetables sent directly from farmers.

 

Komayama Park (高麗山公園)
Address: 790 Manda, Hiratsuka, Kanagawa 254-0913
Nearest station: Hiratsuka Station (平塚駅)
Access: 23-minute bus ride from Hiratsuka Station north exit bus stop No. 35 to Shonandaira Bus Stop.
Tel: +81 463-31-6722

 

There are plenty more to do in Hiratsuka City that have not been listed here. If you would like to explore more of Kanagawa Prefecture, Hiratsuka City is approximately a 30-minute train ride to the neighbouring tourist destinations of Kamakura and Hakone—making it the perfect hub for your journey in Kanagawa Prefecture.

 

Header image credit: 平塚市観光協会

 

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