Nearby attractions include:

• Kanzanji temple believed to have been founded in 810 by the famous monk Kobo Daishi (Kukai). The grounds extend over the forested peninsula with walking tracks through the forest,  a giant statue of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy and views across the water.

• Hamamatsu Flower Park, with some 100,000 plants covering 3,000 different species. There is a western garden with a fountain, a rose garden, lawns, a western garden with glass houses, Balinese and Mexican gardens, as well as a Japanese garden with pine forest and a stream.

• Hamamatsu City Zoo, with over 450 animals including gorillas, orangutan and other monkeys in one of the largest collections of primates in Japan.

• Hamanako Pal Pal Amusement Park with a Ferris wheel, roller coasters, merry go rounds and water slides and merry-go-rounds.

• Kanzanji Ropeway, connecting Hamanako Pal Pal with the summit of Okusayama, which offers a free observatory and Hamanako Music Box Museum.

• Sightseeing boats offer thirty minute or one-hour cruises out of Kanzanji's inlet. Boats can be boarded at Kanzanji Temple or the entrance to Hamamatsu Flower Park.

• Bentenjima island, where the sea meets the lake, was originally a small peninsula of the lakeside and was formed by cutting off by the earthquake in 1498. It is a popular spot for fishing, digging clams and water sports.

• Former Arai Checkpoint on the Tokaido route between Tokyo and Kyoto, located on the south-west side of the lake 700 metres west of JR Araimachi station. The buildings were rebuilt in 1855, making it the only remaining Edo Period checkpoint. The historic Kinokuniya Inn is close by.

© Ian Hughes 2017