This is a video by Hiroshi Hiyashi (I don't know him personally but if he happens to read this, I want to tell him great job!) of Hamamatsu Castle. Hamamatsu Castle is a reconstruction of the original castle and it sits within a park not far from downtown Hamamatsu. Hamamatsu-jo is known as the "Castle of Success" because its rulers each went on to illustrious careers. Most prominent among these is Tokugawa Ieyasu, who completed the unification of Japan and established the Tokogawa bakufu, the shogunate dynasty that ruled Japan for about 265 years. The park features a large field that's popular for frisbee tossing, soccer ball kicking and baseball tossing... and the ever-popular hanami, or cherry blossom viewing picnic.
There's a carp pond, shady garden paths and even an art museum within the park. When the weather's pleasant, Hamamatsu Castle is a relaxing place to spend an afternoon.
The castle was the first touristy spot I visited on my very first trip to Japan way back in 2003. My friend Mike and I were still a bit jet-lagged but I was definitely feeling the excitement of having fulfilled a lifelong dream-- visiting Japan. We got lost looking for the castle, turning back at one point; a few years later I learned we were mere yards from the park entrance and there would have been no way to miss it if we hadn't psyched ourselves out.
I'm not a believer in destiny or fate, but I do enjoy coincidences. We came to Hamamatsu because we have friends here, without knowing the Tokugawa connection. Since my interest in Tokugawa Ieyasu-- extending back into my childhood-- was one of the reasons I initially came to Japan, it was thrilling to learn I was beginning my personal journey here in a place where he had some of his earliest successes.