History & Culture
Located in nearly the center of the Japanese archipelago and blessed with a pleasant climate, Shizuoka Prefecture has been inhabited since ancient times.
In Shizuoka City are the Toro Ruins – dwellings of great historical importance from the Yayoi Period, which was the time that rice cultivation began (approx. 3rd century B.C.).
There are also many shrines and temples remaining throughout the prefecture.
Even today, the Mishima Taisha Shrine and the Okuni Shrine, and the Hattasan Son-eiji Temple, which is believed to dispel bad luck and evil spirits, are visited by many people offering prayers before the Gods.
Popular spots such as Hamamatsu Castle – a former residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, and Kunozan Toshogu Shrine which enshrines this shogun who once ruled the land, give you the chance to admire Japanese culture through the fascinating architectural beauty of that period.
The scenic beauty of the area attracted many cultural figures, and the ryokans and hot springs of the Izu area were particularly loved by some of the greatest writers of Japanese literature.
Izu was the setting for many famous novels such as Kawabata Yasunari’s The Izu Dancer and Ozaki Koyo’s The Golden Demon.
Another of Shizuoka Prefecture’s charms is its large number of museums boasting a wide range of genres from traditional Japanese to contemporary European art.
The Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art houses a stunning collection of Rodin’s works, and the Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments displays over 1,000 articles from around the globe.
The Tokaido Hiroshige Art Museum features Utagawa Hiroshige’s world-famous Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido ukiyo-e prints.
Shizuoka Prefecture has something for everyone – an exotic blend of Japanese culture, history and contemporary life that will stimulate your curiosity and capture your imagination.
Shizuoka Prefecture features a warm and comfortable climate.
The surrounding mountains and ocean waters make Shizuoka rich in nature.
Nothing compares to the breathtaking Mt. Fuji, the highest and most beautiful mountain in Japan.
In winter, Mt. Fuji offers fabulous scenes with its white, snow-covered landscape.
In summer, mountain climbers have the chance to be mesmerized by the awe of the rising sun.
The lakes, caves, and other geographical features formed around Mt. Fuji when it erupted have a mystical presence.
There are many locations in Shizuoka where people can enjoy the fascinating views of Mt. Fuji.
The views of the mountain are said to be especially beautiful from Asagiri Highland and Lake Tanuki in Fujinomiya City, and Satta Pass and Miho Beach located in Shizuoka City.
Shizuoka Prefecture also features Sagami Bay, Suruga Bay, and the Sea of Enshu, which together make up its fantastic coast.
The smooth, white sandy beaches and thrilling steep cliffs will always keep you satisfied.
After spending the day enjoying marine sports and sampling the delicious seafoods of different areas, visitors can unwind to the sounds of the waves and enjoy the romantic ocean sunset.
Shizuoka Prefecture is a treasure trove of hot springs.
The Izu, Central and Western regions are dotted with hot spring areas each with an original, distinctive character.
First is the famous hot spring area Izu.
Atami Spa bustles with tourists and families, and Izu’s oldest hot spring, Shuzenji Spa, is located in the central area.
Named ‘Little Kyoto’, it is surrounded by greenery and has a quiet, peaceful atmosphere.
In Western Izu is Dogashima Spa which boasts a beautiful sunset view from the hot spring.
In the Central Area is the well-known Sumatakyo Spa standing at the foot of the South Alps.
It is a quiet and idyllic hot spring with an atmosphere of times gone by.
You can visit this hot spring by the steam locomotive that runs daily.
Another popular hot spring is the quiet Umegashima Spa hidden away in the upper reaches of the Abe River.
In the Western Area is the famous resort of Kanzanji Spa.
This hot spring area lying on the east coast of Lake Hamana is lined with large resort hotels and ryokans, and nearby are old historic temples and the Tokai area’s largest stalactite caves.
Shizuoka’s hot spring areas boast many different characteristics with something for everyone to enjoy.
Shizuoka is a treasure house full of mouthwatering foods! Its seafood ranks at the top of the list.
Many types of fish, including maguro (tuna) and katsuo (bonito), which are caught in Suruga Bay, are used as essential ingredients in sushi.
There are many eateries that offer fresh seafood, especially around the fishing ports.
Shizuoka is well-known for its unagi (eel) which are raised in pure water.
The sweet and salty grilled unagi is sure to rejuvenate our visitors in no time.
Shizuoka is also known by some for its Nihonshu (Japanese rice wine) thanks to its pristine water.
Made by using an original fermentation process, the Nihonshu from Shizuoka is popular for its fruity and light taste.
Presently, Shizuoka is overflowing with new regional specialties.
Foods such as Fujinomiya Yakisoba (fried noodles), Shizuoka Oden (soy-flavored broth with many ingredients), and Hamamatsu Gyoza (fried dumplings) play an important part in the lives of local residents.
Join the locals and enjoy these dishes together!
Shopping plays a large role in the overall travel experience.
Traditional Japanese crafts are highly recommended as souvenirs that capture the spirit of Shizuoka.
Wooden handicrafts, such as Suruga Lacquer Ware, Suruga Sashimono (woodwork created without the use of nails or adhesives), and Suruga Take Sensuji Zaiku (Suruga Sensuji Bamboo Ware), are functionally durable as well as aesthetically pleasing as they are delicately crafted in the same time honored traditions.
The fabric products unique to Shizuoka are superb, which include kuzufu, a type of cloth woven from fibers of the kuzu plant which is rustic in appearance, and Hamamatsu Chusen Some, which is beautifully colored cloth used for making yukata (light cotton kimono).
As far as edible souvenirs are concerned, nothing beats Shizuoka’s green tea.
Shizuoka Prefecture is known as the best place in Japan for green tea.
Green tea features both an invigorating scent and a subtle balance between sweetness and bitterness that are quite exquisite.
There are also many new sweets and snack currently under development that are made with green tea which serves as a preservative.
Green tea can be easily purchased in shopping centers throughout Shizuoka.
In addition to being a popular domestic scuba diving destination due to the ocean’s wonderful high visibility, Shizuoka’s eastern region of Izu features aquariums, amusement parks, and tennis courts located in the highlands.
Also located in the eastern region is the Fuji area, where, in addition to climbing Mt. Fuji in the summer, visitors can experience paragliding, horseback riding, and camping in the Asagiri Highlands which span the base of the mountain.
When visiting the central region, we recommend swimming in the waters off the shallow beaches as well as wind surfing at Omaezaki.
In the Oi River, you can ride along the river on a nostalgic steam locomotive and experience the thrills of riding over the suspension bridge located upriver.
The western region is paradise for marine sports such as motor boating and wakeboarding.
In addition, people enjoy golf all year round thanks to Shizuoka’s warm climate.
Most notable are the many golf courses located around the base of Mt. Fuji and near the Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Airport.
The thrill of driving balls towards Mt. Fuji brings golfer satisfaction to a whole new level.
In addition, there are courses that blend into the natural environs of the different regions where players can enjoy views of the ocean and Mt. Fuji.
In Japan, hotels can be divided into four basic categories.
First, there is the ryokan.
There are many ryokans in Shizuoka Prefecture’s hot spring towns.
The buildings are traditional Japanese style and the rooms have tatami mats.
They are equipped with a large hot spring bath which guests can use freely.
A smaller version of a ryokan is the minshuku.
These are family run guest houses with a warm, homely atmosphere.
The rooms are smaller than in a ryokan, but many make up for this in the wonderful homemade food that they serve.
City hotels are generally very luxurious and there are many world-famous chain hotels and long established Japanese hotels which offer excellent foreign language services.
These large-scale hotels are located around train stations and in resort areas.
Business hotels are comparatively cheaper and have long been used by workers on business trips, however recently they have begun offering a prominent and hospitable service aimed at tourists.
The main railroads in Shizuoka are the JR (Japan Railway) Tokaido Shinkansen and the Tokaido Main Line that traverse the prefecture from east to west.
The Tomei Highway Bus makes several runs in a day.
Other modes of transport between the numerous tourist attractions in Shizuoka include "resort trains" (special trains that run in the popular tourist areas), steam locomotives, round-trip buses, and ropeways.
These modes of transport, each unique in their own way, will make your journey more enjoyable.
Central Japan Railway Company (JR Tokai)
The JR Tokaido Shinkansen that makes stops at stations in Shizuoka are the Hikari and Kodama trains.
The stations that Hikari trains stop at differ by train, so be sure to check in advance.
Tomei Highway Bus
The Tomei Highway Bus makes several runs a day between Shizuoka and Tokyo, and Shizuoka and Nagoya.
Fares are cheaper than the Shinkansen and reservations are not required.
"Resort trains" run exclusively between the popular tourist destinations.
The most typical "resort train" is the Izukyuko Line (Resort 21) that runs to and from Atami Station and covers the eastern part of the Izu area.
Steam locomotives / Abt system railway
The Oigawa Railways operates steam locomotives to transport tourists in the inland regions of Central Shizuoka.
The trains make one round-trip a day (two on weekends in the spring and summer time) between Kanaya and Senzu, with the journey one way taking approximately one hour and twenty minutes.
The company also operates, on a daily basis, Japan's only (and one of the world's few) Abt system railway between Senzu and Ikawa Stations.
The train ride offers a panoramic view of the scenic beauty of Okuoi.
Tour boats / Ferries
Tourists can also enjoy pleasant boat rides in Shizuoka.
The Suruga Bay Ferry makes round trips between Shimizu Port and Toi Port in the Izu area, taking approximately an hour each way.
Tour boats also operate in many other locations in the Izu area, and on the Lake Hamana in Western Shizuoka.
Tourist buses are an effective means of transport for sightseeing in Shizuoka.
Operated by bus companies and by railroad companies, they offer half-day trips (approximately 3 hours) and full-day trips (7 ? 8 hours).
Details can be obtained at the Tourist Information Center in front of stations or at the bus companies' sales offices.
Take a ropeway ride
Numerous ropeway services operate in Shizuoka.
These include the Nihondaira Ropeway in Central Shizuoka operating between Nihondaira and Kunozan; the Kanzanji Ropeway in Western Shizuoka operating between Kanzanji and Okusa; the Katsuragi-yama Panorama Park Ropeway in the Izu area operating between Izunagaoka Spa and Katsuragi-yama; and the Shimoda Ropeway operating between Shimoda and Mt. Nesugata.
Each of these offers a 3 - 7 minute (one-way) aerial view of the area.
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