Shizuoka Japan – Located on the Pacific coast in the middle of Honshu is the quaint little city of Shizuoka. As the capital of Shizuoka Prefecture, the city holds over 700,000 residents with a main city center situated around Shizuoka Station. The city is best known for the scenic views it offers of nearby Mt. Fuji, and also the local tea leaves that visitors come to enjoy. Located almost directly between Tokyo and Osaka, this city is easy to get to, but hard to leave since you’ll be enjoying your stay too much to want to go!
It’s no wonder that the two kanji used to write Shizuoka mean ‘still’ or ‘calm’ and ‘hills’, as the area gives off a sense of peace and tranquility with various geological formations to explore. The hottest months to visit Shizuoka are in June, July, and August, when the weather is hot and humid and temperatures can get up to almost 40ºC (102ºF). The coldest months are between December and March, when the weather is cold and dry and temperatures drop as low as -7ºC (19ºF). It’s recommended to visit during spring and autumn for the best weather conditions.
Along with the beautiful mountains, rivers, and lakes that are found throughout the area, Shizuoka also offers local delicacies such as green tea, strawberries, beaches, mandarin oranges, potatoes, Kinkaku soy flour mochi, oden, gyoza, soba noodles, zoni soup, tororo, and lotus roots. There are three festivals held in the city – Shizuoka Festival in April, Abekawa Fireworks in July, and Daidogei World Cup in November – that locals and visitors can partake in together. Be sure to check your calendar before you come to see if you can join in on the festivities!
There’s plenty to see, do, eat, buy, and enjoy in Shizuoka! This guide will give you some tips, tricks, and recommendations to getting the most out of your time in this lovely city! You’ll get the low-down on how to get there, where to stay, and points of interest that you should look out for in the city!
How to get there?
The fastest, easiest way to get to Shizuoka from Tokyo is by taking the JR Tokaido Shinkansen. The train takes roughly 60 to 90 minutes, and Japan Rail Passes can be used to ride the trains. There are also highway buses available that take nearly three hours to get from Tokyo to Shizuoka, but are nearly half the price of a Shinkansen ticket. Local trains can also get a person to Shizuoka from Tokyo, but there are a fee transfers to be had, typically at Atami Station. The journey by local train takes three hours as well. You can also opt to drive a personal car the distance, though it will take at least two and a half to three hours using toll roads.
Heading to Shizuoka from Osaka using the JR Tokaido Shinkansen takes less than two hours and is covered by the Japan Rail Pass. Overnight buses take eight hours to get from Osaka to Shizuoka, and discount buses are offered to lessen the costs. If you prefer to take local trains, you’ll be looking at making three to four transfers over the course of the seven hour trip. A personal car will take over four hours to reach the city utilizing toll roads.
Where to stay?
Shizuoka Japan – Guesthouse Hitoyado
If you’re looking to make some new friends and meet the locals during your stay, then Guesthouse Hitoyado is perfect for you! Offering free WiFi throughout the property and continental breakfasts every morning, this lovely guesthouse will have you feeling relaxed and refreshed after a day of sightseeing and exploring. Each room has a shared bathroom, and the staff go above and beyond to ensure that you have a great stay!
Why Guests Love It: Guests appreciate the cleanliness and comfort found throughout the property, and also enjoy the traditional Japanese decorations and accessories. With a cute little cafe situated directly beneath the guesthouse, visitors can enjoy a delightful beverage in a spacious without ever leaving the building! With such an inviting atmosphere, large array of reading materials, and friendly staff, guests say that it’s the best place to stay at in Shizuoka!
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Shizuoka Japan – Garden Hotel
If location is an important factor to your trip, then the Garden Hotel Shizuoka will likely be the number one place you’ll want to stay! Situated just minutes away from the train station in the heart of Shizuoka’s main shopping, dining, and entertainment district, this spacious hotel is right at the center of the action. Complete with a lovely rooftop garden – which is where the hotel gets its name from – to relax and unwind in, you’ll find that this hotel is a paradise of comfort perfect for recharging your battery after a long day.
Why Guests Love It: Guests appreciate the excellent Western and Asian buffet breakfast and large, modern, clean rooms. The staff not only speaks your language, but will also go out of their way to share their knowledge of the surrounding areas. Add in the onsite massage availability and you’ve got one amazing hotel!
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Shizuoka Japan – Mihoen Ryokan
If you’ve ever wanted to try an authentic Japanese hot spring experience, than a stay at Mihoen Ryokan might be just right for you! There’s a hot spring bath and sauna right on the property that guests can use to relax and unwind in. Every room has a private bath with free toiletries, air conditioning, and a flat-screen TV.
Why Guests Love It: Guests are most in love with the private hot springs, beautiful scenic views of the surrounding area, and easy access to relaxing locations. You can see Mt. Fuji from your room, take a luxurious walk on the beach, and even take beautiful photos of the fabulous views! For those who just can’t wait to get to where they’re going, there are also bikes available to rent.
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Shizuoka Japan #1 – Miho no Matsubara
Combining a beautiful pine grove, a lovely beach, and breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji, Miho no Matsubara is a place in Shizuoka you don’t want to miss! As the legends go, a beautiful celestial maiden once hung her heavenly kimono amongst the pine trees to enjoy a swim in the ocean. A fisherman found her kimono, and agreed to return it to her if she would dance for him. There are several location around the area that feature statues or other features dedicated to the tale that are very interesting to observe! Many tourists come to this place not only because of the great story behind it, but also to see the amazing view of Mt. Fuji from the beach!
Shizuoka Japan #2 – Mount Aino
Having the title of fourth tallest summit in Japan makes Mt. Aino a spot that should be visited by adventurers, explorers, and mountaineers alike. Located on the boarder of Shizuoka and Yamanashi Prefecture, many hikers enjoy hiking along Mt. Aino, Mt. Kita, and Mt. Notorious since they are so close together. It’s recommended to hike up the mountain during the autumn season, as the foliage turns a lovely shad of red and yellow to contrast the amazing views!
Spot #3 – Shizuoka Sengen Shrine
At the Shizuoka Sengen Shrine, you’ll see not one, not two, but three different Shinto shrines in one place! Comprised of the Kanbe Shrine, Sengen Shrine, and Otoshimioya Shrine, the Shizuoka Sengen Shrine cannot come more highly recommended by the thousands of visitors who explore the area every year. Near the shrines is a small trekking route that leads into the mountains. The main festival of the shrine takes place each and every year on April 5th, though there’s always something to see or do at the shrine year round!
Shizuoka Japan #4 – Nihondaira Ropeway
If you’re not one to go through the rigors of hiking, try a ropeway instead! The Nihondaira Ropeway climbs Nihondaira to give views of the city below. You can see Suruga Bay and Mt. Fuji on clear days, and the surrounding scenery and foliage are best seen with an arial view. The ropeway will take guests to Kunozan Toshogu Shrine, all while presenting guests with gorgeous scenic views along the way. There is also a small park near the ropeway that’s great for taking large panoramic shots of Mt. Fuji, Suruga Bay, Shimizu Port, the nearby tea fields, and the surrounding area!
Shizuoka Japan #5 – Kunozan Toshogu Shrine
Unless you’re feeling up to climbing over one thousand stone steps that zig zag up Nihondaira’s mountainside, you can always use the Nihondaira Ropeway to access Kunozan Toshogu Shrine. The shrine itself is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, a famous leader who ended a long-standing civil war and united people all across Japan. The shrine was erected as Ieyasu’s final wish for a mausoleum on mt. Kunozan, along with the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko where his final resting place is. Outside the shrine is the Museum of Kunozan Toshogu, which has some of Ieyasu’s possessions and treasures from the shrine on display.
Spot #6 – Umegashima Hot Spring
Located upstream of the Abe River, Umegashima Onsen is a small spa town located deep in Shizuoka. You can catch a bus from Shizuoka Station to arrive in the area in as little as an hour. Not only can you relax and enjoy any of the numerous onsen in the area, but the surrounding foliage – which changes seasonally – is spectacular to view as well! March marks the best time to see plum blossoms, April and May give way to mountain cherry blossoms, October and November offer gorgeous autumn sceneries and summer and winter bring about green foliage and snow! Umegashima Onsen is a great place to enjoy onsen, hiking, and sightseeing all year long!
Shizuoka Japan #7 – Chibi Maruko-chan Land
If you’re at all familiar with the popular Japanese anime ‘Chibi Maruko-chan’, then you’ll love this larger-than-life museum all about the show! The original author, Momoko Sakura, is originally from Shizuoka, and opened the museum in the S-Pulse Dream Plaza so that fans could get an inside look and realistic feel for the show. There’s plenty to do at the museum, like take pictures with characters of the show, dress up in costumes, gaze at valuable original artwork, and explore the vast souvenir shop filled with all things Chibi Maruko-chan! This museum is especially great for younger travelers, as it features many child-friendly activities!
Shizuoka Japan #8 – Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art
Since opening their doors in 1986, the Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art has continued to provide interesting pieces for visitors to view, contemplate, and appreciate. There are around 2,450 different paintings inspired by the landscapes of the East and West, and short-term exhibitions are changed year round. This museum boasts the title of having the only permanent display of a collection of 32 beautiful works of Rodin, including The Gates of Hell! For true art lovers – and those than can enjoy beautiful pieces – this museum is an absolute joy to visit!
No matter where your interests lie, there’s always something to do in Shizuoka that everyone can enjoy. Whether it’s looking at the beautiful shrines or scenery, enjoying a relaxing day in hot springs, immersing yourself in the world of an anime character, or learning about art and history at a museum, every visit to Shizuoka is sure to be a good one. For an area that has been inhabited since prehistoric times, Shizuoka has definitely managed to maintain its presence as an interesting place to live in or visit!