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Shizuoka

Mild climate and a variety of natural features at the sweeping foot of Mt. Fuji,  the highest mountain in Japan
Shizuoka is located in the southeast of Central Japan and faces the Pacific Ocean. Lying halfway between Tokyo and Osaka, it has prospered for a long time as the meeting point of east and west, both cultural and economical. Since the Fuji volcanic belt embracing such volcanoes as Mt. Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, Mt. Ashitaka and Mt. Togasa, extends to the Izu-hanto Peninsula, Shizuoka has affluent hot springs at Atami, Ito, Shuzen-ji and many other places, which makes the prefecture one of major sightseeing and relaxation spots in this country. What is more, Shizuoka boasts a variety of natural features with the Suruga Bay, Enshu-nada (the Sea of Enshu) and Lake Hamana-ko, rivers such as the Tenryu-gawa River and Oi-gawa River and the plain spreading to the mouths of these rivers.

The city of Shizuoka, the center of local administration and economy, was the capital town of a daimyo's fief where the Sunpu Castle of the ruler Tokugawa Ieyasu, a warlord of the Sengoku (civil war) age, stood. Besides the ruins of the castle, there are the Toro remains in which you can see the reproductions of ancient houses and high-floored granaries dating back to the 3rd to 4th centuries B.C. and the Kuno-san Tosho-gu that has a Chinese style gate in the city.

West of the prefecture lies the city of Hamamatsu with the Kanzan-ji hot spring long known as a celebrated moon-viewing spot. Every May, the Nakata-jima dune, located in the outskirts of the city, is thronged with fans and spectators visiting there for giant kite fighting.

Getting there
About 1 hour to Shizuoka Station from Tokyo Station and about 2 hours from Shin-Osaka Station by JR Shinkansen Line.
 

  • Amagi-toge Pass and Seven Waterfalls in Kawazu
    An old mountain passage once taken up as the setting for a famous novel
    Seven magnificent waterfalls aligned one after another
    An old historical mountain pass crossing Amagi Pass, about 820m above sea level at its peak, located in the center of Izu-hanto Peninsula, leads through beautiful cedars and cypresses to the main setting of the novel Izu no Odoriko (A Dancer in Izu) written by Kawabata Yasunari, a Nobel prize laureate writer.

    Yugashima-onsen Hot Spring, located at the junction where two rivers, the Kano-gawa River and the Nekko-gawa River merge, is known as a calm and composed spa which used to be cherished by many writers, including Mr. Kawabata. The old passage through the mountain pass of Izu, embraced by rich and deep forests, still preserves the atmosphere of an older time. This is the site of the number one waterfall in the Izu district, Joren-no-taki Fall, where you can enjoy the magnificent view of massive volumes of water falling from atop the soaring rock mountain.

    The Kawazu-gawa River originates around Amagi Pass and flows through the eastern part of the peninsula. There are seven waterfalls on its upper course, known as the Kawazu Nanadaru, where you can walk alongside the stream along a well set out promenade to appreciate the series of waterfalls. They are named from the uppermost going downstream, Kama-daru, Ebi-daru, Hebi-daru, Shokei-daru, Kani-daru, Deai-daru and Oh-daru. The largest of all is Oh-daru, which measures about 7m wide and 30m high.

    Getting there
    About 65 Minutes from Tokyo Station to Mishima Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line or about 2 Hours 50 Minutes from Shin-Osaka Station. From Mishima Station to Shuzenji Station by Izu-Hakone Sunzu Line for about 33 Minutes. By Tokai bus, 25 Minutes from Shuzenji to Yugashima, about 45 Minutes to Amagi pass, and about 65 Minutes to Kawazu-Nanadaru. Alternatively, you can take a train from Tokyo to Kawazu Station for about 2 Hours 35 Minutes by JR Tokaido Line, Ito Line and a Izukyuko Limited Express. From Kawazu Station to Kawazu-Nanadaru by bus of Tokai Bus Co., about 25 Minutes and to Amagi pass, about 45 Minutes.

     

  • Atami and Ito
    An international hot spring resort with many museums
    33,000 liters of hot spring water pours into the city every minute
    Located at the root of the Izu-hanto Peninsula, Atami and Ito that face Sagami Bay are areas with modern hotels, Japanese inns with historical backgrounds and various amusement facilities standing next to each other, forming one of the leading hot spring resorts in Japan.

    In Atami there is the famous Atami Hot Spring, Izu-yama-onsen Hot Spring, Izu-Yugawara-onsen Hot Spring and Ajiro-onsen Hot Spring, and at the heart of the Atami Hot Spring resort is the Oyu Geyser that spouts up a huge quantity of hot water. Also, atop the hill on the mountainside of Atami Station is the MOMA Museum that possesses approximately 3,500 mainly oriental paintings and applied arts. There is a Noh theater and a golden tearoom annexed on the compound of the Museum.

    In Ito, the Ito Hot Spring on the Matsu-kawa River that runs through the city boasts of an abundant quantity of hot water that reaches 33,000 liters every minute, one of the largest in the Kanto region. There are many museums of various sizes in the city: Ikeda 20th Century Museum that specializes in arts created with the theme "human" by artists of the 20th century; and a sound museum, the Izu Music Box Museum, that exhibits antique music boxes from all over the world as well as about 80 automated musical instruments.

    Getting there
    About 40 minutes from Tokyo Station to Atami Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. About 1 hour from Atami Station to Ito Station by JR Ito Line. About 2 hours 15 minutes from Shin Osaka Station to Atami Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line.

     

  • Higashi Izu
    The Atagawa Banana and Crocodile Park that has over 300 crocodiles
    The zoo and bio park have over 500 wild animals and 600 birds
    Higashi Izu facing the Sagami Sea has a mountain rising straight out of the sea, and fishing ports such as Inatori, Hokkawa, and Katase along its intricate coastline. It has abundant hot springs and the Atagawa, Inatori, Katase and Okawa hot spring resorts have developed here.

    The abundant and historical Atagawa-onsen Hot Spring is one of the representative hot springs in Higashi Izu, said to have been found by Dokan Ota, a warlord in the 15th century, while he was hunting. It is a quiet hot spring resort that would take you less than an hour to tour, and attracts visitors all-year-round.

    In the area there is the Oyukake Benzaiten, a goddess believed to bring good fortune if you make a wish while pouring hot water over her statue, an outside bath, Isono-yu, from which you can enjoy the view of the sea, and the Atagawa Banana and Crocodile Park that has 300 crocodiles of 27 species and Tropical Botanical Garden.

    Inatori-onsen Hot Spring is a resort that covers the whole of Inatori Point that sticks out in to the Pacific Ocean, and on a sunny day you can see the distant Oshima Island, one of the seven Izu Islands. There is a zoo and Izu Bio Park at Inatori Kogen, that houses 500 wild animals of about 50 species and 600 birds of about 60 species kept loose.

    Getting there
    About 2 hour 18 minutes from Tokyo Station to Izu Atagawa Station by JR Izu Kyuko-sen Tokkyu Limited Express. About 3 hours from Shin Osaka Station to Atami Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and about 50 minutes from Atami Station to Izu Atagawa Station by Izu Kyuko Line Limited Express.

     

  • Lake Hamana-ko
    A salt lake with an intricate shoreline
    A park with around 100,000 plants of 3,000 different species
    Lake Hamana-ko is situated in the western part of Shizuoka, on the border with Aichi. It used to be a fresh water lake, but the earthquake that took place at the end of the 15th century cut the sandbank that had closed the lake, connecting the lake to Enshu Nada Sea. Later, in the 16th century, a tsunami broke and further opened the mouth of the lake, creating a salt-water lake with an intricate shoreline that is the current Lake Hamana-ko.

    On the eastern shore of Lake Hamana-ko is a relatively new onsen resort that was opened in the mid-20th century, Kanzanji-onsen Hot Spring. It is surrounded on three sides by the lake and it can boasts of the surrounding natural beauty as well as its own hotel facilities, the largest on the lake.

    The Hamamatsu City Flower Park has around 100,000 plants of approximately 3,000 different species. It has a western garden with a large fountain and a large, geometrically patterned flowerbed, as well as a Japanese garden with pine forest and a stream. They are popular among flower lovers throughout the seasons. There are also other leisure facilities such as a theme park called Lake Hamana-ko Pal Pal, complete with adventurous attractions.

    The Lake Hamana-ko tour boat is also available allowing you to enjoy the scenery from the surface of the lake. You can also enjoy the scenery from mid air aboard the Kanzan-ji ropeway that connects Lake Hamana-ko Pal Pal with the lookout at the peak of Mt. Okusa at 113 meters above sea level.

    Getting there
    About 1 hour 25 minutes from Tokyo Station to Hamamatsu Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and about 1 hour 30 minutes from Shin Osaka Station. About 40 minutes from Hamamatsu Station to Kanzanji-onsen by bus.

     

  • Mt. Fuji
    The highest mountain in Japan with a beautiful conic shape - The center of mountain worship since ancient days
    Mt. Fuji is 3,776m high and is the highest mountain in Japan situated at the border of southeastern Yamanashi and Shizuoka. With its unrivaled magnificence and beautiful conic shape, Mt. Fuji has often been selected as the subject for paintings and literature. It is the world famous symbol of Japan. At the foot of Mt. Fuji, there are the Five Lakes of Fuji, the Aoki-ga-hara Sea of Forest that is dark even during the day, as well as Kitaguchi-Hongu Fuji-Sengen Shrine that was constructed to calm the eruption of Mt. Fuji. The Fire Festival of Yoshida, held at the end of the year as a ritual of closing the climbing season for Mt. Fuji, is one of the three most peculiar festivals in Japan.

    Mt. Fuji has long been the center for the mountain worship of ancient Japan. Today, it is a popular mountain to climb, and many people climb Mt. Fuji to watch the sunrise called Goraiko from the top. The access to the 5th station is well maintained, so you can go up to this point and thoroughly enjoy the magnificence of Mt. Fuji by just looking at the beautiful scenery close at hand without endeavoring to climb all the way to the top.

    Getting there
    Take JR Chuo Main Line from Shinjuku Station and transfer at Otsuki Station. Take Fujikyu to Kawaguchi-ko Station. It takes 1 hour and 50 minutes. Take a bus from Kawaguchi-ko Station to the 5th station of Mt. Fuji. It takes 50 minutes.

     

  • Nihon-daira Plateau
    Enjoy the panoramic view of Mt. Fuji from Prefecture Natural Park - The treasures of Edo period exhibited in the Kuno-zan Toshogu Museum
    Nihon-daira is a hilly area located in the central part of Shizuoka on the northern side of Mt.Udo-san facing the Izu-hanto Peninsula with the Suruga Bay in between. From the area designated as a Prefecture Natural Park you can enjoy the panoramic view of Mt. Fuji and Suruga Bay.

    On the southern foot of Mt. Udo-san is Mt. Kuno-zan, a mountain 270 meters above sea level. Kuno-zan Toshogu Shrine was built by the 2nd Shogun Hidetada Tokugawa, the son of Ieyasu Tokugawa, in accordance to Ieyasu's will. It is designated as an important cultural asset. Ieyasu Tokugawa became the first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate in the early 17th century, and established the foundation of an approximately 300-year-long stable Edo period. The treasures of that period are stored and exhibited in the Kuno-zan Toshogu Museum.

    Kuno-zan Toshogu and Nihon-daira are connected by a 1,065 meter ropeway. You can gaze at Byobu-iwa, a chain of towering cliffs, and Suruga Bay below you while listening to a guide on board explaining about the history and geography of the area. In the vicinity are cultural facilities like the Shizuoka Prefectural Museum with great works of Monet and Gauguin, and Nihon-daira Museum.

    Getting there
    About 1 hour from Tokyo Station to Shizuoka Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and about 2 hours from Shin Osaka Station. About 40 minutes from Shizuoka Station to Nihon-daira by bus.

     

  • Nishi Izu
    An intricate coastline that bears uniquely shaped rocks and small islands - A cape that shines in sunset gold
    Nishi Izu faces Suruga Bay on the west coast of the Izu-hanto Peninsula, and consists of the plain area through which Nishina-gawa River flows into Tago Port, and islands such as Sanshiro-jima. Along the rocky coastline is Dogashima, a hot spring.

    Approximately 2 km along Dogashima-kaigan Coast from Sebama is a scenic place called Ajo Point, which represents Nishi Izu with a cape of towering cliffs and intricate coastline that bears uniquely shaped rocks and small islands. The Tonboro phenomenon induced by the ebb and flow of the tide allows you to walk from Sehama-kaigan Coast to Sanshiro-jima Island at the time of low tide. From Dogashima-onsen, a popular marine leisure spot for swimming and fishing, boat service is also available. You can go on a Dogashima Island Cave Tour that would take you around islands such as Jya-jima and Hie-shansho-jima as well as to the Tensodo Cave created from the erosion by the sea.

    On the northern side of the Dogashima-kaigan Coast is the Golden Cape, named after its color at sunset. It is a cape created by volcanic lava that slid down into the sea, and is known for its masculine scenery of white wave breaking into towering cliffs.

    Getting there
    About 1 hour 5 minutes from Tokyo Station to Mishima Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and about 2 hours 50 minutes from Shin Osaka Station. About 33 minutes from Mishima Station to Shuzenji Station by Izu Hakone Tetsudo Sunzu Line, and about 1 hour 5 minutes from Shuzenji Station to Dogashima by bus.

     

  • Okuoi
    The mountain railway winds its way downstream along precipitous cliffs - The National Park is surrounded by mountains as tall as 2,000 meters
    Okuoi is located in the northern part of Shizuoka, where part of the upstream region of the Oi-gawa River, which flows into the Sagami Bay, is located. Surrounded by mountains as tall as 2,000 meters or so, the region has been appointed as a Prefectural National Park, which preserves the entire region and keeps the rich nature intact and safe from modern development.

    The Ikawa Dam, which dams up the upper Oi-gawa River, and many other artificial reservoirs, including Lake Ikawa-ko and Lake Hatanagi-ko, provide scenic spots that attract many visitors during the high season for the autumn maple trees. The Sessokyo Valley, which runs about 13 km along the river and winds its way to the downstream through the precipitous cliffs, compliments the surrounding virgin forests. You can catch a glimpse of this beauty through the window of the mountain railway, the Ikawa Line, which is the only apt-system in this country. On the private company railway of the Ikawa Line you can also enjoy the magnificent scenery of the Sekinosawa rail bridge, which rises 100m above ground level, the highest of all the private rail systems in Japan. Sessokyo-onsen Hot Spring is situated between the Ikawa Dam and the downstream Nagashima Dam, and Sumatakyo-onsen Hot Spring is spread over the Sumatakyo Valley. A steam locomotive connects JR Kanaya Station and Senzu; the entrance to Okuoi is about a 70-minute ride. The train runs once a day. This steam locomotive train ride is particularly popular among holidaymakers.

    Getting there
    About 1 Hour ride from Tokyo Station to Shizuoka Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line or about 2 Hours from Shin-Osaka Station. About 30 Minutes from Shizuoka Station to Kanaya Station by JR Tokaido Line and about 70 Minutes ride from JR Kanaya Station to Senzu Station by Oigawa Tetsudo Line.

     

  • Shimoda and Iro-zaki Point
    Shimoda, the port that the American Fleet entered in the 19th century - The tip of the peninsula is a scenic spot with its lighthouse and cliffs
    Shimoda is situated in the southeastern part of the Izu-hanto Peninsula and is the core of Minami Izu. It is known as the city of the port that the American Fleet called Kurofune, the Black Ship, entered in the 19th century. They demanded trade with Japan, which at that time was under a national isolation policy that cut off any and all exchange with foreign countries. In the city is Ryosen-ji Temple, at which the then US Naval Officer Perry and Daigaku Hayashi, ambassador plenipotentiary, concluded the Japan-US Friendship Treaty, and a sketch of the signing ceremony remains at the Temple. You can enjoy the views of Shimoda from the sea aboard the Sasukehana cruise boat that copied the design of the Kurofune, as well as from Mt. Nesugata, which is said to resemble a woman lying on her back. There is the Nesugta-yama ropeway service available from Shimoda Station to the peak of Mt. Nesugata. Iro-zaki Point, the southern most tip of the Izu-hanto Peninsula, is a scenic spot with its lighthouse and towering cliffs, whose view you can enjoy aboard a boat that tours around the capes. There is a huge tropical botanical garden called the Jungle Park that you can visit as well.

    Getting there
    About 2 hours 40 minutes from Tokyo Station to Izukyu Shimoda Station by JR Izu Kyuko Tokkyu (Limited Express). About 3 hours 20 minutes from Shin Osaka Station to Atami Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and about 1 hour 15 minutes from Atami Station to Izukyu Shimoda Station by JR Ito Line Izukyu Limited Express.

     

  • Shuzen-ji
    Beloved place of many intellectuals - One of the major hot spring resorts in the region
    Shuzen-ji is located almost in the central part of the Izu-hanto Peninsula, on the hill surrounded by Amagi, Sugumo and Daruma mountains. It is one of the major hot spring resorts in Naka-izu that developed along the Katsura-gawa River. Many scholars, artists and writers loved the quiet atmosphere of Shuzen-ji-onsen Hot Spring and spent much time here. There is a legend that Kobo-daishi, the great monk of the 8th century, pounded a rock with his Buddhist walking stick, tokko, to bring out hot spring water. Therefore the spring was named Tokko-no-yu, or the Tokko hot spring, the birthplace of Shuzen-ji-onsen Hot Spring. It is in the center of the town and visitors are always welcome. Shuzen-ji Oku-no-in in the beautiful temple of Shuzen-ji, erected by Kobo-daishi, is said to be the place where Kobo-daishi had his training as a Buddhist monk in his youth.

    Shuzen-ji Niji-no-sato is a theme park. Streets of 17th century England are reproduced in the Igirisu-mura (English Village), and workshops of Japanese traditional crafts line the town of Takumi-no-mura (Skilled Artisan's Village). Flowers of the season are always blooming in the park.

    Getting there
    From Tokyo Station, 1 hour 5 minutes to Mishima Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. From Shin-Osaka Station, 2 hours 50 minutes. From Mishima Station, 33 minutes by Izu-Hakone Tetsudo Sunzu-sen Line to Shuzen-ji Station.

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  Information provided by Japan National Tourist Organization.

 

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