Translated by Hilary Keyes
Shizuoka - 10 Must Visit Spots In This Nature Rich Tokyo Neighbor!
Written by Tomoko Takahashi
Shizuoka Prefecture is one prefecture over from Tokyo, bordering Kanagawa Prefecture, and is most famously known as the location of Mt. Fuji, arguably the most well recognized mountain in the world, and the symbol of Japan. There's plenty to do here!
Top 10 Attractions and Activities in Shizuoka Prefecture
Shizuoka is also famous for its green tea production. There are hundreds of tea fields throughout the prefecture and many spots where you can enjoy freshly brewed green tea all year round.
However, there is so much more to see and do in Shizuoka! Here are ten must-visit places in the nature-rich, exciting prefecture of Shizuoka - many of which can easily be visited on a day trip from Tokyo!
1. Mt. Fuji Viewing
Let's get the simplest option out of the way first. As home to Mt. Fuji, there are numerous different places where you can enjoy incredible views of the internationally loved mountain in Shizuoka.
Playground in Shizuoka City
Shizuoka City itself is a great place to see Mt. Fuji from. For an unforgettable scenery, we recommend a trip to Miho no Matsubara (Miho Beach), a place that offers wonderful views of the seacoast with Mt. Fuji in the background.
If you'd like to learn more about Mt. Fuji itself, please check out Mount Fuji - How To Get There, Climbing Guide And Other Tips.
2. Flower Tours Near Lake Hamanako
Located in western Shizuoka Prefecture, Lake Hamanako is renowned in Japan for its incredible seasonal flowers. One particularly popular spot is Hamamatsu Flower Park, where cherry blossoms, azaleas, roses, wisteria, rhododendron, irises, and hydrangea flowers bloom from spring through fall each year.
One bonus about this park is that it can easily be accessed from JR Hamamatsu Station, which is located one and a half hours from both Tokyo and Kyoto via Shinkansen. Utilize the Japan Rail Pass to travel efficiently.
3. For Cherry Blossom And Starry Sky Lovers - Kawazu And Minamiizu Yumigahama
If you want to experience something very Japanese during your travels, then you may want to schedule a trip to Kawazu in Shizuoka during the month of February. There, you can take in the sight of thousands of pink cherry blossoms blooming alongside the river.
Or, if you head to Minamiizu Yumigahama, you can see the Winter Diamond constellation, while stargazing up into a crystal clear night sky. Please keep in mind though, that the temperature in spring and autumn can get quite low, so you'll need to dress appropriately for both day and night.
4. Kakegawa Castle - An Authentic Reproduction from 1664
While there are plenty of replicas of Japanese castles to see around the country, Kakegawa Castle is not consider a replica, but a reproduction.
The entirety of the castle has been rebuilt based on existing historical documents. There are no wide staircases or elevators inside, but authentic wooden ladder-like stairs, holes in the walls where archers would shoot approaching enemies, and other items that only those well versed in history would recognize. This castle is a must for anyone interested in Japanese history, architecture, or samurai lore.
5. Clematis Hill (Clematis no Oka)
Picture from A Hidden Art Spot in Shizuoka! Come Take A Look!
Located near JR Mishima Station, Clematis no Oka is an art enclave that is home to some very unusual galleries. Here you'll find the Izu Photo Museum, the Yasushi Inoue Literary Museum, the Bernard Buffet Museum, and the Vangi Sculpture Garden Art Gallery, as well as restaurants and shops catering to the arts.
The sculpture garden here is particularly fascinating. The Vangi Sculpture Garden Art Gallery is the world's only individual art gallery, opened by modern concrete sculptor Giuliano Vangi. This unique gallery displays works ranging from those made in the 1960s to newly made sculptures in both indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces.
6. Suruga Bay - Savor Sakura Shrimp Fresh From the Harbor
Sakura shrimp are a small species of shrimp that can almost only be found in Suruga Bay, in Shizuoka Prefecture. As such, this area is where all other sakura shrimp found in Japan are distributed from - which means that if you want to enjoy the absolute freshest sakura shrimp cuisine, you should visit here!
7. The Izu Teddy Bear Museum - A Museum For All Ages
When you first visit the Izu Teddy Bear Museum, you may find yourself feeling as though you've traveled out of Japan and into Europe, thanks to the red-brick architecture of the buildings here, but this is a decidedly Japanese concept.
The Izu Teddy Bear Museum is home to some of the world's oldest and most unique teddy bears and is conveniently located in Izukogen, one of Shizuoka's most popular resort areas.
8. Jogasaki Coast - A Stunning Coastline
Hiking and trekking fans are sure to love this area. The Jogasaki Coast in the Izu Peninsula is one of those rare places where you can enjoy the stunning ocean, mountain and forest views without having to worry about being too far from civilization.
If you're feeling adventurous, you could also try your hand at a bike excursion from Tokyo to Ito in the Izu Peninsula too.
9. Atami - Luxuriate in One of Japan's Best Known Resorts
Atami is a hot spring town on the ocean in Shizuoka, and thanks to its onsen, it has become one of the best known and most popular resorts to visit in Japan. While this might make it sound crowded, Atami is also very laidback, and a restful place to visit. It is located just half an hour from Tokyo Station via Shinkansen––we highly recommend utilizing the Japan Rail Pass for your trip.
Here you'll find flower gardens, a historical castle, shrines, art museums, beaches, and of course, plenty of hot springs to enjoy all year long.
10. Oigawa Valley - A Fun Ride on a Steam Locomotive Train
Oigawa River Valley offers some of the most beautiful views in Shizuoka. How about enjoying them from the window of a 1930's era steam locomotive train? The SL running from Shin-Kanaya Station up the river to Senzu Station is one of the main attractions of the area. Once in Senzu, you can sample some of the best tea in Shizuoka, along with tasty local treats.
Senzu Station is also home to the museum dedicated to Thomas and Friends, a train-themed facility that is loved by children and adults. Visitors can actually ride the Thomas and Friends trains or take fun pictures of them.
For more details on the charms of Oigawa Valley, including accommodation facilities in the area, please read our article: Farm Stay In Shizuoka - Enjoy Local Hospitality And Beautiful Sights.
Enjoy Your Time in Shizuoka!
If you are looking for the perfect day trip location outside Tokyo, then any of these ten spots in Shizuoka is sure to meet the mark. The mountainous areas of Shizuoka, including the Oigawa River Valley, are cooler than other areas of Japan, making Shizuoka a great destination for a summer trip.
So why not hop on the Shinkansen and see what you can find in Shizuoka during your trip?