With stunning views of snow-capped Mount Fuji, gorgeous beaches, and hot spring resorts, coastal Shizuoka is one of Japan’s most beautiful prefectures. Home to some of the earliest blooming cherry blossoms in Japan, springtime in Shizuoka is stunning, especially in the onsen hot spring resort town of Kawazu, which is known for cherry blossoms. Another city on Shizuoka’s Izu Peninsula that deserves a stop is Atami, a popular onsen resort spot with several wacky museums and attractions, including the Hihokan (“Atami Adult Museum”) and the Kabocha (Pumpkin) Museum which centers on the avant-garde works of Yayoi Kusama. Surfers will revel in the waves at Shirahama Beach, while beach bums languish in the sun. And, right on Shirahama Beach, you’ll be awestruck by the sight of the 2400-year-old Shirahama Jinja Shrine’s red torii gate standing against the crashing waves. Or, you can test your endurance by climbing Mt. Fuji in the late summer months.
The natural beauty of Shizuoka extends to fantastic natural resources and agriculture as well, with Shizuoka producing the highest quantity and quality green tea of any region in Japan. The climate is also uniquely suited to growing wasabi, which thrives in cool, shady streams, and Shizuoka also makes some of the juiciest mikan (mandarin oranges) that money can buy. The western side of Shizuoka is famous for unagi (eel), a luxury dish in Japan. Shizuoka also has the most ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) of any prefecture in Japan. Paired with a long soak in the onsen and an elaborate kaiseki cuisine meal featuring fresh seasonal produce, a trip to Shizuoka is the pinnacle of relaxation.
There are many shrines and temples to visit in Shizuoka, starting with Shuzenji Temple. This temple is best visited during the fall, as the trees turn a bright red color and the “Finest Garden of Tokai” is open. Afterwards, visit the Shuzenji Onsen resort for a relaxing dip in the hot springs. Go on a hike to the Joren-no-Takai Waterfall and enjoy a view of the 25-meter tall and 7-meter wide natural feature. Other things to do in Shizuoka include fishing and visiting wasabi farms.
Head towards Lake Tanuki for the perfect snapshot of the cherry blossoms blooming with Mt. Fuji in the background. Near Ieyama Station, there is a 1-kilometer “tunnel” of cherry blossoms that people flock to during sakura season. A historic train runs through this path, giving a heart-warming, old-fashioned ambiance to the area.
Shizuoka is known for fantastic views of Mt. Fuji, which sits on its border with Yamanashi Prefecture. Fuji-san is one of the main icons of Japan’s culture and a World Heritage Site. You can get great views of Mt. Fuji at various places across the prefecture, such as Shizuoka City and Miho no Matsubara.
Buy Japanese green tea from tea farms or souvenir shops in Shizuoka to share with family and friends back home. You have the option to buy high-quality matcha tea, which is used during tea ceremonies, or more affordable everyday grades of tea. Whichever one you decide to purchase, the quality of the tea is held to high standards.