Shizuoka is a sprawling prefecture covering a large chunk of the Pacific Ocean coastline between greater Tokyo and Nagoya. It's a reasonably modern creation (1868) by Japanese standards, merging together three historically distinct areas. Western Shizuoka was once the province of Tōtōmi-no-kuni (遠江国), also known as Enshū (遠州), which you'll still see in many company names and placenames in the area today. The eastern part of the prefecture was once the province of Suruga-no-kuni (駿河国), while the Izu Peninsula was its own province, Izu-no-kuni (伊豆国).
Geologically, Shizuoka lies at the point where three tectonic plates (Philippine Sea, Okhotsk and Amurian) collide, with iconic Mount Fuji marking the spot. The prefecture is thus very mountainous and volcanically active, with plenty of hot springs to explore. In addition to Fuji, major mountains include Mt. Hakone (箱根山) , Mt. Amagi (天城山) on Izu, and Mt. Akaishi (赤石山脈).
Enshū (Western region)Edit
- 1 Hamamatsu - the largest city in the prefecture, known as the "City of Music", and home to a vibrant Brazilian community
- 2 Fujieda
- 3 Fukuroi
- 4 Iwata
- 5 Kakegawa
- 6 Kikugawa
- 7 Kosai
- 8 Mori
- 9 Omaezaki - home to some of the best wind-surfing in Japan.
- 10 Shimada
Suruga (Central region)Edit
- 11 Shizuoka - the prefectural capital
- 12 Fuji
- 13 Fujinomiya - famous for Yakisoba (Japanese stir-fried noodle)
- 14 Gotemba - at the foot of Mt. Fuji, it has summer resort because of the cool climate.
- 15 Numazu
- 16 Atami - seaside hot spring resort a short hop from Tokyo
- 17 Izu - the home of famous hot springs of Shuzenji, nicknamed "Little Kyoto of the Izu Peninsula", that has many tasteful ryokans with Japanese gardens.
- 18 Izunokuni - the home of Izu-Nagaoka hot springs and many historical spots in former Nirayama Town (that has been merged into Izunokuni City)
- 19 Mishima - it is nicknamed city of water in Japan with fountain of meltwater from Mt. Fuji. It is also famous for the Mishima Taisha.
- 20 Shimoda - the southernmost city in Izu Peninsula.
The dialect in Western Shizuoka is known as Enshū-ben (遠州弁).
- 1 Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Airport (FSZ IATA). Flights from Kumamoto and Kagoshima by Fuji Dream Airlines; from Sapporo-Chitose and Fukuoka by JAL; from Naha, Okinawa by ANA; and from Seoul, South Korea by Asiana Airlines.
- Chubu Centrair International Airport, (NGO IATA) outside of Nagoya is the nearest major international airport with flights from a variety of locations in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. There is a direct shuttle bus from the airport that runs to Hamamatsu and Iwata for around ¥3000.
- Castles and castle ruins in Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Kakegawa and other locations
- Izu Peninsula - A beautiful coastline full of resort towns.
- Mount Fuji - The iconic beauty rests near Gotemba and can be seen from many parts of the prefecture, as far away as Lake Hamana.
- Sand dunes in Hamamatsu and Omaezaki.
- Wildlife parks such as Fuji Safari Park near Gotemba or the Atagawa Tropical and Alligator Garden in Higashiizu.
- The wobbly, Indiana Jones-like suspension bridges of the Sumatakyo (Kawanehoncho)
- Climb 1 Mount Fuji. There are Fujinomiya Trail in Fujinomiya, Gotemba Trail in Gotemba, and Subashiri Trail in Oyama-cho.
- Ride a steam engine and cog railway. The Oigawa Railway operates one of less than a handful of steam locomotives left in Japan. Catch the train from Kanaya Station one stop west of Shimada and take it to Senzu deep in Kawanehon-cho. From there you can catch a bus to Okuizumi Station and catch the cog railway (which was built to support the construction of dams on the Oigawa) as far north as Ikawa, at the foot of the Southern Alps. Both train rides are especially beautiful during sakura season (there is a 1km section of track called the "sakura tunnel") and autumn leaf season.
- Local specialties include eel, turtle, and melons.
- Sawayaka (さわやか). This Shizuoka-only chain has many locations all over the prefecture, specializing in beef dishes such as their famous genkotsu hamburger steaks the size of your fist.