Shizuoka is the capital of the prefecture of the same name. It's also part of the heavily populated Tōkaido corridor – a 750-mile urban belt that includes the major metropolises of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. This pretty city is a great base from which to explore the mountainous landscapes, visit Mount Fuji and discover the Izu Peninsula.
Formerly known as Sumpu, Shizuoka has been inhabited for millennia. The 17th-century shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu is an almost constant figure in the city and its surroundings; there’s a shrine dedicated to the former military leader and the site of his home can be explored at Sumpu Park. View the reconstructed East Gate and Tatsumi Yagura Turret, wander around the Japanese garden and visit the tea house for a cup of the region’s famous green tea. Not too far from the park is one of the city’s other main attractions – Shizuoka Sengen Jinja – which comprises the three shrines of Kanbe, Sengen and Otoshimioya.
Travel northeast towards the elevated Nihondaira Plateau and Mount Kuno, which rise out of the coastal plains of Honshu near the Pacific Ocean. Here you’ll find the Kunozan Toshogu Shrine, an elaborate dedication to the first shogun of the Edo period. There are two ways to reach it – either along a trail of 1,000-plus steps leading up from sea level or by taking the aerial cableway down from Nihondaira Station. Set aside time to explore the extensive complex beyond the intricately-carved Romon Gate – other highlights include extravagantly decorated buildings and Ieyasu’s resting place.
From here, head back up to Nihondaira Station and enjoy the natural beauty spot, which boasts incredible views of Mount Fuji with a foreground of tea fields – the iconic image of the Shizuoka prefecture. On a clear day, you can also enjoy views towards the Southern Alps and the breathtaking Izu Peninsula. Back down in the city, dip into temples or stop for a refreshing drink of just-picked tea in one of the many charming tea houses.
If you’re spending a few nights or more in Shizuoka, head out and explore more of this stunning prefecture’s natural sites. The 3,776-metre Mount Fuji is a popular day trip, with many tours running to the famed conical volcano. If you’d rather go it alone, it takes around two hours to reach Shinjuku roughly halfway up the volcano’s side before following the Yoshida trail to the summit. It takes around five to seven hours to hike to the top and should only be considered on a clear summer’s day if you’re physically fit enough - if you think it’ll take longer, spend a night in one of the simple mountain huts. You don’t need to climb Mount Fuji to appreciate its epic beauty, though – it’s a real stunner from a distance, too.
Another great option for a city escape includes a visit to the Okuōi region in the northern part of the prefecture. Head southwest out of the city to Kanaya Station, where you can board the country’s only daily operating steam train up into the breathtaking Akaishi Mountains. Admire landscapes carved out by the Oi-gawa River, virgin rainforest and a handful of 2,000-plus-metre peaks, alighting at stations along the way to soak in hot springs, follow forested paths and cross precipitous but wonderfully picturesque bridges. One such bridge, the 90-metre-long Yume-no-Tsuribashi, crosses the Sumatakyo gorge in Okuōi Prefectural Natural Park. This spectacular region looks its best in the spring, when the green leaves are ‘box fresh’; or in the autumn, when they turn a vivid yellow, orange or red.
Shizuoka Airport, also known as Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Airport, offers one of the world’s most breathtaking approaches just 50 miles from Mount Fuji and 17 miles west of the city. Simply contact one of our team and we’ll arrange everything you need to charter a private jet to Shizuoka.