Shizuoka Travel Guide
Want to experience Mount Fuji without dealing with the high prices and zoo-like atmosphere of the towns near its base? Stay in the city of Shizuoka. Situated on the coast (but within view of the giant peak), you’ll be within 90 minutes of the base of Fuji.
Aside from this, there are numerous attractions that make visiting worthwhile – temples, museums, and awesome scenery will occupy your attention throughout your time here.
Come check out our Japan travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Shizuoka.
If you are making a trip out to Shizuoka, there’s a good chance you are doing so to see Mount Fuji. Situated just 80 kilometres from Japan’s most famous peak, it can be easily reached from this city within an hour and a half, making Shizuoka a great base for those wanting to spend significant time in this volcano’s presence.
You’ll want to spend several days in the area, as the top of Mount Fuji is often obscured by cloud. You’ll have the best luck of getting a peek at its magnificence during the cooler months, early in the morning, and later in the evening.
Want to claim this summit for yourself? The mountain is open to climbers during the months of July and August only. This means you’ll have to share the slopes with scores of people – if you want a less crowded experience, go during the week.
Just want to get an awesome shot of Fuji? Those looking for a sweet spot to set up their camera will find them at the top of the Nihondaira Ropeway. This tram takes you from the coastal plain where Shizuoka sits up to the top of a 307-metre high benchland.
From here, you’ll have a commanding view of not just Mount Fuji (on a clear day), but of dramatic cliffs, the city of Shizuoka, and Suruga Bay below.
This destination isn’t 100% about Mount Fuji – there are some cultural sights to take in as well. Start by paying a visit to the Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art. Here, you’ll find over 2,400 pieces created by giants of the art world – this includes the likes of Monet, Rodin, and Gauguin.
You’ll start your visit outside, as there is a collection of sculptures lining the approach to this institution. Within, you’ll find the main galleries hosting the aforementioned artists as well as a space that hosts special and travelling exhibitions. Situated at the base of the Nihondaira Ropeway, it is a great attraction to see in conjunction with this popular viewpoint.
Shizuoka is home to a number of important Shinto places of worship. Kunozan Toshogu Shrine is one of the most significant, as it honours Tokugawa Ieyasu, a leader who helped stop civil wars that raged across Japan in the 16th century.
He expressed a wish to have a mausoleum of the slopes of Mount Kunozan in his elder years – and so, this Shinto shrine was born. This attraction requires a reasonable level of fitness if you wish to experience it the standard way – the main entrance involves climbing a stone staircase with 1,000 steps.
However, it does come with stunning views, and those with mobility issues can access the shrine via the Nihondaira Ropeway. In addition to the tomb of Tokugawa Ieyasu, there is an impressive collection of weapons, period clothing, and documents, making the trouble you go through to access this place worth it.
As impressive as Japan’s castles are, not all survived the Meiji Restoration, a period which marked a significant departure from this country’s medieval past. While some were preserved, many were dismantled as part of the modernization drive – Sumpu Castle in Shizuoka was one of the fortifications that didn’t survive.
Today, it is a park that has integrated greenery with the remains of the former structure. In recent years, there has been an effort to rebuild segments of the castle, like the East Gate. However, most of the structure is still a far cry from the height of their Edo Period glory.
The Japanese are among the world’s greatest consumers of seafood, especially tuna. As such, you’ll see markets full of fishmongers all over the country. Shizuoka is no different in this regard, as many flock to Shimizu Fish Market on a daily basis to purchase the freshest seafood hauled in from the deep by its fishing crews.
However, this market has the distinction of serving the people of Shizuoka Prefecture, the biggest consumers of tuna in the entire country. As such, not only will you see a variety of interesting fish and shellfish, but plenty of giant tuna as well.
Want to get a stunning view of Mount Fuji from the coast? Make your way over to Miho Beach. On a clear day, the snow-capped peak of Japan’s most famous mountain will contrast with this pebble beach in a way that will make hesitate when the time comes to leave.