In our fast-paced world, finding moments of tranquility and mindfulness can often prove challenging. However, Japanese tea culture offers a peaceful sanctuary steeped in tradition,...Read More >
Located nearly midway between Osaka and Tokyo, lies Shizuoka, a hidden gem among Japan’s more popular travel destinations. From the gentle ocean waves of the port cities to the lush green fields of its tea plantations, Shizuoka prefecture is a must for anyone interested in the natural beauty Japan has to offer—especially for any green tea enthusiasts. Here are some recommendations for things to do in Shizuoka:
Visible from within the city and as far as the countryside, Mount Fuji overlooks Shizuoka. As the tallest mountain in Japan, Mount Fuji is best viewed from a distance to see the entire mountain. However, the cloud cover around Mount Fuji is typically thick, limiting the visibility of the summit on most days. Generally, chances of a clear view increase in the early morning or late afternoon from November to early May.
But where are the ideal places to go for the best view of Mount Fuji? There are two spots in particular that are known to offer the best view. The most well-known is the Nihondaira Plateau, an elevated section of Shizuoka. It is famous for the gorgeous, panoramic view of Mount Fuji, the Pacific Ocean, and green tea plantations. There’s also Miho Beach, a relatively small beach located on the west coast of Suruga Bay. Thanks to Mount Fuji, Shizuoka is rich with volcanic soil, fresh river water, and a varied climate for growing delicious tea.
The Kunōzan Tōshōgu Shrine is the perfect place to visit for those who want to experience Japanese history. The shrine is a gorgeous collection of red and gold buildings dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, a famous Japanese leader. As the founder and first shōgun, Tokugawa united the country and brought an end to years of unrest and war.
Nearby is the Museum of Kunozan Toshogu where you can learn about the personal effects of Tokugawa Ieyasu and view traditional items such as clothing, scrolls, armor, and swords. Meanwhile, his tomb resides in the woods surrounding the shrine, for anyone who wants to pay respects to Ieyasu himself.
As the “green tea capital” of Japan, as well as the source of most of our teas, visiting a local Shizuoka tea farm is a must on your list of activities. Spend a day exploring the vast tea fields lined with tea shrubs extending as far as the eye can see. As a matter of fact, if you want a more hands-on experience, there are even plantations that offer visitors the chance to pick green tea leaves themselves. For a small fee, you will be given a designated area to hand pick green tea leaves after a quick session detailing the proper picking process. Not only is tea picking a fun outdoor activity, but also a fantastic way to truly appreciate the traditions that farmers have upheld for generations.
A handful of tea farms have restaurants on-site where you can taste a variety of green teas as well as tea-infused food, beverages, and treats. What better place to sample the various tea products than fresh from the tea farm itself?
Some tea farms provide a tea factory tour for guests. This is an opportunity for visitors to get a behind-the-scenes look at the harvesting process. You will learn how the fresh tea leaves from the fields become the delicious green tea in your cup. In general, tea farms are not open all year round, however, and typically accept visitors during their harvesting months from April to October.
Shizuoka is full of fun, engaging activities for anyone interested in the rich culture and history of Japan. Many of the destinations are about experiencing the country’s culture and traditions, not merely seeing them. If you are planning a trip to Japan, be sure to consider Shizuoka as one of your destinations.
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