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Shizuoka Guide Travel to Japan

富士山静岡空港 Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Airport

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06/03/2010 [Thu]

Bus Schedule for Mt. Fuji – Fujinomiya Route [Information]

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The season is coming soon!
“Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan”
This is a sentence I learned to comprehend superlatives when I was in junior high school, and honestly it is!!
I think many people have “Mt. Fuji” in mind with insufficient information, especially in transportation. Now, I’ve got splendid information about Bus Schedule bound for 5th station on Mt. Fuji.
By the way, we have 3 routes to the top of Mt. Fuji in Shizuoka, that is: Fujinomiya route, Gotemba route and Subashiri route. This is for the Fujinomiya route.
Be sure Mt. Fuji opens his arms only from July 1st until August 31st.

PDFファイル(105KB)

Timetable (105KB)

This timetable is offered from Fujisan Tourism & Communication Bureau and they have really nice English website about climbing Mt. Fuji.
Please refer to their website “Fuji Sanroku Navi”.

Now which point is the 5th station? Is that the exact midway point of Mt. Fuji?
Here is the information of the height and time at each point, taking Fujinomiya trail for example.

Stations Height Time to the next station
5th Station 2400m Start point
6th Station 2490m 20 minutes
7th Station 2780m 60 minutes
8th Station 3250m 90 minutes
9th Station 3460m 30 minutes
Mountaintop 3776m 60 minutes

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You can see the illustrated map, partly in English, from this page.  The 5th station along Fujinomiya route is the highest point of the three. That is, the shortest course to the top, right?
There are several accommodations in every station for those who stay overnight. I recommend you to find this guidebook –with word for word translation, for the information of Fujinomiya route or rely much on “Fuji Sanroku Navi”. Notices and requisites are well advised.

I’ve just planned to go up Mt. Fuji through Fujinomiya route in July. Do not expect pictures on the top! I’m not young enough……oh, and I’ve got to say, climbing Mt. Fuji is not a party or a play! People die every year. Prepare yourself as much as you can and imagine any inevitable dangers and the best method to avoid it. Anything is not too sufficient.

Fujisan Tourism & Communication BureauFuji Sanroku Navi
Fujinomiya Tourist AssociationMt. Fuji Climbing Guide

“Shizuoka Guide” is our official English website for sightseeing, always with you! ^^


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Posted by Satoshi Nihonyanagi at 11:19 Permanent Link

06/02/2010 [Wed]

Over the Flower Park [Hamamatsu]

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Now, what was beyond the gate?
You don’t have to imagine, or ruminate in your head. Just listen. Listen to the voices in the wind. I could hear something chattering or roaring. Now you can tell what it was? Yes, a Zoo!!
Hamamatsu Zoological Garden is very popular among kids and adults. They say there are about 130 species of animals in this zoo, and some animals such as lions, tigers, monkeys stay not in the room during the day but in the isolated field so that you can see them live a natural life.
Needless to say, your safety has been ensured.^^

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How was the zoo in the rain? It was great!! A false bravado, I admit…^^; But there were some advantage against it. For example, many animals were sheltered from the rain into the rooms behind the field. That made me see them just in front. Too big to go close to, I took some pictures anyhow. Oh, I guess you’d better have a map of the garden to read my story. Please click here for it! See the red-square near No15? This is the common gate between Flower Park and Zoological Garden where I got through.

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The admission ticket is available from the vending machine in front of the gate only ¥50 from Flower Park.

Now, after having left the lions and tigers (No25 in the map), I headed to the Insect Museum (No6) passing by Monkey mountains (No27). Yes, I like insects, especially beetles and stag beetles. But what attracted my eyes were butterflies!! Ever seen such beautiful butterflies? This museum is by no means large but you can enjoy world-famous insects.

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Walking down the pathway to the next square, you can touch small animals such as rabbits, sheep and goats (No10). Polar bears and brown bears are also seen in the same area but you can’t touch them as a matter of course. No17 is a small safari-park that you can see giraffes, zebras and other animals.
Again back to No15, from the point of gorillas and orangutans, I left Hamamatsu Zoological Garden to Hamamatsu Flower Park.

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Here I’d like to express condolences for Ruh, the Amur Tiger.

He found dead in the morning on May 27th, only 3 days after I visited him. Born in 1992 at Ruhrgebiet Zoo in German. He had been so attractive among visitors with the nickname “Ruh” until the last day came upon. I believe he lives in our mind forever.

May he find a rest in peace.

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Now, back to the Flower Park, I strolled along the path to the main entrance and found a mosaic art with flowers and greens close by the fountain pond. This is called Mosaiculture memorial garden. Last year, they held a Flower Expo “Mosaiculture 2009” that caught more than 800 thousand of people for 2 months. These restored arts are in commemoration of the Expo and for more people who could not come see them. I could see six of them luckily.
Soon after I had taken some pictures, a stream of music came into my ears and the fountain exploded, just as a water curtain in the air. Honestly, I missed the blue sky……^^;
The rain temporarily stopped, still gloomy in the evening. I got into the souvenir shop to the way out.

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Hamamatsu Zoological Park
Access: JR Hamamatsu Station ⇒From Bus Depot #1, take the bus #30 as far as “Doubutsuen-Mae”, (English description “Zoo” on the board)
Admission: ¥400 for adults / Free for children under 15
Closed : December 29 – 31st
9:00 – 16:30
*Please enter 30 minutes before closing
Hamamatsu Flower Park
※ Information as of May, 2010
Admission: ¥800 for adults / ¥350 for children under 15
Please see the previous article for details.
Hamamatsu Flower Park + Hamamatsu Zoological Park
Admission: ¥850 for adults

“Shizuoka Guide” is our official English website for sightseeing, always with you! ^^


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Posted by Satoshi Nihonyanagi at 15:41 Permanent Link

05/31/2010 [Mon]

Where you can enjoy flowers all the year around [Hamamatsu]

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After having visited Hamamatsu Tourist Information Center, I had lunch at a coffee shop and got out of the Station building.
Now, where was I going?
It was raining cats and dogs……oh, by the way, do you really say “cats and dogs” for a downpour? I’ve memorized it for exams but never heard of it used by natives.
Anyway, I headed to the bus depot to find a bus for Hamamatsu Flower Park.

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Forty minute boarding on the bus and I was just in front of Flower Park. After the interview with a generous staff for a while, I stepped under the eaves where I could avoid rains and open the guide-map to find the efficient pathway. What for? Because this flower park is surprisingly large!! Here I show a map in the picture. Paths and trails everywhere. It will take at least an hour just to walk all the way around. And what is more surprising is there is some large facility next to Flower Park. I’ll report about it next time.

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Entering the main gate, you will see a small flower garden of the season. Walking through it, you are there at the center of the park. This is Not a swimming pool! This is a fountain pond. Every 30 minutes, they stage a Fountain Show along with music. In case you get dizzy from the too vast site area, you can take “Flower Train”, which appearance looks like a train but actually a bus without doubt, to go around the park. The Flower Train fare is just ¥100 for adults and ¥50 for children. Several bus-stops are prepared along the main road, where you can get on or off to take a walk.
The glassed-in house over the fountain is called “Crystal Palace” that is a huge greenhouse with flowers of course, a coffee shop, a cascade, flowerbeds, cactus, and incredible moss glowing in the dark. Wanna get in? Ok, I’ll show you a little.

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See these spectacular flowers! No matter how much it rains, Crystal Palace welcomes us with arms open. Walking through the path along the flowerbeds, you will get to the Cascade and viewing deck. Take a coffee break if you’ve got tired. Mind you this is only the beginning.
The moss glowing in the dark room is really marvelous! This moss seems to have been designated as an endangered species and most of them indigenous to native land have been instructed as a protected species. Now, don’t miss it! In the room is sprayed mists to keep the stable moisture, and that brings me back the picture of mystical woods at midnight.

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Getting out of the Crystal Palace, I got to Rose Garden in full bloom this season.
Now, time to take a real walk!! With an umbrella in my hand, I opened the guide-map and stepped slowly down the slopes in the direction of the largest pond. Hydrangeas were about to open up, waiting for a rainy season.
I also saw many cherry blossom trees along the pathway, regretting I should have come here in April.

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I veered off the main path to the narrow trail and found a…a…suspension bridge, which I almost turned back en route. Of course, I made it! Because I needed to go ahead as far as iris gardens to find out how they were with my own eyes.
At Flower Park, they have been having “Irises & Hydrangeas Festival” from May 28 until June 20. They boast one million irises of 720 species and 3000 bunches of hydrangeas. Irises were also about to bloom. I guess in the beginning of June, you can enjoy them!

Now, guess what? I had walked for more than 2 hours before I found a small gateway leading to some place. Where was it anyway?
Next time, I’ll report about it!

Bye for now^^

“Hamamatsu Flower Park” ※ Information as of May, 2010
Access: JR Hamamatsu Station ⇒From Bus Depot #1, take the bus #30 as far as Flower Park (English description on the board)
Admission: ¥800 for adults / ¥350 for children under 15
Opened : Everyday ※ Temporary closing may be occurred.
――October – April : 9:00 – 16:30
――May – November : 9:00 – 17:00
*Opens in the night during seasonal events
*Please enter 30 minutes before closing


“Shizuoka Guide” is our official English website for sightseeing, always with you! ^^


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Posted by Satoshi Nihonyanagi at 09:55 Permanent Link

05/27/2010 [Thu]

Hamamatsu Tourist Information Center [Hamamatsu]

Information centers are always helpful for tourists. Even if you visit a new place with nothing in hand, they would help you with brochures and guide-maps.
I believe it’s a good idea to investigate not only sightseeing spots but, step by step, all tourist information centers in Shizuoka to find out if they have English guidebooks, website, or if they speak English. That would be advantageous for you to prepare or arrange information before visiting.
Click “Info Center” in the “categories” to pick up only details of information centers.
Now, the first target is:

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Hamamatsu Tourist Information Center

Getting out of the gate of Shinkansen bullet train, you will find it just in front.
It looks large, quite neat and clean.
You will see a notice board with sightseeing spots and event information beside the doorway, hand-written just as special menus in a Japanese pub.

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Taking a step in it, you may get puzzled where you are because they exhibit souvenirs and crafts and many things about Hamamatsu as seen in the picture, which looks like a small museum. No wonder hundreds or thousands of tourists visit here every day.
They are so friendly as to guide me around with brochures, and to my surprise, they all speak English! Now you don’t bother to speak to them in English, do you?

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Of course, they have English guidebooks prepared for you! Chinese and Korean books are also available. I’ve got 4 of them in English to recommend you.
The “Handbook” includes general guide-map, sightseeing spots with detailed maps, specialties and event information. The green brochure “Hama-Map” is a large map with tourist attractions. Yellow one “Miru-Navi” is filled with selected places to go, categorized into History, Culture, Flowers and the like. And the blue one “Iku-Navi” is for specialties and event guide in Hamamatsu with accommodation lists.

I’m very disinclined to tell you after seeing them running in a bustle, but I strongly encourage you to step in it and to speak to them for their help in English, to make your trip “better”!

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Hamamatsu Tourist Information Center

English website : Hamamatsu Daisuki Net
Access : In JR Hamamatsu Station
just in front of Shinkansen ticket gate
Opened : 9:00 − 19:00 (7 days a week)

“Shizuoka Guide” is our official English website for sightseeing, always with you! ^^


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Posted by Satoshi Nihonyanagi at 10:37 Permanent Link

05/25/2010 [Tue]

Japanese Tea Ceremony [Shimada]

Guess the color of “Tea” in Japan. It often happens that the original naming is quite different from the current image, right? You may imagine “green” for the color of “Tea” but we will point to the “brown”.
Tea was originally brought to Japan in the 8th century from China. Not powdered as today, but massed into a ball, half-fermented like oolong-tea which color is brown. That is how early Japanese named brown as “the color of tea”.
Tea ceremonies reached its peak in Muromachi era by Sen-no-Rikyu, as you know.
Here at Ocha no Sato, they thoroughly replicated the teahouse, tearooms and gardens of Masakazu Kobori, known well as Enshu Kobori, who was a grand pupil of Sen-no-Rikyu. He became a key figure of tea culture in the beginning of Edo era. Not only was he so deeply versed in tea manners as to make lessons to Tokugawa Shogun, but he was seasoned in Paintings, waka – the Japanese poetry, architectures and garden-makings.

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Now as I’ve promised in the last article, I report my tea-ceremony-story at, of course, “Ocha no Sato”.
First, be sure you have the English brochure before entering the Teahouse. This brochure is really well-explained about the Teahouse and the Garden. Getting in the Teahouse, a guide will show you around in the house and lead you to the room where you will be treated as a guest of tea ceremony.
Tea ceremony is not merely a party with Macha. What is most important in tea ceremony is the manner. But don’t take it too formal. The master or mistress always wants you to enjoy the taste and a talk with him/her.
Telling the truth, this was the first time I had Matcha served in a formal way. Too nervous I was, I could hardly smile, my body stiffened, I finished the beautiful wagashi – Japanese sweet and Matcha without recognizing if it was sweet or bitter. As the mistress said to me “take it easy”, I would also advise you to take it easy because……no one might expect you to act like Ensyu or Rikyu, right?

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Wagashi of Dogwood

The way of tea ceremony, or what I did was……appreciating the wagashi saying “It’s beautiful” or “What is it molded after?” or something like that, seeing the mistress preparing Matcha. After the tea served, I watched the tea bowl and she made good explanation about it. I sipped it at my own pace. I’m not sure if this is the right way but it is best to get fun, isn’t it?^^

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Anything you like!

And remember, everything has its meaning. The tearooms of course, the tea-bowls and even Japanese sweets have some reason to be chosen for, for you or each guest. It is a kind of riddle, isn’t it? Try to figure it out!
Free costumes are available for you!
There are many schools and branches about “the way of Tea”. I can’t make head or tail of these differences but if you have a curiosity about it, visit and attend in the various tea ceremony and find or feel it with your head and body!

Have a good day!

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Ocha no Sato : From JR Kanaya ⇒ 5 minutes by bus or taxi /or 30 minutes on foot
Admission ※ Information as of May, 2010
Museum ¥600 for adults / ¥300 for children under 15
Teahouse ¥500 for adults and children
Museum and Teahouse − ¥1,000 for adults / ¥700 for children under 15

“Shizuoka Guide” is our official English website for sightseeing, always with you! ^^


Posted by Satoshi Nihonyanagi at 13:19 Permanent Link

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