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Shizuoka Guide Travel to Japan

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01/18/2012 [Wed]

Recommended New Year’s Events in Shizuoka [Information]

Brand-new year has got started and it’s getting colder and colder in Japan. Today, I’ll introduce some hot events of Shizuoka Prefecture in this season. Details can be found from our old reports linked together with “from here”^^

Atami Baien Plum Blossom Festival ( Jan 1 – Mar 4 )

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Atami Baien is one of the largest plum gardens in Shizuoka. You can reach there by bus from JR Atami Station. As of Jan 17, plums are just beginning to bloom and will be best in February.
As you know, Atami is one of the largest onsen spa resorts in Japan and very accessible from Tokyo or Nagoya and Osaka. Actually, it takes only 50 minutes from Tokyo by Shinkansen high-speed train. Please find more about Atami from here.
Atami Baien Information ( Japanese only )
Tourist information of Atami City_English Ver.

Kawazu-zakura Cherry Blossom Festival ( Feb 5 – Mar 10 )

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Sakura cherry blossom is generally known as a Japan’s symbolic flower basically recognized as the one in spring, but Kawazu-zakura is not the common one. It opens up even in cold weather and established as one of the most precocious species of cherry blossoms that normally blooms in late-Jan – early-Mar. More wonderful with Nanohana rape blossoms ! Also enjoy a variety of local gourmets at food-stalls that are crammed with along Kawazu River !
Kawazu-zakura cherry blossom Festival is held between Feb 5 – Mar 10. Those who are coming by car, please prepare yourself for taking time in traffic. Trains are more recommended. For further information, please reach from here.
Kawazu-zakura Festival official website ( Japanese only )

Hina-no Tsurushi Kazari suspended hina-doll ornament Festival ( Jan 20 – Mar 31 )

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Hina-doll’s Festival is a Japan’s traditional event for girls on Mar 3. Generally, parents set up a display of Hina-dolls to celebrate their daughter’s growth and here in Higashi-izu Town, they have their own heritage culture. They make small figures by hand and suspend them in the rooms, wishing their daughter or grand-daughter to grow disciplined. Hina-no Tsurushi Kazari Festival is held between Jan 20 – Mar 31. Higashiizu Town is also well known as a landing port of Kinmedai alfonsino as well as Shimoda. I hope you enjoy it, too ! Details are available from here.

Hina-no Tsurushi Kazari official website ( Japanese only )




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01/16/2012 [Mon]

Shuzenji Onsen Spa Resort ― Asaba [Izu City]

Shuzenji, Shizuoka Prefecture, is definitely one of the most historic and traditional onsen resorts in Japan and today I will introduce the most prestigious ryokan there. That is, Shuzenji Onsen “Asaba”. Its history can be traced back 500 years. It started as an inn of Shuzenji Temple, and since then, its history and tradition have been taken over to this day.

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Walking from Shuzenji Temple through “Tokko-no Yu” and “the Pathway of bamboo forest”, you will find a large gate as one you see at a temple. A huge noren curtain and luxurious looking foyer could be seen through the gate.
This is Asaba ryokan Inn.
Stepping inside, I was welcomed by an Okami ( mistress ) in Kimono and other Nakai ladies, which made me feel just as if I had been the master of the inn.

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A large pond could be seen over the foyer. On that day, I was so lucky that I could see a magazine model on a boat to shoot pictures. Just like an image of a painting. I felt so excited to look around.
There was even a Noh stage beyond the pond. It can be used to play noh performance or have a wedding ceremony, I heard.

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So, what’s inside the ryokan. There are 17 rooms in total and 5 onsen bathroom including open-air spa, inner bath, and family onsen. Some rooms have the private onsen bathroom. Please inquire when you make a booking.

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“Asaba thinks much of the harmonization with nature”
The manager told me in an interview. Seasonal charms such as flowers, trees, birds, and singing of insects should be always around us. Of course, meals are to be cooked with the best selected ingredients of the season, or of the time to be served in Kaiseki style. Some guests come several times in different season, he said. They go so far as to cook rice respectively by rooms, as an aside. This is the supreme Omotenashi, don’t you think ?

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Asaba, believe it or not, doesn’t have the website, by the way. That means no information can be obtained through the internet. Still, this is also one of the traditions Asaba has been upholding until now. Still it’s also true that they have almost full guests every day only by word of mouth. No exaggerated ads are required for real quality. Asaba is such an extraordinary inn you will get into very soon.

Shuzenji Onsen “Asaba”
Access : JR Tokyo → JR Mishima → 30 minutes by Izu-hakone Railway to Shuzenji station → 10 minutes by taxi
Reference Rates : ¥40,000 〜 ¥80,000/adult with dinner and breakfast ( tax and service fee included )
Booking and Inquiries : By phone( communicable in English )

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01/13/2012 [Fri]

Mt. Fuji Viewing Spot ― Fujikawa Rakuza [Fuji City]

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Last weekend, actually after I visited Dondon Yaki, I drove all the way to “Fujikawa Rakuza” looking for fantastic views. Fujikawa Rakuza is basically a SA of Tomei Expressway in Fuji City which is often featured as one of the best spots for Mt. Fuji Viewing but it’s also accessible from the local roadway.
In 30 minutes or so from Shizuoka City, I reached Fujikawa Rakuza. It stands by the wide spread Fuji River that flows into Suruga Bay. It’s also known as one of the 3 fastest rivers in Japan.

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Now, I walked up the stairs and went through a line of souvenir shops and restaurants to get outside the building on the 3rd floor. Beautiful day. I was almost dancing around.
(〃・ω・〃)ノ~☆・゜+。*゜・.+.・*´゜+・。*☆

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This year, somehow though, the snow on its top looks less than ever before in Jan. Maybe it’s warm this year ? Or simply lack of snowfall ? The Mt. Fuji I saw on Jan 9 is like this picture.

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After I took pictures enough, I visited some food-stands. The crape was really nice ! And salted and fried horse mackerel, Fujinomiya Yakisoba fried noodle, burgers, and Icecream. All junkie food are my friends !^^

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I also enjoyed star watching in the planetarium. It was indescribably good ! Actually, it was registered in the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s most advanced planetarium projector named Megastar-IIB in July, 2011. So lively and realistic that I felt I had been in a desolate desert or something looking up the stars. Seeing is believing. Try it !^^

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After all, I was there almost 3 hours. The moon was so amorous in the east and the night view of Fuji City looked so gorgeous to me.

Have a good day !^^

PDFファイル(622KB)

For Japanese (622KB)

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01/10/2012 [Tue]

New Year’s Fire Festival ― Dondon Yaki [Shizuoka]

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Last weekend, I visited a park beside my apartment for Dondon Yaki. Dondon Yaki, or also called Dondo Yaki, is a kind of traditional fire festival in Japan, which every family in the district brings their New Year’s decorations to make it set to the torch after Shinto ceremony. It is traditionally said that if you are around the fire, you will be in perfect health that year. Originally, it was a folk tradition event that is done for prosperity in harbest.

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The flame went up towards sky !












That day, I joined it for the first time in my life. I piled some decorations on top of another and waited for the Shinto priest to come.

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Very simple ceremony was made after a few moments and set the fire go right in front of all of us. We flocked together around the bonfire wishing we could be in good condition in 2012.

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Meanwhile, some food such as Tonjiru ( kind of sweet miso soup with pork meat in it ) and Oshiruko ( sweet red-bean soup with sticky rice cakes in it ) had been distributed by local ladies. I took Tonjiru to let myself warm. The sky looked very blue. Then, I had a hunch that I would be OK this year.^^

Dondon-yaki is to be done in varieties of shrines in this season. Though not peculiar to Shizuoka only, I hope you enjoy it in Shizuoka !

Have a good day !^^


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01/06/2012 [Fri]

Bishamonten Festival in Fuji City [Fuji City]

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Today, I’ll introduce one of the most unique events in Shizuoka. That is, “Bishamonten Festival”, Vaisravana ( a Guardian of Buddhism ) Festival at Myohoji Temple in Fuji City. As you know, Fuji City is well known as the best spot for Mt. Fuji viewing and as a city of Shirasu baby sardines. In February, spectacular plum blossoms will be in their best at Iwamotoyama Park. I’ll introduce it next month. English Information about Iwamotoyama is available from here. Now, on that day, actually last year, I got off JR train at Yoshiwara Station and walked for a while along the street.

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It was not difficult for me to reach Myohoji Temple because quite a lot of people and Yatai food stalls were lined toward it. I was so excited because I had never been there. Walking up the stairs, I found a huge main hall and lots of stands selling Daruma dolls modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen sect of Buddhism. He was born in south India as a third son of the King and became a monk in China to be the father of Zen Buddhism. Nowadays, Daruma is generally believed in Japan as a god of success in business or study.

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Turning around, I was more surprised at the scenery. Mt. Fuji looked so magnificent and gorgeous with much snow !
I strolled around to buy some snacks such as Yakisoba fried noodle and Takoyaki and reached the seashore in five minutes or so through the pine grove.

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There I saw an indescribable sunset ! Stunning. I finished my snack and was waiting for the darkness to come.

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It was quite mystic to see Daruma market at night. Lots of bulbs were lit. Congenial orange-tinged flickers embraced passers-by warmly. I saw some having a huge daruma doll in their hands.

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PDFファイル(795KB)

For Japanese (795KB)

Bishamonten Festival will be held this year on January 29th through 31st. English information is available from the website of Fujisan Tourism & Communication Bureau. If you are coming by Shinkansen high-speed train, please stop at Shin-fuji Station and be sure to drop by the Bureau for more tourist information of Fuji City.

Have a good day !

Bishamonten Festival ( Jan 29 – 31 )
Access : Bishamonten Myohoji Temple
10 - 15 minute walk from JR Yoshiwara Station
Hours : Jan 29 & 30th = 8:00 – 21:00 /Jan 31st = 8:00 – 20:00

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