Restaurant Sun Beach is one of the few remaining restaurants and souvenir shops around Marine Science Museum. During summertime this shop is a popular place to buy some ice creams and shaved ice(Kakigori). It is also popular among Uchihama Beach Sailboarders because there aren't so many places to buy things around there.
When you are entering into the museums in Masaki from tour buses the first thing you may see is this former training and marine research vessel Tokaidaigaku Maru No.2. This ship was built in 1967 and served as the training ship for Tokai University School of Marine Science and Technology between 1968-1993. This ship is by far the most popular outdoor exhibits of the marine science museum and is often used for the memorial photos.
A half-size replica mermaid statue in front of Marine Science Museum was donated to Tokai University by the mayor of Copenhagen in 1971. The statue is the replica of the Statue of the Little Mermaid in Langelinie based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen and was sculpted by Eline Eriksen in 1913. The model of the statue was Ellen Price the prima dona for the ballet of Andersen's fairy tale. This replica has been treated well here except it turned to rusty color due to air pollution. There is no news that this statue has ever been hurt or damaged in any way. The other little mermaid statues are located in Osaka Port, Shodoshima Island, in Kurashiki and in Anjo.
Natural History Museum often nicknamed as KYORYU-NO-HAKUBUTSUKAN(Dinosaur Museum) in Masaki area of Miho-no-Matsubara is not as popular as neighboring Marine Science Museum which is one of the most popular of its kind in Japan. The reason seems to be that there are lots of great Natural History museums in Japan and more will be coming because of post-Jurassic Park Dinosaur booms still unfading. Also Marine Science Museum takes so much time because it has a lot of eye-catching things to see and not so much time left for this museum. It is not a bad museum at all though it is a bit old-fashioned. It starts from Post-Cambrian era and for children it is good to see that first things they see are dinosaurs. Photo #1 is Plesiosaurus, an aquatic reptile which appeared from early Jurassic era about 200 million years ago and became extinct around 65 million years ago. Photo #2 is Archaeopteryx the world's first bird. The fossil is the replica of what is in Humbolt Museum in Berlin, Germany. Photo #4 is one of Natural History Museum buff's favorites triceratops elatus. It is also a replica. There aren't so many things to see for sure but it is still a good place for visitors with small children.
Note: There is no foreign-laguage notes for oversea visitors. Curators can help you in English I guess. Contact the museum before visiting to be sure.
Alternate names: Miho Seacoast, Miho Pine Grove(s), Miho Peninsula, Miho Sand Spit
Miho-no-Matsubara, recently designated as a part of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage is a sand spit renowned for the beautiful beach with black pines. It has been one of the most popular places to view Mount Fuji since the ancient times. According to the legend Miho Peninsula has been formed by the God(Holy Mountain Mount Fuji) as the restplace for goddess descending from Mount Fuji. The beach is also associated with the legend of goddess of Hagoromo. The legend was made into a Noh Play in late 16th century. In early 17th century Iyeyasu Tokugawa, the first Shogun of Tokugawa Government established current Tokaido Road and one of the lodging station, Ejiri-shuku(current Shimizu Station area), became popular place for viewing Mount Fuji over the sand spit covered with black pines.
Miho-no-Matsubara has been formed with the long shore drift carrying huge amount of sand from Abe river which originates from 2000 m-class mountains where there is 3,000 millimeter annual precipitation. 54,000 trees of black pines, however, have been planted since 17th century to prevent the Shimizu area from salty gust. While eastern beach is filled with black pines and sand beach, western area has been filled for the shipyards. Northenmost part of the sand spit has some tourist attractions such as Museum of Natural History and Marine Science, Sailboarding areas, fishing and diving areas.
Uchihama is the beach located close to Masaki facing Shimizu shipyards. During summer this area is used as a sea bathing resort and during off-season this beach is used for Sailboarders. The beach at the west coast of the sand spit is calm with little waves. The sandbar area of Masaki is often used as a pier.
Status: A part of UNESCO World Heritage Component Site Miho Pine Grove under Mount Fuji: Object of Worship Wellspring of Art and Culture
Masaki is the northernmost tip of the Miho Sandspit shaped like a huge wrench. Western tip is a small sandbar serving as a natural pier for sailboats. Eastern tip has a small lighthouse extended by artificial objects.
Although Masaki is a part of World Heritage people visiting this place may seem unaware of this. They enjoy weekend leisure activities such as walking, fishing and viewing various kinds of vessels coming in and out of the Shimizu Port. From Masaki you can see the red lighthouse at the other side of the port area.
The official name of the red lighthouse is Shimizu Ko Outer Breakwater South End. Most of the vessels you can see around Masaki are freight carriers. Occasionally there are some ocean liners visiting Shimizu for special occasion. Major Ocean liners visited to Shimizu include the Queen Elizabeth II in 1990, Aster in 1999. With Mount Fuji approved as World Heritage, people in Shimizu expect there will be more to come.
Regular cruise liner is Suruga Wan Ferry linking Shimizu and Toi four times a day.
Miho Pine Grove is rich in wild plants, particularly along the Miho Nature Trail.
1. HITOTSUBA (Pyrrosia lingua)
One-leafed fern around or on the pine tree trunk is Pyrrosia lingua also seen in residential gardens. Pyrrosia lingua is also a medicinal herb for urination problems.
2. KOBANSO (Briza Maxima)
Briza maxima is not native to Japan. Originated in Europe this plant spread worldwide and in Japan it can be found in central to southern Honshu area. It is also cultivated in residential gardens. In some areas of Japan Briza maxima has been weeded out because it might threaten native plants which are endangered.
3. KAWARANADESHIKO (Dianthus superbus var. longicalycinus)
A perennial plant native to Japan has recently been replaced by invasive plants and has become harder to find in the wild. It blooms from July to August. The presence of this plant shows that Miho Pine Grove area is ecologically well-balanced.
4. OHNIWAZEKIJO (Sisyrinchium iridifolium Humb.Bonpl. et Kunth var. laxum Maekawa)
A perennial plant originated in North America. Flowering in May and June. Scientific name of the plant has not yet been agreed upon among botanists. Above scientific name was given by late botanist Fumio Maekawa.
5. TOBERA(Pittosporum tobira)
A shrub often used as a landscaping or hedging growth is originally grown in China and Pacific coast area of Japan west of Kanto area. It is often seen in the area between sand beach and pine grove or evergreen forest. In Miho coast, Japanese Pittosporum can be found under the pine trees. It has white flowers in May and June.
Miho airfiled is a small airfield merely 500 meters long. Unfortunately this airport is used only for emergency and medical supply purpose and only copters and crafts assigned to red-cross relief efforts can land, take off and train. Since Shizuoka Airport was opened in 2009 this airfield has been used less and less. It now looks like an abandoned airport and landing and takeoffs can been seen rarely.
Miho Lighthouse, located near the 500-meter-long airport, is the common name for Shimizu Lighthouse, 17.7 meters in height. This 100-year-old lighthouse is the first lighthouse in Japan constructed with reinforced concrete.
The plants that can be seen in the seashore include Calystegia soldanella, or seashore false bindweed flowering in May and June. And in July and August you can see the flowers of Vitex Rotundifolia and Oenothera laciniata. Close to the false bindweed colonies you can find Carex Kobomugi. I am not sure if there's crinum asiaticum, or giant crinum lily can be found in the wild. This vitex rotundifolia and Oenothera laciniata vegetation colonies are located about 200 meters southwest of the Hagoromo pine tree
Compared to Kamagasaki Path, this nature trail starting from Madame Helen's Monument, is really quaint, signs of few human souls. Then you can see the nearly untainted wild habitat of plants. At the southen end of the trail a bike road will lead to the southern part of the Miho Coast.
Kagagasaki is known as a scenic spot in Miho Peninsula. This loop trail about 30 minutes a round will make a nice stroll and the pine grove gives us nice shade in sunny days. From the Kamagasaki beach there's a bike road about 1.5 kilometers in length leading to Miho Lighthouse.
French Ballet Dancer Helen Giuglaris loved the Noh Play of Hagoromo and wished to visit the place. But she passes away in 1952 and her hairs were buried at this site with stone momument for her. This monument is surrounded by giant crinum lilies (flowering around July and August), which has been becoming hard to find in wild habitat in Miho Coast.