Gokukucho-dori Street is a narrow shopping street extending from Shizuoka Station North Exit. It is one of the spots where Daidogei World Cup, an international street performer event, is held in early November. It is also one of the most popular shopping streets in Shizuoka. There are wide variety of shops, fancy cafes, shopping malls and souvenir shops. Walking about ten minutes from Shizuoka station you will see Aoba Street another popular street with nice park area.
Aoi Tower is a new landmark of Shizuoka station area opened in 2010. It is 125 meters in height with twenty-five floors and two basement floors. The most well-known facility in the building is Shizuoka City Museum of Art on the third floor. It was designed by Research Institute of Architecture and constructed by the consortium of Takenaka, Kiuchi and Suzuyo.
Status: National Park
What is the highest mountain in Shizuoka City? Not Mt. Fuji, though it looks close enough. Even Shizuoka residents may not come up with the right answer. Mt. Ainodake, where the Origawa river originates has the altitude of 3,189 meters and it's the fourth highest mountians in Japan. Minami Alps with 14 over-3,000 m peaks lie between the border area of Shizuoka, Yamanashi, and Nagano prefecture and the highest peak of the mountain range is Mt. Kitadake, 3192 m, in Yamanashi prefecture. Its geological name is Akashi Moutain Range but nicknamed so after European Alps. From the hills and mountains near Shizuoka city area you can identify three Minami Alps peaks such as Mount Kamikochi-dake(2803m), Hijiridake(3011m) and Mount Akaishi-dake(3120m). From Dairabou the mountain peak(568m) located near the border between Okabe, Fujieda and Shizuoka, Mount Hijiridake is seen right beside Mount Kamikochi and Mount Akaishi-dake at the right of both peaks. Actually Mount Hijiridake is located north of Kamikochi-dake and about 2 kilometers apart.
**Other popular peaks in Shizuoka include:
Mount Shiomi (3047m), Mount Arakawa(3141m), Mount Notori(3051m)
**Popular peaks in Yamanashi side include:
Mount Kai-Komagatake(2967m), Mount Senjogatake(3032m), Mount Kitadake(3193m)
Mt. Mankanho, 470 meters above sea level, is one of the most popular hiking destinations for Shizuoka residents. It has been noted for the unhindered views of both Yaizu and Shizuoka and Mt. Fuji on a clear day. There are a number of ways to get to the peak with isolated huge trees. The ridge route from Nihonzaka Pass, an old trail linking Shizuoka and Yaizu is one of the most popular ways to get there. The photo#1 is Mt. Mankanho viewed from Osaka hamlet in Shizuoka. The mountain is the middle peak with nearly bald mountaintop. Photo #2 is Mt. Mankanho from Hanazawa village in Yaizu. From there the peak is often shrouded by the nearby peaks and only bald mountaintop(left center) area is visible in the far distance. Tokai Nature Trail Bypass Course links Nihonzaka Pass, Mt. Mankanho and Utsunoya town and the direction boards are also written in English.(Photo #3)
I will give you a detailed report in my travelogue when I climb the mountain again hopely this year.
**Currently the routes to Nihonzaka Pass from Hanazawa and ridge trail from Nihonzaka Pass to Mt. Mankanho is difficult to tread due to fallen trees after the typhoon last September.
Also referred to as Sattatoge Pass or Sattatoge Route. Satta Pass located between Yui and Okitsu has been the hardest place for travellers from Eastern to Western part of Japan. When natural disasters strike there making the main public transportation means inoperable such as Tomei Expressway, Tokaido Main Line, and Route one, even modern people may realize this fact.
The pass area also had strategic importance and a number of battles were fought there. Until Tokaido Highway was established during early 17th century the travelers had had to crisscross the trail along the precipice taking the risk of being washed away by the high waves. When Tokugawa Government prepared to welcome the entourage of Korean Emissary to Edo in early 17th century, the safety of the passage became the top priority for establishing the Tokaido Route. Mountain passage was then made and Satta Toge since then became a scenic spot for Tokaido travelers as Hiroshige's Ukiyoe woodblock printings show. After Ansei Tokai Earthquake the sea coast area was elevated enough to establish the seaside route. Present Route 1 is based on the seaside route. Today, Satta Pass is one of the most popular places for Tokaido Hikers with Mt. Fuji, Izu Peninsula and highway view under the pass, one of the landscapes representing Japan.
Also see Okitsu and Yui travel page.
Nihonzaka Pass Trail is one of the oldest official highways in Japan. It was designated as an official highway in 646 A.D. Today the Nihonzawa Pass Trail is one of the crossroads for hikers for climbing mountains nearby.
**The trail between Nihonzaka Pass and Hanazawa has been closed since last September due to the bad trail condition by the storm damage.
Meiji Tunnel is the first toll tunnel in Japan constructed in 1876. Before this tunnel was constructed travellers had to cross the steep Utsunoya pass trail which had been one of the hardest passes of Tokaido. Also the tunnel paved the way for the automobile age. First tunnel was cranked and had some faults and visibility was terrible. The first tunnel was burned down by the fire and the newer tunnel was completed in 1904. Newer tunnel had straight route attesting to the dramatic architectural achievement during Meiji period. To cope with the increased traffic, newer tunnel was built in 1930 about one hundred meters west of the Meiji Tunnel and Showa Tunnel in 1957 followed. Until recently Meiji Tunnel had been ruined and nicknamed as "Ghost Tunnel" occasionally used by locals. Since 1980s the historical value of the tunnel began to be appreciated and now the tunnel has lights and became a tourist spot for Tokaido walkers, free of charge and free of automobiles. Meiji Tunnel was introduced to the world by the landmark Patrick Carey book "Rediscovering the Old Tokaido". Near the entrance of Shizuoka side tunnel there is a small park with raised relief of Utsunoya Pass areas.
Utsunoya is the in-between lodgng station between #20 stop Mariko and #21 Okabe located at the entrance of Utsunoya Pass trail one of the hardest places to cross in Tokaido Road. The old town attracts a lot of tourists even from overseas because of the town's traditional lodging station atmosphere. The major places of interest are Ohaoriya Historical House, Keiryu Temple Meiji Tunnel and Kishigami, buckwheat noodle restaurant.
Okitsu used to be the 17th lodging station for Tokaido road about 10 kilometers northeast of downtown Shizuoka. Okitsu is also known for the start for Sattatoge Pass a scenic site well described in Hiroshige's work and some of the postcards for Japan. In Okitsu town area, Seikenji temple, Minaguchiya Gallery, and Zagyoso Villa are the popular places of interest. In Okitsu river tributaries there are also some nice places including Ojima Jinya, a quasi castle for Takiwaki Matsudaira clan with the great stone walls and the backdrop of Mt. Hamaishi and Shimizu Forest Park which also has a day-trip spa.
Also see Okitsu Travel Page for more information.
Before resting at the wooden arbor for the entire view of the garden, don't miss this intriguing stepping stones path behind the arbor to enjoy the walk under the plum trees. Such stepping stones path is usually located near the tea house and it gives you a pleasant surprise.
After getting into the garden, the first thing that may capture your eyes is Yatsuhashi Bridge. Yatsuhashi bridge is a series of bridges that are crossed with zigzag pattern. The plants near the bridge are Japanese Iris that bloom during June. It was October and out of Iris season but lone Tsuwabuki or leopard plant entertains the visitor. You will see more of them when you go deeper into the garden.
When you enter the Momijiyama garden, it is better that you buy a compound ticket for both the garden and East gate for 300 yen. Audio guide is available but only in Japanese. The writings of the entrance gate was by Tsunenari Tokugawa, 18th generation head of Tokugawa shogun family. When you enter the gate you will see the nice wooden fence. The entrance part of the garden is modeled after that of Ginkakuji Temple in Kyoto. It is perhaps intended to test your general knowledge of Japanese art and culture. After turning right you will see the cherry tree, placing a tree to hide the view of the garden is a sort of devise often used in Japanese garden.
East Gate(Higashi Gomon Gate) served as an important defence against the possible enemies. It is a masugata styled gate where the main entrance gate turns at a right angle and even if the possible enemies invade at all they would receive attacks from three sides of the square. Tatsumi Tower served as a watch tower for southeastern corner of the ninomaru enclosure. The buildings of the gate and the tower are now a museum displaying about the castle, Sumpu castle donjon in reduced size, the town of Sumpu(currently Shizuoka) during 17th century. And how the castle used to have been during Edo period (1603-1868). But unfortunately only explained in Japanese.
Momijiyama Garden at the northeastern corner of Sumpu Castle is a new landscape Japanese Garden built in 2001. It was designed so that it represents the beauties of Shizuoka with its scenic spots in reduced scale. Cone shaped mound is a tsukiyama(literally artificial mountain) of the garden denoting Mt. Fuji, azalea growth on the foot of the hill represents green tea plantation, and Suhama(literally sandbar beach) represents Miho Pine Grove. It also features the creek, waterfalls, stone pavement of Hakone road and tea house.
The prefectural museum opened in 1986 is one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Shizuoka. It is best known by its Rodin Wing which opened in 1994 featuring replicas of Rodin's major works such as "The Thinker", "The Burghers of Calais" , and "The Gates of Hell", one of the seven replicas in the world. The themes of its special exhibitions are very widespread and attract huge number of visitors. Regular exhibitions show its collected artworks including some of ukiyoe paintings, works of Japanese painting giants such as Taikan Yokoyama and wide variety of masterpiece western paintings. The museum also has its garden behind the Rodin Wing and you can enjoy the view from the lookout and the garden plants.
#1 in Shizuoka Sightseeing according to Tripadvisor.com.