SHIZUOKA: EASTERN REGION (ATT.JAPAN ISSUE 58)
Travelers in Shizuoka Prefecture can always enjoy the beautiful views of Mount Fuji. This article will take you to the eastern area of Shizuoka Prefecture.
Sengen Taisha Shrine is the head of all shrines for worshipping Mount Fuji. Located west of the shrine is Fuji Takasago Sake Brewery, which was founded around 1830. Its sake made with underground water from Mount Fuji is characterized by its mild taste. The brewery offers a free brewery tour for the purpose of promoting better understanding of Japanese sake. You can learn how rice is turned into sake from master sake brewers. You will also enjoy the specific aroma and atmosphere of Japanese breweries. Fujinomiya is famous for yakisoba. The dish is made with chewy noodles and pieces of crispy meat (degreased meat chips) which give it a rich flavor. Some restaurants are self-service, so you can even try cooking noodles yourself.
This long-established town of paper manufacturing offers great views of Mount Fuji, as the name suggests. Bicycles are convenient to go around the city. The Tourist Information Center at the Shin-Fuji Station on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line has free rental bikes (5 bikes. Reservations accepted), and offers English cycling maps. A 20-minute bike ride will take you to Tagonoura Port, which is famous for fresh and tasty shirasu (young white fish). You can try fresh raw shirasu on rice (shirasu-don). Boiled shirasu (kama-age) is good for those who are unaccustomed to eating raw fish. You can enjoy a great view of Mount Fuji from Chuo Park, which is located about 15 minutes away from Shin-Fuji Station by bike. If you have energy and enough time, please visit Hiromi Park with superb views and beautiful flowers, and Iwamotoyama Park, which can be reached from Jisso Temple by hiking.
Take a bus from the South Exit of Numazu Station for about 10 minutes, and you will be at Numazu Port. The port area is filled with restaurants and fish markets. You can enjoy fresh seafood dishes and buy local seafood at Numazu Minato Shinsen-kan shopping mall. You will enjoy looking at the lively sellers and fresh seafood on display. Go to the second floor of the adjacent Numazu fish market INO, and you can watch auctions from 5:45 a.m. to about 7 a.m., except for Saturdays. The raucous calls of auctioneers are overwhelming. Awa-shima Island, located to the south of Numazu has Awashima Marine Park. The aquarium offers various events, including performances by dolphins, sea lions, and seals. You can touch sea urchins, starfish, sea cucumbers, and other creatures on the second floor. The popular frog museum, which breeds and exhibits frogs from all over the world, has the most kinds and number of frogs in Japan.
This area, which used to have a magistrate’s office, has prospered as the center of the surrounding region as well as a post station in older times. Mishima-Taisha Shrine, which is located about 15 minutes away from Mishima Station on foot, is famous as the shrine where Minamoto no Yoritomo, a military commander in the 12th century, prayed for the revival of the Minamoto Family. The magnificent shrine pavilion stands in deep woods. The treasure museum exhibits its collection of precious treasures, including national treasures, such as makie-tebako cosmetic boxes and swords.
Snow Town Yeti starts operating from mid-October, which is the earliest among outdoor ski areas in Japan. There is a space for playing in snow for children and slopes exclusively for sledding, as well as courses for intermediate to advanced skiers with a peak incline of 25 degrees. Snowboarders are also welcome. There are rental shops, so you can come enjoy skiing without bringing your own gear. Located in the south of Yeti is Grinpa amusement park. There are many amusement facilities for children. The whole family can enjoy the Ferris wheel at an altitude of 1,280 meters, which is the highest in Japan. A slope for sledding and a skating rink are open from mid-December to the end of March. You can conveniently access both facilities from Gotemba Station and Mishima Station by city bus. You can purchase a special ticket for bus fare plus facility entrance fee at Fujikyu Bus counter at both stations.
This city has long prospered as a starting point of Mount Fuji climbing. Gotemba Premium Outlets(R) with about 210 stores selling a wide variety of items, from premium brands to household goods, is the biggest outlet mall in Japan. There are many restaurants and cafes, so you can enjoy shopping the whole day. There is a free shuttle bus service from Gotemba Station.
Fuji Speedway in this town is a circuit which holds world-class car races. It held F1 Japan Grand Prix in 2007 and 2008. If you can schedule ahead, try Circuit Taxi, where you can experience the circuit without a driver’s license. This service offers you a ride in a pace car driven by a staff driver on the circuit. The very fast acceleration and close cornering by a skilled driver is not something you can experience in ordinary driving in daily life. Reservation by the day before is required. Check the calendar on their official website for the schedule.
JR Tokyo Sta -> JR Mishima Sta: about 1 h by the JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line
JR Mishima Sta -> JR Fujinomiya Sta: about 50 min by the JR Tokaido Line and JR Minobu Line
JR Fujinomiya Sta -> JR Fuji Sta: about 18 min by the JR Minobu Line
JR Fuji Sta -> JR Numazu Sta: about 20 min by the JR Tokaido Line
JR Numazu Sta -> JR Mishima Sta: about 5 min by the JR Tokaido Line
JR Mishima Sta -> JR Susono Sta: about 30 min by the JR Tokaido Line and JR Gotemba Line
JR Susono Sta -> JR Gotemba Sta: about 22 min by the JR Gotemba Line
JR Gotemba Sta -> JR Suruga-Oyama Sta: about 12 min by the JR Gotemba Line
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