Winter Day-Trip in Shizuoka
By Araya Pensook. Posted on March 14, 2014
If you are looking for a way to have fun near Nagoya, Shizuoka might be a fantastic choice. Located in central Japan, Shizuoka is relatively large in both population and geography, but these characteristics do not come close to defining the brilliance of this city. Breathtaking scenery, a rich culture and a wide range of fantastic food all contribute to the wonders of this city.
It was Christmas morning, December 25th, 2013! The four of us grabbed our bags, went to Nagoya station and took off to Shizuoka Prefecture. We bought seasonal tickets called Seishun 18 Kippu (青春18切符). Basically, you can use these tickets to travel anywhere across the country using JR trains — a perfect way for student travelers like us.
After we arrived at Shizuoka Station, we went to the information center, where we were given tour ideas and told how to get to the famous areas of the city. We took a bus bound for Nihondaira to see the highlight of the city, the view of Mt. Fuji. It took us around 30 minutes to arrive at the spot where we needed to climb 1,159 steps to get to the Nihondaira Ropeway, which would take us to the best Mt. Fuji viewing area.
What overwhelmed us was not only the great view of the blue ocean right behind us but the quiet town full of small houses and fruit orchards growing oranges and strawberries! In front of almost every house, there is a shelf containing packs of strawberries. If you want to try fresh strawberries, just put 200 yen in the box and it's all yours!
Along the 1,159 steps to Nihondaira ropeway, the strawberries we bought were gone in a flash. The weather was nice, and a light breeze was blowing the whole time. However, we were getting more hot and tired as we made our way up the stairs, despite it being almost mid-winter. The breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean, the remaining red leaves along the walkway, and the sight of old couples holding hands and walking side by side made us realize what a wonderful day it was.
Next to the ropeway, there is a shrine called Kunosan Toshogu (久能山東照宮). it's nice to appreciate the historical sites of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
The ropeway ride was only five minutes in the air. It was a little bit shaky, but the scenery ahead of us made it worth every second! Getting off the ropeway, the highlight of this trip was approaching. Nihondaira located at the top of the hill, only a five-minute walk from the ropeway station. And here comes the all-time favorite mountain of Japan!
Near the area where we viewed Mt. Fuji, there was a famous green tea field where visitors could walk and take photso of the vast tea fields with Mt. Fuji in the background. According to the owner, spring is the best time to visit. The field will be bright green and smell heavenly! What we experienced that day was nothing short of spectacular, wouldn't you agree?
After walking and contemplating the scenery, it was time for us to head back to the city center. Before we took the bus back, the owner of the field gave us a cup of superb green tea they made for each of us. So fresh and so rich, and it was complimentary! We went back to Shizuoka Station to see the winter lights and Christmas illumination. Only a 10-minute walk from the station, the whole street is lit up with a Christmas theme. Young couples, kids and families, though walking and shivering in the cold night, were laughing and enjoying each others' company!
Like I said before, if you are tired of the same old way of celebrating Christmas and you have celebrated in more ways ways than anyone could possibly imagine, come and try the tour my friends and I took. You'll realize that Shizuoka is such an underrated prefecture that has many wonders worth every second and every penny.
Araya Pensook is from Thailand. After spending a year learning Japanese in Nagoya, she is currently pursuing master degree in international development at Nagoya University. She loves traveling, eating, photography and learning new languages and cultures.