10 unforgettable experiences in Shizuoka Prefecture

Within easy reach of Tokyo, Shizuoka prefecture unites some of Japan’s most legendary landscapes with culinary delights and culture. 

Located in central Japan, Shizuoka Prefecture is renowned for its stunning landscapes and cultural heritage. Home to Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest peak, it offers breathtaking views, hiking opportunities and culinary delights. Hot springs, relaxing cruises, waterfalls, history and surfing are all on the cards here, and, while it may feel like a world away from the bustling streets of Tokyo, Shizuoka Prefecture is very easy to reach. From Tokyo, travellers can choose to take a domestic flight to Shizuoka Airport, or catch the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo Station to Shizuoka Station, which takes just under two hours. We’ve found 10 of the best things to do in Shizuoka Prefecture. 

10 best things to do in Shizuoka Prefecture 

Scale Mount Fuji

Perhaps Japan’s most recognisable landmark, Mount Fuji is a massive volcano that reaches 3,776 metres in height and has a nearly perfect shape – often topped with snow. You’ll find it in Shizuoka Prefecture, and will likely spend most of your time here looking for the perfect vantage point. There are many. One of the most adventurous ways to experience the mountain is by climbing to its summit (even beginners can do it). The official climbing season typically runs from early July to early September. 

The Nihondaira Yume Terrace
The Nihondaira Yume Terrace offers 360-degree views of Mount Fuji, Shimizu Port, Suruga Bay and the Izu Peninsula

Relax in onsen

Shaped by lava flows over tens of thousands of years, Shizuoka Prefecture’s Fuji- Hakone-Izu National Park begins in the foothills of Mount Fuji and then spills south to the Izu Peninsula, a craggy peninsula that juts into the Pacific Ocean. Thanks to its volcanic history, the region is home to more than 2,100 hot springs. The historic town of Shuzenji Onsen beckons, with its string of small ryokan (traditional inns), rotenburo (outdoor baths) and restaurants clinging to the banks of the Katsura River. The most famous hot spring in town is the Tokko-no-yu, dating from 807 AD. 

Cruise Saruga Bay

Suruga Bay Ferry connects Shizuoka City and the Western Coast of the Izu Peninsula, and offers magnificent views of Mount Fuji for those travelling without the hassle of traffic. The enchanting Dogashima Tensodo Blue Cave, a circular sea cave skylight created by fallen rock, can be explored on a boat tour.

Ride the waves 

With nearly 270 kilometres of coastline, the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture has its fair share of dreamy beaches. Among the standouts are Shirahama and Kisami Ohama in Shimoda – the former is a long stretch of white sand and crystalline waters, widely regarded as the most beautiful shoreline on the peninsula. Other highlights include Yumigahama Beach and Atami Sun Beach. But there are dozens to choose from. 

woman in onsen
A volcanic history means onsen soaking is a major drawcard

Sample Green Tea 

Head to Nihondaira Plateau to witness the region’s other culinary star: green tea. Arrive to rolling, aromatic fields of tea and flowers, with incredible vistas all the way to Mount Fuji and the Southern Alps. A ropeway from Nihondaira connects to the historically significant site, Kunozan Toshogu Shrine.

Explore Shiraito Falls

Shiraito Falls appears to have been plucked straight from the pages of a fairytale. While just 20 metres high, the spectacle is more than 150 metres wide, and there are hundreds of waterfalls that flow down like shiraito, which means ‘white threads’ in Japanese. The falls are fed by spring water from Mount Fuji, and they are a magical sight, and even more so when the water is in full force. It’s one of the best things to do in Shizuoka Prefecture. 

Learn about Shimoda’s history

The town of Shimoda’s claim to fame dates to 1854, when it served as the landing point for Commodore Matthew Perry’s ‘black ships,’ marking the end of Japan’s era of isolation and the start of diplomatic relations with the United States. History buffs will love the interpretive signs. 

Overlooking the pretty harbour of Shimoda
Overlooking the pretty harbour of Shimoda © Shutterstock

Sample culinary delights 

Hungry? You’ve come to the right place. The town of Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture is famous for its unagi (eel), traditionally seared in a sweet and savoury sauce, which you’ll find in just about every restaurant you visit. And as the region is surrounded by ocean, seafood is also on the menu. Expect treats like kuro hanpen (blackened fish cakes), sakura ebi (mini shrimp) and dried horse mackerel, not to mention the freshest catch of the day. Don’t forget to add locally grown wasabi to your meal, to add delightful kick to your culinary experience.

Peruse the gardens and shrines

Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine in Fujinomiya City at the foot of Mount Fuji enjoys more than 500 sakura (cherry blossom) trees colouring the grounds a dreamy pale pink in spring. At Okuni Shrine in Mori Town, known for its blessings in marriage, visitors flock to admire the autumn hues along the Miyagawa River. And at Kinomiya Shrine in Atami City, there is a huge camphor tree here believed to be 2,100 years old.

Hike through nature 

The Okuoi region is a national park guarded by mountains up to 3,000 metres high in the northern part of Shizuoka Prefecture. There are dozens of hiking trails taking you through the untouched forest and along the Oi River, as well as around scenic Lake Ikawa and Lake Hatanagi, particularly pretty in autumn. Don’t miss walking across the hair-raising (but insanely beautiful) Bridge of Dreams suspension bridge in Sumata Gorge. 

bridge over river
Shizuoka is blessed with wilderness areas for hiking and other adventures

How to get around Shizuoka Prefecture 

Shizuoka is a breeze to get to from Tokyo, with a Shinkansen train connection to Shizuoka City, as well as to Atami at the top of the Izu Peninsula. There are also a number of local (and luxury sightseeing) trains around the Izu Peninsula.

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This article was produced with content supplied by Tourism Shizuoka Japan and is a Vacations & Travel digital exclusive. Be the first to see more exclusive online content by subscribing to the enewsletter below.