The Calm Hills of Shizuoka: A Place of Magnificent Japanese History

The Basics of Shizuoka, Japan: City Map and Zip Code

Shizuoka Prefecture is just one of the many interesting parts of Japan. Having forty-seven individual prefectures, each one has its own story to tell. Having been witness to many years of feudalistic lifestyle, the history of Shizuoka is definitely a tale as old as time. Notable historical figures that once walked the lands of Shizuoka include the first Tokugawa shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu. For hundreds of years, though intermittently, it was the residence of the affluent Tokugawa clan.

Geographically speaking, Shizuoka Prefecture is a coastal region with half of its border extending into the Pacific Ocean, at Suruga Bay. Meanwhile, approximately half of the area extends into the mountainous Japanese Alps. A big chunk of Shizuoka's land area is populated by natural wonders. In fact, there are a couple popular, well-known parks in the area.

Among 3,000 SQ. miles of land area, there are twenty-three cities with the more prominent ones being Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Numazu, Fujinomiya and Atami. Of course, Shizuoka city is the official capital of the prefecture. Hamamatsu, on the other hand, is the largest city in the prefecture. Numazu city is mainly popular as the entryway for tourists or visitors headed to Mt. Fuji, while Fujinomiya is the city that holds the majestic Mount Fuji. Lastly, Atami is a famous city known for its selection of great onsens.

A map of Shizuoka Prefecture can be subdivided into four major parts. The Western Area is located, as the name implies, on the western part of the prefecture. On the southwest part of this region is Hamamatsu, the largest city in the prefecture, and home to the Shizuoka University.

The Easter Area can further be subdivided into two regions. The upper east side of the prefecture is considered as the Eastern (Fuji) area since Mt. Fuji is here. Of course, cities like Fujinomiya and Numazu can be clustered as part of the Eastern (Fuji) region.

Meanwhile, the lower east part of the prefecture is classified as the Eastern (Izu) area. This is comprised of mostly coastal towns, as this area is surrounded by different bodies of water. Atami can be classified under this section.

Lastly, the Central Area of Shizuoka contains all of the cities in between the East and the West Areas. The capital of Shizuoka, which is Shizuoka City, is also subsequently located in this part, as well as other essential parts of the prefecture such as the Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Airport.

Looking at the layout of Shizuoka, it may be overwhelming to think how one travels from one place to another. Luckily, Japanese transportation is considered to be the most advanced in the entire world. In fact, any part of japan can easily be within reach, thanks to the world-class railway systems developed in this country. For Shizuoka, traveling from one part to another is made easy through the shinkansen, JR and other railways that pass through the different regions. All railways pass through the Western and Central Areas, however, the coverage for Eastern Izu and Eastern Fuji are quite limited.

Similar to Tokyo, Shizuoka also makes use of special wards. Unlike Tokyo, however, there are far fewer wards inside Shizuoka. There are only three wards, namely Aoi, Shimizu, and Suruga. On the other hand, Hamamatsu city has seven individual wards under its jurisdiction.

Anyone who's looking into sending a parcel or mail to Shizuoka may easily find the specific zip code through the use of the Internet. All zip codes that fall under Shizuoka's jurisdiction contain the seven digits in this format: 4XX-XX00. The first digit of the zip code is always four, and the last two digits are always double zeroes.

Understanding Shizuoka, Japan's Weather, and Climate

Those who are looking into visiting Shizuoka may want to keep two important points in mind. The first thing to note about Shizuoka's climate is that it is quite warm. This can be attributed to the climate classification in which Shizuoka falls under; humid subtropical. The second thing to note is that it rains often in Shizuoka.

Timing is key when scheduling a trip to Shizuoka. The warmest months are usually July and August, where the temperature rises up to nearly 38 degrees C. While it is quite hot at Shizuoka all year long, the chances of experiencing colder weather is greater during the months of December, January, and February.

Partaking on a trip to Shizuoka also means dressing for the weather, which in this case is perpetually rainy. Ironically, Shizuoka is also quite sunny. There is a lot of rainfall, more so during the hotter June and July months.

The main guide for anyone who's going to Shizuoka is to invest in good outerwear. That way, he or she will always be prepared whenever rainfall would hit the prefecture. On the other hand, outerwear can easily be ditched during sunny, warm weather.

A Guide to Tourist Attractions in Shizuoka, Japan

Due to the large number of places to go to in Shizuoka, it can get quite overwhelming. There are tons of sights to see, places to visit, and things to do. Shizuoka also happens to be the home of one of Japan's greatest tourist attractions: Mount Fuji.

Every year, millions of visitors go to Mount Fuji to marvel at Japan's tallest mountain. Mount Fuji itself is an icon of Japanese culture, and a lot of people go to Mount Fuji to see the legendary volcano in person. While some people take a trip to Mount Fuji just to climb and take pictures of the scenery, the more adventurous souls have the option to engage in paragliding; an intense sport that involves free flying through the use of a glider.

Shizuoka's prominence in the older days has been the reason why many affluent families, including the famed Tokugawa clan, decided to base their families within the confines of Shizuoka. While the olden world has barely any traces left, a great legacy left behind by the feudal lords was erecting of castles.

Hamamatsu Castle

There are three prominent castles within Shizuoka. These castles are Sunpu Castle, Hamamatsu Castle, and Kakegawa Castle. Visiting castles from the ancient days is a great way to see, and learn more about the traditional Japanese way of life. These castles are also a good way to showcase traditional Japanese structures, which have been restored and preserved well so that the future generation has an opportunity to see these remnants of the old days.

One of the many wonderful things about Shizuoka is that it has been blessed with plenty of scenic natural areas. It's close proximity to the ocean means there are plenty of connected bodies of water within Shizuoka, this includes rivers such as Fuji river and Kano river.

However, those who want to visit picturesque bodies of water may opt to visit Shizuoka's lakes. Lake Sanaru and Lake Hamana are good options for those who are looking for a place to relax and contemplate. Meanwhile, the city of Atami offers a beach for those who are more interested in actually going into the water.

Lake Hamana

To honor the first Tokugawa shogun, a memorial has been erected in place in order to keep his remains. Mt. Kunozan Toshogu is an architectural wonder dedicated to Ieyasu Tokugawa after his passing away. Aside from the shrine itself, the location itself is close to Nihondaira, another great tourist spot in Japan for zoo hopping and riding a tram through a ropeway.

Other Things to Do While in Shizuoka, Japan

In Japan, the act of watching cherry blossoms is called "Hanami". Cherry blossoms are considered as a wonder of Japan, and people from all over the world travel to Japan just to witness those magnificent pink and white trees. One town, in particular, Kamo District in Kuwazu, is a popular spot for those who want to view cherry blossoms.

Given Shizuoka's prominence in the tea industry, some tea plantations actually capitalize on Japan's beaming tourism and offer activities that tourists may enjoy, such as tea picking. Greenpia Makinohara, in particular, is a heaven for tea enthusiasts. Aside from letting guests pick their own tea during harvest season (between the months of April to October, they also offer additional knowledge on Japanese tea, such as how to properly prepare tea and its health benefits.

Tourists who are visiting Japan may find that prices of goods in Japan are quite expensive, especially for buying foreign goods. Tourists hailing from Europe and North America may just opt to purchase goods from their own home country. Tourists, however, should not automatically cross out the idea of brand shopping in Japan, because outlets do exist for a reason.

Basically, outlets in Japan aim to serve the same purpose as any other outlet all over the world: to provide cheaper items. Shizuoka is home to Gotemba Premium Outlets, a massive mall that houses both local Japanese brands and western name brands. The vibe of the whole place is very reminiscent of a mall in America: free Wi-Fi, coffee shops, and ATM machines. It is a hit among tourists and locals alike; hence, it can get quite congested during weekends.

There are also local festivals within Shizuoka that are worth participating in. For example, the Daidogei World Cup festival does not showcase football players, but instead, it is a large festival that honors street performers.

Best Hotels in Shizuoka, Japan

With all the talk about Shizuoka's many offerings, it is hard to resist not visiting the location. For those who have decided to take a trip to Shizuoka, here is a quick guide on some of the best hotel options within the prefecture. However, travelers should also consider their whole itinerary when choosing a place to stay.

One of the semi-luxurious hotel options in Shizuoka is Hotel Century Shizuoka. This is perhaps one of the most well-rated hotels within the prefecture. Being in the heart of Shizuoka City itself, its proximity to major establishments, as well as the train station definitely provides added convenience to its guests. Their in-house restaurant also serves a lot of great Japanese meals day and night.

If Hotel Century isn't luxurious enough, the Nippondaira provides a whole new experience altogether. This is best for travelers who are not after a fast-paced schedule but instead are looking for a change of scenery. Located near the foot of Mt. Fuji, the hotel itself is covered in large glass windows to provide an unadulterated view of Mt. Fuji. Staying in a hotel like Nippondaira makes any trip a far memorable one by heaps.