The Brilliant City of Shizuoka!


20161122-15-01-Brilliant-Shizuoka [Photo of Shizuoka City at dusk]

Shizuoka City was once the home of revolutionary shogun Tokegawa Iaeysu and remains one of the greatest cities on Earth.  It has a warm atmosphere that must be experienced to fully enjoy.  Unlike Tokyo, the dwellers of Shizuoka seem less burdened by the rigorous demands of a large city.  However, paramount elements of the Japanese lifestyle are present and flourish here.  It's a clean, beautiful, walkable and incredibly convenient place to stay.  Historically, it's also an icon of Japan's journey from the past and a critical link to its present.


[Ieyasu statue in Sumpujo Park]

Tokugawa Ieyasu was the preeminent shogun leader during Japan's Edo period.  His story is intricate and lush and truly worth exploring in detail and best way to do this is exploring the city he called home.  In fact, Shizuoka prefecture is so intertwined with Ieyasu that his reign can be explored from its height at Sumpujo Park (the former site of his castle) all the way through to Kunozan Tosho-gu Shrine which used to house his remains.  His story is captivating and a pivotal part of Japan's development.


[Shizuoka Prefectural Office Annex behind a castle turret in Sumpujo Park]


[The view from the 21st floor of the Shizuoka Prefectural Office Annex]

Many of the best opportunities for enjoying Shizuoka City are free of charge.  The city is host to both an Octoberfest and a Cannes themed street festival amongst many others.  Both of these particular events cost nothing to attend and are great experiences if for the ambiance alone.  Another must-see is the 360 degree view of Shizuoka City from the Shizuoka Prefectural Office Annex.  It's conveniently located in close proximity to Sumpujo Park.  Just walk in and ask to be directed to the 21st floor Mount Fuji viewing lobby.  From there visitors can view the entire city and (on a clear day) even Mount Fuji.


[A local, modern ramen restaurant made from a shipping container in Shizuoka City]

The local foods available in Shizuoka City are numerous.  Everything from ramen, soba, pizza and shaved ice is available.  The city's culinary options extend the full spectrum from local to foreign; casual to formal.  Shizuoka is well known for its locally-grown green tea and it can be found in numerous places within the city.  In addition, visitors can enjoy delectable seafood like cherry shrimp in Yui Bay and other local dishes at the Shimizu Bay fish market (Kashi no Ichi).


[A photo from one of Tamiya's model show locations]


[An example of scale models at Tamiya's annual hobby show]

Shizuoka is also home to the scale model manufacturer, Tamiya Inc.  Every year Tamiya hosts a multi-day model show that draws hobbyists from around the world.  The show is free of charge to attend and is a true spectacle to behold.  Enthusiasts are even allowed to tour Tamiya's manufacturing facilities.  Buses allow easy access to the multiple locations of the event.


[The path to Tokugawa Ieyasu's Kunozan Tosho-gu Shrine]

Lastly, Shizuoka is an excellent place to visit beyond it's cost-effectiveness and convenience.  The location of the city is only a one hour Shinkansen ride from both Tokyo Station and Nagoya.  His makes it easy to utilize the city as a travel hub with the ability to easily travel north or south through the country.  Shizuoka Station is also one of few train stations which offer visitors free mobile wifi units to rent (15 day rental).  The wireless modules can be used across the country and can be easily returned at most convenience stores with the provided postage-paid envelope.  Be sure to enjoy all that Shizuoka City has to offer and teach.

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