The iconic Mount Fuji towers above a region peppered with revered Buddhist shrines, beach towns, shimmering lakes and the castles of ancient feudal warriors.
Between the Pacific Ocean and towering mountains is Shizuoka. Lakes, waterfalls and lush, terraced tea fields create a picture-perfect countryside, the setting for the legends of rulers from bygone eras. Relax at the seaside resorts and surf spots that earned Shizuoka its nickname as Japan’s Riviera. Experience a harmonious blend of age-old traditions and modern lifestyles at vibrant cities.
At 12,386 feet (3,776 meters) tall, Mount Fuji is Japan’s tallest peak, one of its three sacred mountains and a popular summer climbing destination. Visit Otodome Falls and Shiraito Falls in the volcano’s foothills. Fuji city is a gateway to the tea fields of Imamiya. Admire the cypress forest of Chichibunomiya Park in Gotemba and enjoy views of Mount Fuji from Lake Yamanaka.
Onsen (hot springs), beaches and mountain scenery make the Izu Peninsula, a favorite coastal getaway. Atami, squeezed between Sagami Bay and Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, has attractions such as Atami Castle and Hatsushima island. Tour the 9th-century Buddhist Shuzenji Temple and ride the English-styled Shuzenji Romney Railway in Izu. Shimoda blends surfing at Shirahama Beach with onsens and Mount Omuro has miles of hiking trails.
Spend time in the prefectural capital Shizuoka, a city that dates back to the 8th century. Sunpu Castle is a former feudal fortress built by the shogun dictator Tokugawa Ieyasu. Take the cable car to Kunōzan Tōshōgu Shrine, on Mount Kuno. In Hamamatsu, the Nakatajima Sand Dunes are a nesting site for loggerhead turtles. The garden at Hamamatsu Castle is decorated with 400 cherry trees.
Go biking, fishing, parasailing and wake-boarding on and around Lake Hamana. Kanzanji Onsen is the lake’s busiest town and close to family-friendly attractions. Among them are Hamamatsu Flower Park, Kanzanji Ropeway and Pal Pal Amusement Park.
Located on Honshu island, the Shizuoka prefecture is about a 2-hour drive from Tokyo. Expect mild year-round temperatures and heavy rainfall in August and September. Come in May for the kite-flying displays, parades and street parties of the Hamamatsu Festival.