Jul 1, 2015
The blend of Japanese culture, traditional arts, and contemporary influences gives Shizuoka a multifaceted identity that is at once unique and mesmerising.
Despite Shizuoka’s long history that dates back to the Nara period (710 – 794), it was during the early 1600s when Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu decided to make Sunpu Castle in Shizuoka city his retirement home that the area started to prosper.
Said to build the solid foundation on which modern Japan is based, Lord Ieyasu was a highly respected political leader who founded the legendary Tokugawa Shogunate, a feudal military establishment that ruled Japan from 1603 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Before he died in April 1616, Lord Ieyasu requested to be buried in Kunouzan, an ancient temple built in the 9th century. As a symbol of utmost respect to Lord Ieyasu, the Kunouzan Toshogu – a Shinto shrine in which Lord Ieyasu is enshrined with the name Tosho Daigongen – was built by Tokugawa Hidetada, the second shogun.
Today, visitors can also check out the Museum of Kunouzan Toshogu outside the shrine, which showcases the personal belongings of shoguns through the ages.
To build Kunouzan Toshogu, Tokugawa Hidetada invited several wood carvers from Edo (ancient Tokyo), most of whom stayed behind after it was completed, and evolved into a generation of skilled craftsmen who specialise in creating plastic models – one of the major industries that define Shizuoka today. Every year, Shizuoka Hobby Show, the biggest fair in Shizuoka that spans three days, attracts a crowd of nearly 300,000 people from Japan and other parts of the world!
390, Negoya, Suruga-ku Shizuoka-city, Shizuoka, 422-8011
In Japan, tea – particulary green tea – is synonymous with harmony, respect, and serenity. Nearly 70 percent of green tea consumed in Japan is produced in Shizuoka, 40 percent of which is sourced from within the prefecture. At Ocha no Sato, you will be able to learn more about the history of tea and even experience the significant Japanese tea ceremony. The museum is divided into several sections, including an interesting exhibit of tea rooms from around the world. You can also take a stroll at the garden and check out the tea ceremony house – both of which are reconstructions of the architectural works of renowned tea master, Enshu Kobori – for an otherworldly experience that evokes a lasting sense of peace.
Once you’ve had a tour around the Tea Museum, don’t miss the last stop: trying out the myriad yummy green tea-flavoured drinks and desserts! They include soft-serve ice cream and the popular Japanese fish-shaped pancake known as taiyaki filled with red bean paste.
Ocha-no-sato (The Tea Museum)
3053-2, Kanayafujimicho, Shimada-city, Shizuoka, 428-0034