17th Oct Day 1
We reached Shizuoka Airport around 1140, met Miss Agata and a gentleman (Mr Mizumori was unable to make it) She passed us some souvenirs and brochures for our travel before bidding us farewell. As my bus comes at 1240, the Miss Agata Colleague decided to bring me to go for Green tea appreciation within the Airport.
At 1240, we took the Shizutetsu Bus (1000 yen) to Shizuoka station where I bid farewell to Miss Agata Colleague. I took the taxi (4000 yen) to Nihondaira Park but the weather was foggy due to bad weather. I walked around the park and went to 2 scenic spots where I should be able to see Mount Fuji as well as the coastline area but I was not able to do so.
After spending about 40 minutes there, I decide to take the cable car to Mount Kuno to see Kunozan Toshogu Shrine. It was a really short journey but was pleasant as we see some red autumn leaves and the gorgeous coastline facing the Suruga Bay. The shrine was very impressive and I enjoyed the zen-like experience walking around the area. I like the intricate carvings and the very well maintained shrine.
After spending about 30 minutes, I decide to head to next destination, Sunpu Yume Hiroba.
Sunpu Yume Hiroba – visitors can enjoy natural hot springs, food, play, culture in the reproduced streets of Edo period.
I walked down the hill for about 15 minutes as it was over 1100 steps, it was rainy as well so I took extra precaution. With printed map and guidance from the friendly shrine staff. I reached the onsen in about 40 minutes. I think this is one of the best onsen I ever been to as it was really huge. There are 3 indoor baths, sauna, 4 outdoor baths facilities available in addition to the huge showering area, changing area, restaurant area as well. I truly enjoyed myself there after a day of walking with my huge backpack.
At about 730, I took the free shuttle bus back to Shizuoka JR station where I was really famished. I decided to have a quick dinner first as it was raining quite heavily as well. So I had Hanamaru as I like udon. After that it was still raining so I took the train to Shimizu station, where I checked in for the night. I walked around Shimizu and had a bowl of ramen before I sleep for the night.
18th Oct Day 2
Rise and shine! I walked to Kare no ichi to look at the fresh catch of the day and for my breakfast. I saw several restaurants opened but there is one particular store that sparked my curiosity as it looked like a canteen for the workers there. With my limited Japanese abilities, I managed to order Maguro Tenshoku (900yen) that is really generous with 6 pieces of fresh tuna, a broiled tuna, korokke among other side dishes. Tuna is really famous in Shimizu port as the largest amount of Tuna lands on this port in whole of Japan. As I walked along the pier, I managed to catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji for the first time; I was really touched as it was that gorgeous as fabled.
After about 20 minutes of walking, I reached S pulse dream mall. As it was still quite early, most of the stores are preparing for opening. There are tons and tons of food available, particularly huge amounts of seafood.
S Pulse Dream Mall Ferry to Toi Port was cancelled due to Typhoon on the other side of suruga bay 🙁
I walked straight to the pier and was planning to get my 10:40 ferry across Suruga Bay towards Toi Port. But alas, the weather wasn’t favorable at Toi Port side and all ferry rides has been cancelled for the past week. It was especially disappointing for me as I feel this ferry ride will be one of the highlights of this trip. The weather looked so good on Shimizu skies though. Even though such an unfortunate incident happened, I just looked on the bright side and continued my journey overland to Izu Peninsula. I had booked my accommodation in Shuzenji.
The very helpful staff from the port accompanied me back to dream mall where I took a bus back to Shimizu JR station, from there I took JR line to Mishima. Along the way, I can see Mount Fuji in the background.
Upon arrival in Mishima, I decided to look for the local tourism office for a local map and suggested restaurants. I was so hungry! The first place I visited was Rakujyuen, a few minutes walk from Mishima station. As it was early autumn, I could see some red leaves. I think it be even more beautiful in a few more weeks. It is a nice quaint park with plenty of tourists, working adults and school excursions. I was lucky and managed to catch the guided inside tour of Rakujyuen. The paintings were very detailed and gorgeous. As I exit Rakujyuen, I walked into Genbe River, a sparkling clear river snaking through the peaceful neighborhood. Both young and elderly Couples held hands as they walked alongside the river. I reached a shrine with a cemetery before heading out into the main street where I found Sakuraya, possibly the best Unagi I ever had. Although it was not cheap (3375 yen) 1-2 hours queue were commonplace and this is one of the most famous joint in Mishima. The unagi was really fresh and I think much effort had been put behind in cooking it. The outer crust was crisp, caramelized with a smoky flavor when the flesh is tender juicy and sweet. The unagi skin does not have any “fishy” smell and the sauce complimented the unagi perfectly. I spent 30 minutes enjoying it.
Next, I walked to Mishima shrine and was fully absorbed in the atmosphere of the place. There was a deer enclosure beside and I saw young children feeding the deer, with their parents accompanying them. I passed by several parks as I walked back to Mishima Station, it was a relaxing walk for me as I see people having an enjoyable time relaxing in the park.
As the day end, I took the Hakone-Izu line to Shuzenji, the final stop where I took a bus to Shuzenji spa resort. It was dark when I reached and I proceeded to my Ryokan for the night, Onsen is a must for a good slumber!
19th Oct Day 3
Awaken by calls from the friendly Ryokan housekeeper, I proceeded for my breakfast
and spent the morning walking around Shuzenji. This is as Japanese as it can get, what I think as a small Kyoto. I loved the peaceful environment as I strolled around this quaint town. There are several attractions such as the temple, free foot bath, bamboo forest, art galleries etc One could easily spend a day here walking around. There was a funeral service at Shuzenji Temple as a group of people dressed in smart black suits. Just wonder around aimlessly and you may bump into something unexpected, even a lasting memory of this place.
I took the same bus and train back to Mishima where I met up with my 2 Japanese friends, Masashi and Takeshige. We proceeded to Numazu port for lunch straight away! I am really lucky as Masashi drives, thus its very easy for me to get around. We saw this restaurant with very long queue and placed our names on it before walking around Numazu fishing port. There were bountiful harvest from the sea and plenty of seafood items on sale. We enjoyed the fresh seafood bowl with plenty of fresh seafood. Also, they were quite affordable considering the quality and quantity. After lunch, we took a break at Numazu port, enjoying the sea breeze and the warmth of the sun. We saw plenty of families enjoying themselves.
We drove past Toi and straight to Lovers cape. There are plenty of couples walking around, enjoying the breathtaking landscape. The sun looked really huge against the horizon. We rang the bell for good luck and a safe trip. Afterwhich, we drove south and reached Nishi-Izu in time for sunset. We saw the sun slowing disappear into the horizon. We also saw the tensodo (hole through the ground where we can see the water below) but there were no ferry available, I think it will be really magical to see the rays of light through the hole in the day. This sunset is probably one of the nicest and most heart warming I seen.
After the sunset, it was about time and we decided to head for our ryokan located in Ito region. It was quite a scary drive through the woods as there are really no street lamps but at the same time, it was really interesting to drive in pitch darkness. We can see the blanket of stars above us. After checking into our ryokan, we went to an izakaya for dinner and had really fresh seafood and beer. We also went onsen right before we sleep and slept like a baby after that.
20th Oct Day 4
The day started with breakfast at Ryokan, after which we headed for Joagasaki Coast. The view was gorgeous and simply breathtaking. There were many families and groups of people coming here having a great time together. The view of Pacific Ocean with the horizon is simply marvelous, neither words nor pictures can describe the spectacle of the view. The water is emerald crystal green and form white splashes as it struck against the cliff. One could imagine the force of the ocean waves. We managed to spot several dolphins as well but my camera was not able to capture them well. The view of the bridge across the cliffs is simply iconic of Jogasaki Coast and it’s easy to understand why.
Next, we went to Mount Omuro, which is a bare hill, I personally think it’s very interesting and special. Never have I come across such a geographical feature before. After reading up about it, there is an annual festival in February where local residents burn the mountain to create the look. Once we are there, we took a 10-minute chair lift to the top where we can walk around the volcano rim crater. One can participate in Archery right in the crater that I think will be a very unique experience not to be found elsewhere in the world.
It’s about time for lunch and we drove all the way to Fujinomiya to try the local specialty, Yakisoba. My friend did some research online and found this number one store called Yuguchi. We had 3 types of yakisoba and all were very good! But I like the garlic and bacon the most.
After lunch, we went to Asagiri highland to view mount Fuji. We were really lucky that day as the weather was fantastic, sunny and cloudless, perfect match to marvel at splendor of Mount Fuji. There were plenty of people as well and the view did not disappoint. Snowcapped mount fuji at the rear, complimented by lush greenery at the front a and brightly colored floral for contrast, simply postcard perfect. I can simply stand there for hours to savor the majestic Mount Fuji.
After highland backdrop, we decided to view Mount Fuji with a lake instead and we went to Lake Tanuki where the famous double diamond Fuji could be seen during certain duration of the year. Even still its not the right time, the view was as spectacular as ever, perfect symmetry reflection onto Lake Tanuki. We stood rooted to the ground and much longer than we expected. I personally feel this is the best moment, the highlight of this trip. All this traveling is simply worth it. Words simply cannot describe the view. I truly understand why people regard Mount Fuji as one of the most beautiful Mountains in the world, one view and you can easily understand why. I can never get tired of looking at Mount Fuji
We could not bear to leave but we still have a few more attractions to see before we call it a day. We went to see Shiraito Falls but unfortunately, it was closed for renovation. We still managed to sneak a peek though, as the name implies, water flows down like silk treads across the length of the waterfall.
As it was evening time, we parted ways and my friend dropped me at Yaizu city where I stayed at one of the most value for money hotel. There is a 2 hours free flow alcohol buffet, in hotel onsen and breakfast buffet included in this 4200yen single bedroom! As dinner is not included, I ask the reception and some Japanese for good sushi joint and I enjoyed my dinner. It was as fresh as it can get!
21st Oct day 5
This is the last day and as my flight was at 1pm, I checked out and walked around Yaizu city. I managed to see Yaizu port before I travel to Shimada where I transferred to a bus to Shizuoka Airport. Although it was a short trip, I truly enjoyed myself and amazed at how beautiful Shizuoka is, I really hope more people will get to know about Shizuoka and the treasures she has. Thank you to Taku Hasegawa san, Mr Nicky, Miss Annie and Shizuoka Division Jetro Singapore for this once in a life opportunity.