Tea farmer in Shizuoka. This green tea is called ocha in Japanese.
Shizuoka is a city in Shizuoka prefecture. It is just one hour away from Tokyo by Shinkansen. Shizuoka is perhaps most famous of it's beautiful nature and plants, especially hydrangeas and of course green tea (ocha) farms.
When talking about Shizuoka, often people imagine only green tea farms but actually the area is vast in culture and natural resources. There are hot springs, perfect spots to view and photograph Fuji mountain, and rare folk craft and local foods.
Shizuoka also hosts variety of seasonal festivals. For example there is Okichi Memorial festival in March, in which the geisha in Shimoda offers a mass for Tojin Okichi. Tojin Okichi was a girl who became mistress to first American Consul in Japan, Townsend Harris. Tojin Okichi was already married to her Japanese husband who she loved very much. But when Townsend Harris conveyed his liking to her, she was required to obey the command of this important political figure - she became mistress against her will. Rei Kimura's "Butterfly in the Wind" tells about life of Tojin Okichi and is recommended reading.
Yugano Onsen Odoriko Matsuri is an event of Yugano Onsen. It features "Izu-no-Odorikoh", the Izu Dancer, which is also famous novel of Yasunari Kawabata. This festival is dedicated to this milestone of Japanese literature of Kawabata.
Late April brings Atami Odori dance show where geishas in Atami region will perform traditional dance and art show. Atami Odori is very popular, in fact so popular that it is hard to get in, and people wait in very long lines.
The famous handcraft of Shizuoka include Suruga lacquerware, Moriyama-yaki ceramic waves and kitchenware, and lacquered geta sandals.
Shizuoka is famous of it's fruits, mikan (mandarin orange), melons, strawberries, and also wasabi (horseradish), the famous Japanese spice. Another recommended food in Shizuoka is Sakura ebi shrimps from Suruga bay.
Shizuoka has the fresh breeze of cultivated land and nature. Just within one hour from Tokyo, you can enjoy this amazing variety of traditional culture of Japan.
We recommend to visit there.