The prefecture of Shizuoka, one hour by bullet train from Tokyo, is set to welcome some new developments for 2023, including a unique hiking experience, the reopening of Kakegawa Castle and cruises docking in the prefecture.
New hiking experience along the ancient Tokaido hiking route and beyond
The new five-day ‘Fuji, Hakone, Izu National Park Hiking Tour’ allows visitors to discover the culture and natural heritage of this historic part of Japan.
The tour begins with a day of hiking along the ancient Tokaido hiking route, a footpath that for five centuries linked Japan’s modern capital Tokyo with the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Osaka, followed by a day alongside the Old Shimoda Foot Highway, which runs down the middle of Izu Peninsula UNESCO Global Geopark.
Next on the itinerary is the port town of Shimoda for a day of coastal walks, followed by a day along the spectacular Jogasaki Coastline on the Izu Peninsula and finishing with a climb to the summit of Mt. Kurotake for panoramic views of Mt. Fuji (weather permitting).
The tour starts from JYP 498,000 (approx. £3,100) based on two people sharing and inclusive of the guiding fee, four nights of accommodation and meals (four breakfasts, five lunches and four dinners). The full itinerary, as well as terms and details, is available here.
Revamped Kakegawa Castle set to reopen in April
Following a nine-month renovation, Kakegawa Castle is set to reopen on April 1. Located a short walk from the town’s Shinkansen station, it offers the perfect opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in Japanese history. Originally built in the 16th century and restored using traditional Japanese building techniques, the castle’s majestic position on a hilltop offers stunning views across the surrounding landscape.
It also features displays of samurai items and is one of only four castles in Japan to feature a preserved ‘goten’, an original Samurai Lord residence. For those visiting in April, the 150 cherry trees in bloom around the castle will make the visit extra colourful.
Three new cruises stopping in Shizuoka
Set to launch in April and November, respectively, the 10-Night Japanese Immersion Cruise’ by Oceania Nautica & Seven Seas Explorer and the ‘Round trip to West Japan and ten days in Korea’ by Diamond Princess will both include stops of eight hours and over at Shimizu Port.
The new cruises will give travellers a few hours to explore the area with nearby sights, including Kunozan Toshogu Shrine, a shrine dedicated to the renowned shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, accessible by ropeway (or 1,159 steps for those more adventurous) and offering breath-taking views of Suruga Bay (Japan’s deepest bay) below; and Shimizu Fish Market, perfect for trying the many delicacies the bay has to offer with restaurants serving the catch of the day.
Debuting in April, Westerdam’s ‘15-day Japanese archipelago cruise’ will dock at Omaezaki Port at 7 am and depart at 4 pm. For travellers looking to stretch their legs, the picturesque Omaezaki Lighthouse is approx—forty minutes by foot and offers (weather permitting) views of the Izu Peninsula and Mt. Fuji. Omaezaki Long Beach, a popular surfing and windsurfing spot, is also accessible from the port.
Photography courtesy of Tourism Shizuoka Japan.
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