Shizuoka

I’m embarrassed to say that I lived in Shizuoka Prefecture for about 5 months before getting around to visiting Shizuoka city.  I’m even more embarrassed to say that the main reason I finally got around to it was because I wanted to see a big robot. I felt that was one of my “Things you have to do in Japan”…

Gundam at Higashi-Shizuoka

September 23rd was a holiday, so I decided to take myself on a mini adventure to Shizuoka. I took the JR train to Higashi-Shizuoka station, where I was able to see the giant robot above.  It was quite impressive, especially with the stormy sky and it’s glowing eyes. In case you don’t know, this is “life-sized” Gundam robot, erected to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Gunpla (Gundam plastic models).  I’m not a fan of Gundam (although I do like big robots!), but you can read more details here.  There was a hobby fair there, too.  But, not being into these sorts of things, I decided to skip that.

I then walked from Higashi-Shizuoka to Shizuoka. It really wasn’t that far – just a few kilometers – but when I told people I did that they said I was crazy. Still, I’ve always thought that one of the best ways to explore a place is on foot. That day, I walked so much I ached, and that’s a good thing.

At Shizuoka, I explored the station area a bit and had a little lunch. By this time it was raining a bit, but I didn’t let that ruin my day. Instead, I set off to explore!

When you’re walking, you always see stuff you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I was happy to find this little bookshop selling “Shizuokan” products:

Shizuoka stuff

According to the T-shirts, Shizuokans love soccer, green tea, mandarin oranges, strawberries and “kurohanpen” (which is a kind of fish). They’re good-natured, and are proud of Mt. Fuji, a mild climate, and clean water. Well, I can’t say I disagree that much. Most of the people I’ve met here are pretty good-natured, and they do seem to love soccer!

In town, there is a road called Aoba Symbol Road. It’s a sort of park which stretches 500 metres from Shizuoka City Hall to Tokiwa Park, and it contains an assortment of weird and wonderful sculptures.

Aoba Symbol Road

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Aoba Symbol Road

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Statue on Aoba Symbol Road (出会い)

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Aoba Symbol Road

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Aoba Symbol Road

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Aoba Symbol Road

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I then headed to Sumpu Park, which houses the remains of Sumpu Castle. Sumpu Castle was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1585. Now, it’s just a park with a moat, a turret, some gates and sculptures.

Tatsumi Yagura (Turret)

My favourite sculpture was this one of Yaji (left) and Kita (right):

Bronze Statue of Yaji-Kita

Yaji and Kita are characters of “Tokaidochu Hizakurige” (Travels on Foot on the Tokaido), written 200 years ago by Jippensha Ikku. Interestingly, when I Googled “Yaji Kita” I also found this 2005 movie which is loosely based on the story. In the movie, they’re gay. I wonder if they were in the original…

I made my way through the park and continued up to find Shizuoka Sengen Shrine.  I wasn’t expecting to find something so beautiful:

Shizuoka Sengen Shrine

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Shizuoka Sengen Shrine

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Shizuoka Sengen Shrine

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Shizuoka Sengen Shrine

The final goal of my wanderings was to reach Rinzai Temple, which was another 15 minutes walk from Sengen Shrine. Usually I prefer temples to shrines, but on this occasion the shrine won out. Still, the temple was nice.

Rinzai Temple

Unfortunately there were some big tour groups getting in the way of my photos.

Rinzai Temple

As I left the temple it suddenly became very windy and dark, and I feared it was going to become very stormy. So I quickly made my way back through town and to the station. By the time I got on the train I was actually cold – for the first time in a few months!

The summer was unbelievably hot, but it does finally seem to be over now. I wonder what we’re in for this winter…

My Shizuoka photos can be found on Flickr, as usual.

2 thoughts on “Shizuoka

  1. Yagikita is one of my all time favourite films! I went to see at a cinema in Japan when it was released not knowing what to expext but loved every minute despite not understanding any of it! I have the Japanese DVD which luckily has English subtitles for some reason.

    Like

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