Last week’s post was about Basashi ( ばさし/ 馬刺し), so this week I need to start with し (shi). I decided to write about…
Shizuoka ( しずおか/ 静岡)
I lived in Hamamatsu City in Shizuoka Prefecture for a year from 2010-11. While I was there I discovered a lot of beautiful places by taking local trains and buses into the countryside or to the coast. I could write all weekend and still not cover everything about Shizuoka in this post, so I’m going to focus instead on the three things Shizuoka is most famous for:
One of the most iconic sights in Japan has to be Fuji-san, or Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji is actually on the border between Shizuoka and Yamanashi (山梨県), and is surrounded by the famous Fuji Five Lakes (富士五湖). Tourists flock to Mount Fuji every year to catch a glimpse of the mountain’s perfect shape, and to climb up to see the sunrise. It’s safe to climb Mount Fuji in July and August, and not advisable to climb at other times of year. You can find out more about climbing Mount Fuji on the Mount Fuji Guide. Even if you can’t make it to Shizuoka, it’s still possible to see Mount Fuji. Depending on the weather and time of day, a clear view of Mount Fuji can even be seen from Tokyo.
2) Green Tea
Shizuoka is the largest producer of green tea in Japan, accounting for 45% of Japan’s overall tea production. Shizuoka’s climate, the quality of its water and its location all help to make it the perfect place to produce tea. Green tea comes in a number of different varieties suitable for drinking on different occasions. Personally, I love a cup of light sencha (煎茶) from Shizuoka and, even though I’m no tea buff, you really can tell the difference between tea grown in Shizuoka and tea grown in other places, such as Kyoto.
3) Unagi (うなぎ)
Unagi (eel) was one of my favourite dishes while living in Japan, and I was delighted to live in an area which produces the best unagi. Lake Hamana in Shizuoka is where the local speciality eels are cultivated, and boy do they taste good! Grilled eel on a bed of rice is one of the best dishes (see above) and, even though eating eel may seem a bit strange to some people, I’d encourage you to give it a go. I don’t even eat meat, but eel is one of the nicest things I’ve ever tasted as a pescetarian.
If you find yourself in Shizuoka Prefecture, most likely staring at the beautiful Mount Fuji, I highly recommend that you check out some of the other places in Shizuoka and, of course, try the local cuisine. Shizuoka boasts some beautiful temples and shrines, as well as the lively Hamamatsu Festival in May and Daidogei (street performance festival) in Shizuoka City in November.
Shizuoka (しずおか) ends with か (ka), so next week I will be looking for a noun beginning with “ka”. If you have any suggestions, please leave them below! And, don’t forget, no words ending in ん! (^_^)v