Located in the southeast part of central Japan, Shizuoka Prefecture (静岡県) is popularly known as a beach resort destination. It is also known for several onsen (温泉) resorts and attractive spots such as the Mt. Fuji (富士山). It is located between Tokyo (東京) and Kyoto (京都) making it an ideal destination for travelers coming in and about. So if you’re wondering how to spend your day in the place, here are 4 fun activities to check out.
Shizuoka has an abundant place for green tea plantations. It is quite impossible not to visit one of these green fields if you’re in the area. A place known for picking tea is Grinpia Makinohara (グリンピア牧之原) which is known to produce many Japanese tea.
Foreign visitors are given the chance to immerse themselves into the world of Japanese tea by allowing them to pick young green tea leaves. They’ll be able to touch the tea in the middle of the vast gardens. They can also eat tea cuisines or taste tea directly from the manufacturing sales. This local experience is open to everyone for a participation fee of 820 yen (including tax) for adults and 720 yen (including tax) for elementary school students and below. Tea picking is usually available from the end of April to the beginning of October. If you like, you can skip this part instead and go to the adjacent manufacturing plant where you can observe the whole process of producing tea.
There’s also a restaurant providing dishes directly related to tea such as tea soba noodles, tea tempura, and tea desserts. This is definitely a must-visit for the tea lovers!
This is a place that provides an elaborate showcasing of the local model manufacturing industry and spreading of awareness to visitors and hobbyists both in Japan and abroad. Shizuoka Hobby Square is a showroom, museum, and retail store in one. It started with the introduction of the first plastic models to Japan in the year 1960 which continued to evolve in the modern industry. Hobby manufacturers were able to acquire a huge collection of high-quality products which enabled them to become world-famous brands.
The Shizuoka Hobby Square aspires to share to different people its proud tradition of hobby products which can be enjoyed by an even larger group of interested individuals. There’s a Permanent Exhibition Area which shows the historically significant crafts culture as well as the latest products of Shizuoka-based hobby manufacturers. An Event Area is also located in the place which can be enjoyed by different people of varying ages and different walks of life.
To get to the place, you can just hop off at the South Exit of the JR Shizuoka Station (JR静岡駅). The Hobby Square is just a short walk from there. Admission to the Permanent Exhibition Area is free and admission to the Event Area depends on the event happening. You can find almost anything in here from cars to replicas of historic castles, miniature robots, and so much more!
Enjoy the finest craftsmanship of YAMAHA’s grand pianos at the YAMAHA Kakegawa Factory Harmony Plaza (ヤマハ株式会社掛川工場ハーモニープラザ) in Kakegawa City (掛川市). Here, you can observe the manufacturing process of the famous brand’s grand pianos with the aroma of wood. The tour is good for 90 minutes which starts with an introduction video and is guided by a staff. You’ll be able to witness how craftsmen use traditional techniques in producing the pianos which have long made a name since 1900.
The tour accommodates a maximum of 20 people in a group and admission is free. Reservations are necessary as tours are only available on weekdays. Remember though that there are no tours during national holidays (Golden Week, New Year’s Day, etc.). Reservations are accepted as early as two months prior to the visit. English guided tours are also available upon request.
If you’re a music or piano lover, you will surely enjoy this interesting and educational activity. The sight and sound of the tour are going to be unforgettable. You can also hear little tunes being played as the pianos are being transferred from stations to stations. Technicians also show great skills in adjustment and installation of the little parts while bending down to complete the process. It can be a daunting task for them but it is a great reminder for visitors to treasure the YAMAHA pianos they have at home.
Gotemba Premium Outlets is the flagship center and one of the largest Premium Outlets in the country. It is situated on an extensive site within a great view of Mt. Fuji, one of the World Cultural Heritage sites. The whole place is vast which measures approximately 400,000 square meters. Around 210 shops can be located here offering both foreign and local brands. There are also a number of restaurants and a food court. It is a nice place for shopping as most items sold here are internationally known including household goods and electronic gadgets. It is easy to bring babies along as there’s a rental service for baby carriages. To make shopping fast, an automatic currency exchanger to Japanese yen is at the tip of your hand. There’s also public Wi-Fi which you can access for your internet needs.
Since it is one of the popular outlet malls, expect the place to be congested during weekends as everyone heads here for their shopping fix. Prices here are not ridiculously cheap but rather better than the regular retail shops in the country. Most stores accept several credit cards from MasterCard to Visa, American Express, Diners, etc. The reasonable prices of items attract many shoppers thus it is recommended that you also take a break from shopping at one of its relaxing cafes.
This outlet even has a 50-meter high Ferris wheel and is located on the outskirts of Gotemba City (御殿場市) not too far from Hakone (箱根). You can actually take a one-way/round-trip direct bus from Tokyo Station (東京駅) to the outlets costing 1,650/2,880 yen for adults and 830/1,440 yen for children.
You’ll definitely enjoy your day in Shizuoka if you spend it in these fun ways. A great number of tourists are visiting the place every year so don’t miss your chance to see and explore the area as well.