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Shizuoka Dreaming

[SPONSORED CONTENT] Anchored by majestic Mt. Fuji, sated by Shimizu Port, and chilled out by the Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka Prefecture is a beautiful, bountiful region for a roadtrip. You’ll find romance at every turn; just hop in the car and drive.

Published on Feb 5, 2019

THERE ARE FEW THINGS MORE ROMANTIC than a roadtrip. The sense of exploration, charting your own course together, sharing a unique adventure determined only by the two of you—it brings a couple closer together. And when you do it in one of the most romantic settings on earth, oh the memories!

Sitting pretty between Tokyo and Osaka, Shizuoka is teeming with bountiful produce, beautiful flowers, fresh seafood. This coastal region is famous for hot springs, its rolling tea plantations that produce the most green tea of any region, and its wonderful wasabi—Japan’s wasabi cultivation started here. Everyone knows the superstar of the region is mystical Mt. Fuji, but a lesser known secret is its glorious early-bloom sakura: kawazu sakura draws savvy visitors as soon as February to celebrate the pink blossoms.

From Tokyo, set your sights on Mt. Fuji and head straight for it. You’ll find yourself on the Izu Skyline, a scenic expressway running along the eastern ridgeline. It feels like an otherworldly movie set, especially if the weather cooperates and you can see Sagami and Suruga Bays in addition to towering Fujisan. You’ll pull over multiple times for ever-more fantastic photos—especially when you get to Izu Panorama Park and its thrilling ropeway skywalk atop Mt. Katsuragi.

Come back down to earth but, perhaps, keep up the daredevil spirit at Shirahama Beach in Shimoda. There’s a reason it’s considered the best in Izu: crystal-clear waters, white-powder sands, worldclass resorts, gorgeous oceanic panoramas. And, as a bonus, this southerly town is also a mecca for surfing and windsurfing. Yes, Shizuoka is full of surprises!

Linger awhile down here on the Izu Peninsula. Though it has the most ryokans in the country, you’ll find quiet nooks, peace and romance among all the inviting ryokans. Whether you onsen-hop or check into one resort for an extended stay, it’ll be easy to soak up the tranquility.

Back up north in Fuji’s shadow, now’s the time to don your finest and take some wedding photos. From any direction and at any time of year, the scene is rendered even more romantic when it looks like you’re receiving the blessing of this sacred mountain. But one particularly coveted spot for pictures is Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine in Fujinomiya. This is the lead shrine of more than 1,300 shrines in Japan dedicated to the Princess of Blossoms also known as the Goddess of Mt. Fuji. You and your families will cherish these pictures for a lifetime.

Where to next? This is a journey from mountain to sea and back again. You won’t want to miss Shizuoka city. We’re not sure why Shimizu Port isn’t better known the world over, the tuna hauled in here is of such high quality the locals call Shizuoka the “City of Tuna”. Visit the morning fishmongers, then get to literally any sushi restaurant in the city. You won’t regret it.

A bit inland you’ll find shockingly pretty Sesso Lake. This turquoise blue waterway in the heart of the hills changes color depending on the season, light and even the daily current. Canoeing and kayaking is beyond beautiful in autumn. And high on a bridge above is Okuoikojo Station, an unstaffed railway station that provides a scenic viewing point for the natural surrounds. Not that this next-level beauty will even surprise you by this point on your Instagram-hit of a trip.


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