The name of Suruga Ward in Shizuoka City, which I’m introducing today, comes from its location facing Suruga Bay. The origin becomes evident when Suruga (駿河) is written in Kanji. In this context, the rivers created by melting Mount Fuji snow flowed into the sea like a swift horse (Shunnme – 駿馬), capturing the meaning of both “駿” and “河” (river) in the Kanji characters.
Actually, this bay is not only the deepest in Japan, with a depth of about 2,500 meters, but it’s also known for its wide variety of marine life. There are 3,600 confirmed fish species in Japan, and approximately 1,200 of them call Suruga Bay their home. And the most amazing thing is that all domestic sakura shrimp are unique to this area. In fact, sakura shrimp live only in this region and Taiwan. Thus, they are called the “jewels of Suruga Bay”. Furthermore, Suruga Ward has a comfortable climate and clear air due to an abundance of nature. On the other hand, the cityside and transportation have developed, making it a convenient place to live.
In this blog, I’d like to introduce tourist spots and seafood experiences in Suruga, located in the southern part of Shizuoka. It’s an amazing place for those who love seafood, given its wide variety of marine products!
What To Do ?
Kunozan Toshogu Shrine
Kunozan Toshogu Shrine in Shizuoka is a famous tourist spot, where the former Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu is enshrined. To reach it, you can take a ropeway from the north side or climb 1,159 stone steps from the south side. It is quite hard for people who don’t work out, but it is worth going on a walk.
In spring, the shrine is a fantastic place to see cherry blossoms, including early-blooming cherry trees, Plum Blossoms, Kawazu Cherry Blossoms, Somei Yoshino, Weeping Cherry Blossoms, and Double-Flowered Cherry Blossoms. You can enjoy various blossom viewings until mid-April. The beautifully decorated buildings which are national treasures are great for photos.
Sumpu Takumishuku is Japan’s largest traditional workshop, offering a wide range of craft experiences like Suruga bamboo work, Japanese dyeing, woodworking, lacquer, and pottery. These crafts have been handed down in Shizuoka since the Imagawa and Tokugawa eras and are still cherished today.
At Takumishuku, you’ll find a lot of workshops that are even suitable for children, starting from one-coin workshops at 500 yen ($ 3.35(USD)), to more authentic traditional cultural experiences where you can take your item home. This place is highly recommended in Suruga.
You can make a reservation online as their website offers services in 4 more languages besides Japanese. However, even without a reservation, you can enjoy craft experiences since they have extensive plans, making it a convenient option for last-minute changes due to unexpected rain or other factors.
Why not create your own favorite piece here, or craft a handmade gift for someone special?
Hirono Seaside Park
It’s also a great idea to take a stroll in the Hirono Seaside Park, where there are family-friendly facilities and even a large pirate ship. This seaside park is nearly a kilometer road and is well-maintained, making it easy to walk along the beach. Additionally, palm trees line the pathway, allowing you to enjoy a tropical atmosphere while feeling the refreshing sea breeze. It would be the best feeling to have a picnic here.
If you climb the hill, you can even see Mount Fuji. So I recommend you to experience the unique charms of the seaside in Suruga.
What To Eat?
Freshly caught raw whitebait typically has a sweet flavor and less fishy smell. This draws many people to Suruga Bay in search of fresh whitebait.
This Donburi House is particularly known for its ‘nama-shirasu-don,’ a fresh whitebait bowl available only on fishing days. However, if you’re not a fan of raw whitebait, they also offer alternative options such as ‘kama-age shirasu-don’ (Boiled whitebait bowl) and ‘tuna bowl.’ The seating is only outdoors, but the sea breeze adds to the charm of enjoying these seafood bowls.
Please note that they only serve fresh whitebait on fishing days. However, it’s still worth trying their seafood dishes by the sea!!!
For those who want to savor whitebait and sakura shrimp in a relaxing setting, ‘Ooishi’ is highly recommended!!!!
They offer combo meals where you can enjoy both whitebait and sakura shrimp at the same time. The Shizuoka specialty, sakura shrimp tempura, is incredibly satisfying, and some even say it’s so big that you may not finish it all. Fresh seafood is caught early in the morning, and is a perfect match with local sake.
It seems that autumn is the best time to enjoy delicious whitebait and fresh fish, so that’s another important point to remember. When you travel to Japan in the fall especially, be sure to give it a try!!
Takano is also a highly recommended establishment with a 40-year long history. At Takano, they exclusively use fresh or farmed seafood, never frozen. While ingredients are at their freshest, you can savor the texture in their sashimi, and when they mature, they serve it as sushi. So whenever you order seafood, it comes with the perfect taste and timing.
Furthermore, the menu on the whiteboard in the restaurant changes daily based on the fresh ingredients they get. This way, you can experience seasonal flavors whenever you visit. Visit Takono and enjoy the variety of seafood that you can only find in Suruga!
Actually, Suruga is not just about seafood, ‘Menya Clear’ is also a MUST-visit place. They take pride in using 100% local ingredients for their handmade noodles and dishes, making it a beloved spot among locals. The main ramen menu is divided into four types: ‘Uttori,’ ‘Shittori,’ ‘Nettori,’ and ‘Bettonri,’ each named after onomatopoeic words used in Japan. For instance, Uttori is often used to describe something entrancing or captivating.
The ramen prices start at 900 yen ($ 6(USD)), and a highly recommended option is the ‘Toro Soft Bone Chicken Soba.’ The chicken-flavored soup is as amazing as the name on the menu and is sure to become your new addiction. Moreover, the side menu of the roast beef bowl is really delicious.
In addition, they often have a seasonal special menu, so be sure to check their X.
How about adding Suruga to your travel list? While many people associate Shizuoka with Mount Fuji, there are more places waiting to be explored! Suruga is known for its beautiful nature and thriving fishing industry, making it a favorite among both locals and seafood lovers. Therefore, I highly recommend visiting and trying the super fresh seafood unique to Suruga before it reaches your nearest supermarkets. Don’t forget to visit, as it’s a chance to savor the authentic flavors.
On a trip to Shizuoka Prefecture? Book your guide to discover the area with a local expert!
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