Plan Your Trip
Exceptionally well located on the “Golden Route” between Tokyo and Kyoto, the Tokaido bullet train transports over 450,000 people through Shizuoka every single day – and every stop along the line offers a chance to explore a different part of the prefecture with different adventures and experiences to enjoy.
The following information will help you to Plan your Trip.
GETTING TO SHIZUOKA
Being situated on the main train line between Tokyo and Kyoto means that Shizuoka is extremely easy to get to and many of visitors to Japan go through the prefecture on their visits. Bullet train is by far the most convenient way to get to Shizuoka, but there are also more affordable bus and train options available.
By far the fastest, and most popular way to get to Shizuoka from Tokyo is to jump on the Tokaido bullet train at either Tokyo or Shinagawa stations. Be sure to check the bullet train as some express ones do not stop along all the Shizuoka stops, while the slower ones do. Either way, the total time deference is less than an hour.
In just 40 minutes, you will be in the historic coastal town of Atami and ready to explore the coastline of Izu Peninsula, lie on the beach or soak in a hot spring looking out to the ocean.
Other options include buses from Tokyo Station to either Gotemba and Fujinomiya, which take around 2 hours. Or from Shinjuku Station the Odakyu Romancecar is a very comfortable and scenic way to get to Gotemba in just over 90 minutes.
If you want to explore the Mt Fuji area more – Odakyu Railway also has the very affordable Fuji-Hakone 3-day pass that is a really affordable option for visitors wanting to add Hakone and Fuji Five Lakes to their itinerary.
If you are heading back to Tokyo from Kyoto, Shizuoka is also extremely convenient and is a great way to add something different to your trip. Just take the Tokaido bullet train heading towards Tokyo from Kyoto, and enjoy the stops in Shizuoka along the way.
JR RAIL PASS
A Japan rail pass is a great way to travel through Shizuoka as it allows visitors to move around from station to station in a short period of time without having to worry about spending too much money on train and bus tickets.
Combine your JR Rail Pass with some of the discount travel passes available in the Prefecture such as the Izu Dream Pass and you will be able to Explore Shizuoka very affordably.
If you have a JR rail pass, there are six bullet train stations you can visit in Shizuoka: Atami, Mishima, Shin-Fuji, Shizuoka, Kakegawa, and Hamamatsu – from each station there are a number of easily accessible 1 and 2 day trips that you can try – see our Model Courses for some inspiration.
Keep in mind that not all Tokaido Line bullet trains stop at every stop in Shizuoka.
There are three types of the bullet train along the route: Nozomi, Hikari and Kodama.
– Nozomi is the fastest and the most frequent, but does not stop in Shizuoka nor is it covered by the JR Rail Pass.
– Hikari runs twice hourly and stops in Atami, Mishima, Shizuoka City, and Hamamatsu City.
– Kodama, also twice hourly, stops at every stop along the Tokaido Line on the bullet train, including all six stops in Shizuoka.
– Hikari and Kodama are both covered by the JR Rail Pass.
GETTING AROUND SHIZUOKA
Shizuoka Prefecture is perhaps one of the most accessible regions of Japan – with rugged coastlines, rural landscapes, green tea plantations that stretch as far as the eye can see, crystal clear winding rivers and, of course the magnificent Mt Fuji there are unlimited backdrops to enjoy.
Once you step off the Bullet Train at any of the 6 stations along the Tokaido Bullet train line there are plenty of options to help you Explore Shizuoka.
By Local Train
Many of the best areas of Shizuoka can be explored by train and there are often some special passes that you can take advantage of that help to make travel very affordable.
After an early morning surf in the waves of Shimoda at the bottom of the Izu peninsula catch a train to Gotemba station for outlet shopping with Mt Fuji as the backdrop – after shopping jump on the Odakyu Romance Car and be back in Shinjuku in time for dinner.
Or step back in time and journey by Steam train through rice paddies and green tea plantations into the central area of Shizuoka by Steam Train – or there is a Thomas the Tank Engine for kids both young and old.
Or, if you enjoy a slower pace and relaxing train ride check out the Tenryu Hamanako Railway Line (Tenhama) that goes from either Hamamatsu or Kakegawa Station that winds through green tea fields, follows the Tenryu River and loops around Lake Hamanako.
To figure out how to get here, enter your starting and arrival station here.
By Rental Car
With technology in English speaking car navigation improving all the time and international phone coverage improving – renting a car in Japan is getting easier all the time.
There are car rental shops either attached to the main bullet train stations or just a quick walk nearby and most major rental car companies now have English websites and booking portals available.
Car and Camping car rentals are increasing rapidly in Japan as many visitors learn that (outside of the big cities) driving in Japan is safe and with the easy access to convenience stores, parking areas and hot springs bath houses or camping grounds car travel is a great way to Explore Shizuoka.
There are many popular routes in Shizuoka that are great for driving – The Izu Peninsula, The Mt Fuji Loop, Makinohara / Omaezaki Coastal Drive or Tenryu River Drive to the small village of Haruno are all highly recommended.
Traveling by taxi in Japan, especially if you are traveling in a group, is actually more affordable than many people would think and should be considered, especially if you are traveling in some of the smaller parts of Japan, as it can work out to be relatively cheap and a very convenient way to get around.
Taxi drivers in Japan are doing their best to better communicate in English but with smartphones so prevalent there is no longer a concern about language barrier.
If you are an avid cyclist looking for challenging terrain, a cycling enthusiast looking to stretch your legs and take in the scenery or just looking for a bike to cruise and enjoy a city or local area Shizuoka has you covered.
From attempting to cycle up to the 5th station of Mt Fuji or bike packing along the mountainous Izu Peninsula to cycling through green tea plantations on a Hybrid cross bike or taking a leisurely cruise on a rental bike through Hamamatsu City or around Lake Hamana or along the long stretches of coastline around Makinohara and Omaezaki, cycling is a great way to get around Shizuoka.
Check more info on Cycling in Shizuoka.