Spotlight – SHIZUOKA CITY
Japan’s most famous Samurai, Tokugawa Ieyasu, chose Shizuoka City to live out his twilight years – it is easy to see why.
Shizuoka City – a cosmopolitan city with a storied past
SUMPU CASTLE, FUGETSURO GARDENS, GREEN TEA CAFES, CRAFT BEER BARS & STREET FOOD ALLEY
SHIZUOKA – A CITY WITH A STORIED HISTORY
In the middle of 16th a young samurai by the name of Tokugawa Ieyasu was held as a captive in what was then called the Sunpu domain from the ages of 9 to 14.
In later years Tokugawa went on to build Edo (modern day Tokyo) rise to the rank of Shogun and establish the Tokugawa Shogunate that went on to rule over Japan for more than 250 years.
Shortly after establishing the Tokugawa rule Ieyasu passed the day to day operation to his son and “retired” from public life taking up residence at Sumpu Castle in Shizuoka continuing to pull the strings from the background.
REMAINS OF THE PAST
In the early 17th century the new capital of Japan was established out of the swamp land that is now Tokyo.
Tokugawa Ieyasu had retired many of the most important decisions were being made from Sumpu Castle in Shizuoka City.
Although much of the original castle has been destroyed you are still able to visit Sumpu Castle and wander through the grounds.
Although many of the original buildings were destroyed by various wars, fires and earthquakes over the years there are some reconstructions and remains of the original castle that give you a good sense of what life was like more than 400 years ago when the Tokugawa ruled Japan.
Another great remnant of the past, easily accessible from Shizuoka Station, and worth a visit is Fugetsuro.
Sumpu Castle represents the beginning of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the early life of Tokugawa Ieyasu in the late 16th Century.
Fugetsuro represents the end of this period in Japanese history (the late 19th century) when the Tokugawa Shogunate returned power to the Emperor of Japan and the Meiji Period started.
Following this transition Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the last of the Tokugawa rulers, retired to Shizuoka.
He built Fugetsuro as his residence and from there lived out the rest of his life peacefully enjoying pursuits such as hunting, sailing and riding his penny farthing bicycle.
CAFES AND CRAFT BEER
In recent years many great cafes, craft beer bars and even a craft gin bar has opened Shizuoka City and the city has a a very cosmopolitan feel.
If you are looking for a caffeine fix it is now possible to pick up an espresso or soy latte at small hole in the wall cafes around the city that give you an alternative to Starbucks.
If you are looking for something a little different try some of the green tea cafes that have popped up in the city where you are able to get a Matcha Latte, green tea espresso, some green tea ice cream or shaved ice.
SHIZUOKA STREET FOOD
Shizuoka is also famous for its street food and a local favorite spot to hang out is the Oden Food Alley.
Oden is a type of hotpot that is popular in Japan especially in the winter.
The Oden restaurants in Shizuoka are often hole in the wall places that only seat a few patrons and this creates a special atmosphere where after a few sakes everyone becomes your best friend and all language barriers disappear.