Guideto JapanCulture History
Shizuoka Prefecture is located on the Pacific coast in the Tōkai Region of central Honshū. Predominantly mountainous, the eastern part of the prefecture is dominated by Mount Fuji and the Izu Peninsula, which forms the easterly border of Suruga Bay, and the western half is marked by deep gorges, sandy beaches, and Lake Hamana.
Shizuoka Prefecture at a Glance
- Established in 1876 (formerly Izu, Suruga, and Tōtōmi provinces)
- Capital: Shizuoka
- Population: 3,633,000 (as of Oct. 2020)
- Area: 7,777 km2
Easily reached from the Tokyo metropolitan area, Shizuoka is a popular tourist destination. The rugged Izu Peninsula offers abundant nature, picturesque ocean views, and several famous hot spring resorts, notably Atami, Itō, and Shuzenji. Mount Fuji is a major draw for people from around the world, and the surrounding area offers nature and historical sites, including the Fujinomiya Sengen Shrine, the traditional starting point for ascending the hallowed peak. The Ōigawa Railway has a small fleet of antique steam locomotives that take passengers through a steep valley bordered by tea plantations, and beaches in the southwest offer sand dunes and swells that attract surfers.
Shizuoka is a leading producer of green tea, mikan mandarin oranges, and wasabi. It is also noted for eel, cultivated in Lake Hamana and elsewhere, and its forestry products. Metal, machinery, and chemicals, as well as foodstuffs, nutritional supplements, and medical equipment are important manufacturing sectors, as are musical instruments, centering on Hamamatsu.
- Shimizu no Jirochō (1820–93): Entrepreneur, gangster, and folk figure who wielded influence with members of the Meiji government.
- Toyoda Sakichi (1867–1930): Founder of Toyota Industries and other firms that now make up the Toyota Group.
- Inoue Yasushi (1907–91): Author known for historical fiction. Born in Hokkaidō, he spent his formative years in Shizuoka. Notable works include Ryōjū (trans. The Hunting Gun) and Tōgyū (trans. Bullfight).
(Originally published in English. Banner photo: Mount Fuji seen over citrus trees in Shizuoka. © Pixta.)
For the complete list of the country’s 47 prefectures, see “The Prefectures of Japan.”