The majority of our time over the festive break was just spent at my parents-in-law’s place in Ito but we did take a short weekend break to Shizuoka city which is still a couple of hours away despite being in the same prefecture.
Back in April last year I ventured over this way twice in two days but that was purely in the name of seeing football matches in Fujieda and Shimizu without any sightseeing whatsoever. This time though was different and our first stop on arrival was the ancient Toro ruins which we managed to reach via a quick bus ride from stop #22 on the south side of JR Shizuoka station. I just assumed there’d be some kind of entrance gate and fence like there is at similar places like Nihon Minka-en Japan Open-Air Folk House Museum (Kanagawa) and the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum so I was very surprised to see that the buildings were out in the open and accessible to anyone and everyone!
It was pretty cool to wander amongst the huts and enter them though as you’d expect there wasn’t too much to see inside of course. A grave reminder of the conditions in the distant past and there was some kind of workshop outside where you could learn to make a fire with just sticks and of course no lighter! I’d love to try this but know I’m probably way too impatient to keep at it for a long time which is needed. As it was, there were a few people waiting in line to have a go and true to form I didn’t have the patience to wait around!
At the far end of the field area is the Toro Museum (9:00 – 16:30, closed on Mondays) which is part of a nationally recognised archaeological site with relics from the ancient Toro village and hands-on activities for experiencing life in the Yayoi era (roughly 300BC -3000AD). The ground floor of the museum proved to be interesting and satisfying enough so we didn’t proceed to the second floor exhibits (300 yen).
Back in the city centre, we walked on to Sumpu-jo castle Park which was a pleasant enough place for an afternoon stroll but sadly there’s not too much actual castle to see. There’s just a couple of re-stored turrets (below) which served as defence, lookout posts and as a place to store armoury such as spears.
The park does include Momijiyama Garden (below) which we just had to see with a name like Momiji as that is the name of our beloved family dog. These small gardens cost 150 yen to enter and are based on traditional gardens with the pond as an important feature. A mini Mount Fuji sits in the centre of the garden surrounded by azaleas to represent terraced tea fields which are a symbol of Shizuoka.
Before heading west to Shimada station to see the world’s longest wooden bridge the next morning, I took a quick detour to see an interesting architectural building (below) near our hotel which I’d been told about. It turned out to be a school, namely the Shizuoka Taisei Junior High School and High School.
Click here to read ‘Dining Out In Shizuoka City’
Click here to read ‘Super Sunday Soccer At Shimizu S-Pulse In Shizuoka’
Click here to read ‘Free All-You-Can-Drink Japanese Sake At A Football Match? Surely Not!’