Japan > Shizuoka

Shizuoka, Shizuoka

Shizuoka is the capital city of Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, and the prefecture's second-largest city in both population and area. It has been populated since prehistoric times.

The city's name is made up of two kanji, 静 shizu, meaning "still" or "calm"; and 岡 oka, meaning "hill". In 1869, Shizuoka Domain was first created out of the older Sunpu Domain, and that name was retained when the city was incorporated in 1885. In 2003, Shizuoka merged with Shimizu City, briefly becoming the largest city by land area in Japan. In 2005, it became one of Japan's "designated cities".


Shizuoka City lies in central Shizuoka Prefecture, about halfway between Tokyo and Nagoya along the Tōkaidō Corridor, between Suruga Bay to the south and the Minami Alps in the north. Shizuoka had the largest area of any municipality in Japan after merging with Shimizu City in April 2003, until February 2005, when Takayama in Gifu Prefecture superseded it by merging with nine surrounding municipalities.

The total area is 1,411.90 km2 (545.14 sq mi). Shizuoka is the 5th largest city in Japan in terms of geographic area after Takayama, Hamamatsu, Nikkō, and Kitami. It is also the 2nd largest city in Shizuoka Prefecture in terms of both geographic area and population after Hamamatsu, but ranks higher as an Urban Employment Area, and leads as a metropolitan area and business region.

The fan-like shape of the Shizuoka Plain and Miho Peninsula were formed over the ages by the fast-flowing Abe River, carrying along collapsed sand and earth. These areas form the foundations of the city today. The isolated Mount Kunō separates the Suruga coastline from the Shimizu coastline.

Basic data


On the south-central Pacific coast Shizuoka has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa), which is hot and humid in the summers and rarely snows in winter. It is close to the warm Kuroshio Current and is wet even by Japanese standards with only slightly less precipitation than Kanazawa on the opposite side of Honshū, but it is paradoxically the sunniest of Japan's major cities owing to the absence of summer fog and its sheltered location from the northwesterly winds off the Sea of Japan. Further north, the mountainous Ikawa area is part of the Japanese snow country, where there are ski areas.


As of the end of April 2015, the city had an estimated population of 715,752 and a population density of 507 persons per km2.



Aoi Ward (葵区, Aoi-ku)
Administrative center, made up of the former Shizuoka north of the Tōkaidō Main Line excluding Osada district
Suruga Ward (駿河区, Suruga-ku)
Former Shizuoka south of the Tōkaidō Main Line and Osada district
Shimizu Ward (清水区, Shimizu-ku)
Former city of Shimizu and towns of Kanbara and Yui.

Administrative district "image colours"

On 22 December 2006, colours and logos were established for each of the wards.

Ward offices


Ancient history

The area that is now the city of Shizuoka has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Numerous kofun have been found within the city limits, and the Toro archaeological site indicates that a major Yayoi period (circa 400 BC–300 AD) settlement existed in what is now part of the central city area.

Suruga was established as a province of Japan in the early Nara period. At some point between the year 701 and 710, the provincial capital was relocated from what is now Numazu, to a more central location on the banks of the Abe River at a location named Sunpu (駿府) (a contraction of "Suruga no Kokufu" (駿河の国府)) or alternatively "Fuchū" (府中).

Pre-modern Shizuoka

During the Muromachi period, Sunpu was the capital of the Imagawa clan. The Imagawa were defeated at the Battle of Okehazama, and Sunpu was subsequently ruled by Takeda Shingen, followed by Tokugawa Ieyasu. However, Toyotomi Hideyoshi relocated Ieyasu, and installed Nakamura Kazutada to rule Sunpu. After the Toyotomi were defeated in the Battle of Sekigahara, Ieyasu recovered Sunpu, reassigning it to his own retainer, Naitō Nobunari in 1601. This marked the start of Sunpu Domain.

In April 1606, Ieyasu officially retired from the post of Shogun, and retired to Sunpu, where he established a secondary court, from which he could influence Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada from behind the scenes. Subsequently, aside for brief periods, Sunpu was tenryō (territory under direct administration by the Shogunate), ruled by the Sunpu jōdai (駿府城代), an appointed official based in Sunpu.

From the Meiji period to World War II

In 1869, after the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate, the former shogunal line, headed by Tokugawa Iesato was sent to Sunpu and assigned the short-lived Sunpu Domain. The same year, Sunpu was renamed "Shizuoka". Shizuoka Domain became Shizuoka Prefecture with the abolition of the han system in 1871, which was expanded in 1876 through merger with the former Hamamatsu Prefecture and western portions of Ashigaru Prefecture in 1876. Shizuoka Station on the Tōkaidō Main Line was opened on 1 February 1889. The same day, a fire burned down most of downtown Shizuoka.

The modern city was founded on 1 April 1889. At the time, the population was 37,681, and Shizuoka was one of the first 31 cities established in Japan.

An electric tram service began in 1911. In 1914, due to heavy rains caused by a typhoon, the Abe River flooded, inundating the downtown area. In the national census of 1920, the population of Shizuoka was 74,093. The area of the city continued to expand through the 1920s and 1930s through merger with outlying towns and villages. In 1935, the city was struck by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake, resulting in much damage. Although soon rebuilt, a large fire in 1940 again destroyed much of the center of the city.

During World War II, Shizuoka lacked targets of major military significance, and was initially only lightly bombed during several American air raids. However, in a major firebombing raid of June 19, 1945, the city suffered an extreme amount of damage with high civilian casualties.

Post-war Shizuoka

The area of the city continued to expand through the 1950s and 1960s through merger with outlying towns and villages. On 1 October 1964, the Tōkaidō Shinkansen began services to Shizuoka, and on 25 April 1969 the city was connected to the Tōmei Expressway. On 7 July 1974, the Abe River flooded, and landslides occurred during heavy rains, killing 23 people. On 16 August 1980, a major gas leak in an underground shopping center near Shizuoka Station resulted in an explosion, killing 15 people and seriously injuring 233 others. The Shizuoka City Hall moved to new premises in 1986. On 1 April 1992, Shizuoka was designated a core city by the central government, giving it increased autonomy.

The 1 April 2003 merger with Shimizu City (current Shimizu Ward) greatly expanded the area and population of Shizuoka, which then became a designated city on 1 April 2005, and was divided into three wards.

Despite being somewhat geographically isolated from the rest of the city, the town of Kanbara (from Haibara District) was merged into Shizuoka on 31 March 2006, becoming part of Shimizu Ward. On 1 November 2008, the town of Yui (also from Haibara District) was also merged into Shimizu Ward.


Fuji Dream Airlines is headquartered in Aoi-ku, Shizuoka.


Green tea
Varieties such as Motoyama and Yabukita are grown in all corners of the city, and the varieties grown especially in the Warashina area in Aoi Ward and the Ryōgōchi area of Shimizu Ward are known for their high quality
"Stonewall strawberries" (石垣いちご, ishigaki ichigo) are strawberries that grow in holes on inclined stone walls, grown especially along an 8 km (5 mi) stretch of Kunō Kaidō (route 150), also known as "Strawberry Road", along the coast of Suruga Bay.
especially in areas such as Utōgi in Aoi Ward
Mandarin orange and other citrus fruits
especially Satsuma, a seedless and easy-peeling citrus mutant, known as mikan (みかん) or formally unshū mikan (ウンシュウミカン)
Lotus roots
especially in the Asahata area of Aoi Ward
especially in the Ihara and Okitsu areas in Shimizu Ward
especially in the Osada area


Shimizu Port boasts the largest haul of tuna in all Japan. Kanbara Harbour enjoys a prosperous haul of sakura ebi, and Mochimune Harbour enjoys a prosperous haul of shirasu sardines.


Abekawa Mochi is a type of rice cake (or mochi) made with kinako soy flour that is a specialty of Shizuoka.

Shizuoka has a long history of being involved in the craft industries going back over 400 years ago, using trees, including hinoki cypress. The model industry goes back to the late 1920s when wood was used to produce model toys, using sashimono woodworking joinery techniques, purely for educational purposes. Craftsmen later moved on to lighter woods including balsa, but following the war, with the importation of US built scale models, many companies either turned to plastic models to compete or went under.

The town has since become internationally notable for its plastic scale model kits and is resident to long-established companies such as Aoshima, Fujimi, Hasegawa, and Tamiya. Another model brand, Bandai, produces its Gundam models exclusively at its Bandai Hobby Center plant in the town since its inception. The city hosts the long-running Shizuoka Hobby Show annually in May at Twin Messe Shizuoka.


a Japanese dish consisting of several ingredients such as boiled eggs, daikon radish, konnyaku, and processed fish cakes stewed in a light, soy-flavoured dashi broth. Oden in Shizuoka uses a dark coloured broth flavoured with beef stock and dark soy sauce. All ingredients are skewered. Dried, ground fish (sardine, mackerel, or katsuobushi) and aonori powder (edible seaweed) are sprinkled on top before eating.
Soba noodles
Zōni soup
rice cakes in a broth cooked with vegetables, popular at New Year
A grated yam soup. Chojiya, a tororo restaurant founded in 1598 in Mariko-juku area of Shizuoka, west of the Abe River, was made famous by Hiroshige when he depicted it in his series of ukiyo-e prints of the 53 stops along the Tōkaidō.


There are three main festivals on Shizuoka's calendar.

Shizuoka Festival (静岡まつり, Shizuoka Matsuri)
The city's April festival during the high point of the year for cherry blossoms. A flower-viewing procession imitates the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu's custom of taking daimyo (feudal lords) to Sengen Shrine to view the cherry blossoms.
Abekawa Fireworks (安倍川花火, Abekawa Hanabi)
A gigantic fireworks display held upstream on Shizuoka's Abe River in late July.
Daidogei World Cup (大道芸ワールドカップ, Daigougei Waarudo kappu)
Street Performance World Cup. Probably the biggest event on Shizuoka's Calendar, it is an annual international busker's festival, held in November. It includes various shows such as juggling, pantomime, magic, etc. Performers come from around the world and perform throughout the central part of the city as well as in some peripheral locations. From 2005, it expanded from a 3-day to a 4-day festival.


With the Shimizu merger, Shimizu S-Pulse became the major soccer club in the city. Recently, however, a new rival club, Fujieda MYFC (From nearby Fujieda), has been rising in the regional league ranks as a contender for a place in the Japan Football League. The city hosted the official Asian Basketball Championship for Women in 1995 and 1999.



Shizuoka lies on the Tōkaidō Main Line, the JR Central main railway line from Tokyo to Osaka, and is well-served by the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, limited express and regional trains. The central station of Shizuoka is in the city centre. Shizuoka also has an LRT line, the Shizuoka Railway, administered by the Shizuoka Railway Co., Ltd. at Shizuoka Station. The under construction Chūō Shinkansen will pass through the mountainous areas of the city. However, the line is not planned to have a station in Shizuoka for the time being.



The nearest airport is Shizuoka Airport, situated between Makinohara and Shimada.


Colleges and universities

Shizuoka University
National university, founded 1949. Main campus in Suruga Ward. Abbreviated to 静大 (Shizudai).
University of Shizuoka
Public university whose main campus is in Suruga Ward, close to Kusanagi Station.
Tokai University
Shimizu campus of the Tokyo-based private university
Tokoha Gakuen University
Private university founded in 1946
Shizuoka Eiwa Gakuin University
Co-educational private university in Suruga Ward, founded by missionaries from the Methodist Church of Canada with the support of the Shizuoka prefectural government. First institution in Shizuoka Prefecture to offer secondary education for girls, it became a four-year coeducational university in 2002.
University of Shizuoka Junior College
Junior college in Suruga Ward, affiliated with University of Shizuoka.
Tokai University Junior College
Junior college in Aoi Ward, affiliated with Tokai University.
Tokoha Gakuen Junior College
Junior college in Aoi Ward, affiliated with Tokoha Gakuen University.

Primary and secondary education

Shizuoka has 91 elementary schools, 57 middle schools and 27 high schools. In addition there are 29 vocations schools and 12 public libraries.




Print media

The Shizuoka Shimbun is the area's primary newspaper.


Cable television

Shizuoka Cable Television (Dream Wave Shizuoka)


Major attractions

Historic spots

In Aoi Ward

Shizuoka Sengen Shrine
A collection of Shinto shrines that was patronised by powerful warrior clans since ancient times, most notably the Tokugawa clan.
Sunpu Park/Sunpu Castle ruins
The castle of the Imagawa and Tokugawa clans, originally built in 1599, was destroyed in 1869. Today, only the moats remain. The rest was turned into a park, and is now a popular place for hanami.

In Suruga Ward

Late Yayoi archaeological site notable as the first archaeological site excavated in Japan in which remains of a 1st-century AD Yayoi-era wet-rice Paddy fields were found.
Kunōzan Tōshō-gū
Shinto shrine that was the original burial place of Shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu, and the oldest of the Tōshō-gū shrines in Japan. The main festival of the shrine is held annually on 17 April, although its spring festival from 17–18 February is a larger event.
Twentieth of the fifty-three stations of the old Tōkaidō road, an old travel route during the Edo period.

In Shimizu Ward

Miho Peninsula
Famous for the scenic Miho no Matsubara (三保の松原, Miho Pine Grove), renowned as a seashore with beautiful green pine trees and white sands spanning over seven kilometers, designated as one of New Three Views of Japan (新日本三景, Shin Nihon Sankei). Also known as the scene of the legend of Hagoromo, which is based on the traditional swan maiden motif.

Notable people

Sister and friendship cities

Shizuoka has twin and friendship relationships with several cities.

City song

Watashi no Machi, Shizuoka (わたしの街 静岡)

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