Discovering Shizuoka (part one): Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji seen from one of Shizuoka's many tea fields
In this two-part journey, I made my way across the eastern half of the prefecture from the shadow of Mount Fuji to the tip of the Izu Peninsula, discovering on the way some of the best-known travel highlights of each area as I passed through.
Designed by renowned architect Ban Shigeru, the center is built around a large central cone sheathed in an elegant wooden lattice, creating a graceful imitation of the iconic mountain as it is reflected in a rectangular pool.
View of the center's glass facade and striking inverted cone
View from inside the atrium
The center's spiralling walkway and media exhibits
View of Mount Fuji from the observation level
Mount Fuji seen from the Iwamoto Mountain Park
The park contains a number of rose gardens with several different varieties
The entrance to the Kaguya Iwamotoyama Cafe
The view from the terrace
A tasty sandwich with Fuji City in the background
The imperial villa's main entrance
View of the exterior
One of the villa's many nice tatami rooms
A winding corridor runs the length of the property
A plush dining room
Sunset from the beach behind the villa
My accommodation for the night was the Hotel Laforet Shuzenji, a large hot spring resort and country club located a little way outside the town. Set in leafy and attractive grounds at the top of a hill, the hotel boasts extensive sports facilities including a golf course, and is surrounded by impressive mountain scenery in all directions.
After checking in, I was taken by shuttle bus to my room in one of the guest cottages, where I took a few moments to enjoy the private outdoor bath before making my way back out to the main building for my evening meal.
On the menu was a delicious hybrid of Japanese and French style cuisine, with an appetizer of mixed sashimi followed by coq au vin and a pumpkin creme caramel.
My room for the night
Coq au vin with creme fraiche and herbs
Tasty pumpkin dessert
Ending the night with a private open-air bath
Mount Fuji seen from the Hotel Laforet
Shuzenji and the Kano River
Set at the base of four impressive chimneys, the furnace has been well preserved allowing visitors to see some of its inner workings from up close. A few steps away, an information center shows videos and exhibits about the furnace's history.
View of the facility
Side openings where ore was fed into the furnace
The furnace's four chimneys
Inside the information center
A preserved cannon, made from iron produced at the furnace
View of the Mishima Skywalk
The view from the bridge
A zip-liner crossing the valley
An instructor show off the ten meter climbing wall
The Park is best accessed from a 63 meter suspension bridge overlooking the Goryu Falls, an attractive waterfall in three parts flowing over a craggy rock wall hemmed in by trees on both sides.
Crossing the bridge
View of the Goryu Falls
The former Uematsu Residence
The house is open to visitors at the same hours as the park itself, revealing further original details on the inside.
A closer view of the traditional thatched roof
The Ashigara Onsen
A view of Mount Fuji from the indoor bath