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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in Japan

From steam trains to tea farms: a day in lesser-known Shizuoka

Shizuoka is full of surprises. It’s underrated – it’s not on visitors’ radars, but there’s so much to see…

By Patrick Loyer
Product Design Executive, Discova

Shizuoka is full of surprises. It’s underrated – it’s not on visitors’ radars, but there’s so much to see. Set on the other side of Mount Fuji, it offers a quieter alternative to better-known Hakone with views over the cloud-capped peak, and it’s the country’s biggest tea producer, so there are tea fields everywhere.

To see some of its highlights, start with a ride on the Oigawa Railway – a historic steam locomotive that’s got a real olde-worlde feel. The train follows the Oi River, so the scenery is very picturesque.

From Senzu station, make your way towards Okuoikojo; a station set on its own island on the Nagashima Dam Lake, connected by a bridge. The views from here are amazing – you’re standing in the middle surrounded by water, with old traditional trains coming in. Before I came, I didn’t think it could look as good as it did in the pictures, but it was incredible – it really wowed me.

Afterward, board the Oigawa Railway Ikawa Line towards Nagashima Dam Station, climbing up into the mountains on a slow, scenic ride – it’s the steepest railway in Japan, passing tea fields and lakes as you travel through the valley. It’s a very old, atmospheric train, so the ride is an experience in itself, and you get a nice cool breeze as you travel higher up.

End the day with a visit to a local green tea farm, where you can learn about different production techniques and taste freshly brewed tea while talking with the farmers. When I came we even tried a cold brew, where we set a timer for five minutes and left the tea to seep into the cold water.

Visiting the farm gives you a great insight into the way of life in this region, which I’m lucky to be able to call home. I love living here – we have everything in a condensed area and it’s incredibly varied, with beaches, waterfalls, hot springs, Unesco World Heritage Sites, and great cuisine all spread across this scenic, rarely-visited region.

Categories

  • Food & Drink
  • History
  • Places to go
  • Scenery

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Alfred & Patrick Loyer

Originally from Canada, Patrick has been living in Japan for over 13 years. After a year-long working holiday in Japan in 2007, he moved to the country permanently in 2010. He has lived in Hokkaido, Nagoya and Shizuoka, where he is currently based. He loves Japanese culture, best-seen in the country’s festivals, which combine historic traditions with modern elements.

Alfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Malcolm, who's travelled extensively in Japan. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the tea devotee who'll introduce you to the ceremony surrounding Japan's national drink, the noodle guru who'll teach you how to make the perfect bowl of soba and the ryokan owner who'll tutor you in the relaxing art of the onsen.

Freephone an expert 01306 744 656