"Shimizu, Nihondaira and Kusanagi" Shimizu by taigaa001

Shimizu Travel Guide: 14 reviews and 57 photos

Nihondaira Hill

Nihondaira is an alluvial highland where alluvial plain has been uplifted during millions of years. The highland consists of Mt. Udo area about 300 meters in elevation and Mt. Kuno about 220 meters in elevation but an isolated craggy mountain created by erosion.
Nihondaira Hilltop area has a legend of Prince Yamatotakeru ancient general for conquering eastern vandals around 5th century. During 8th century, Kunoji Temple was founded on top of the Mt. Kuno. At that time there were no ropeways crossing the ravine so reaching the temple itself was indeed hard pilgrimmage. Former pilgrimmage trails to the hilltop are now popular for hikers. During late 16th century Shingen Takeda occupied the hill and built a castle on top of Mt. Kuno. In early 17th century former Kuno castle area was turned into the Mausoleum for Iyeyasu Tokugawa by the will of the first shogun of Edo government. Then climbing route with 1159 steps was built and the coastal road become more popular. In 1957 ropeway crossing Mt. Udo and Mt. Kuno opened. Since then the highland area became one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Shizuoka City. There used to have downhill trail for Jigokudani Valley. When I first took Nihondaira Ropeway in winter of 1974 I could see some hikers in Jigokudani Valley. Tanabata Torrential Downpour in 1974 seriously damaged the trail and since then the trail to the trig peak of Mt. Udo and Jigokudani Valley remain closed.

Major Sightseeing Spots

Hilltop Area: Mt. Udo, Kunozan Toshogu Shrine, Nihondaira Ropeway
Coastal Area: Strawberry Picking
Foothill Area: Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, Heitakuji Temple, Kusanagi Shrine, Shizuoka Municipal Nihondaira Zoo, Former Emberson's Residence

Shimizu Jirocho, A Local Hero of Shimizu

Japanese people older than baby-boomer generation are well versed in the story of Shimizu Jirocho once a rogue but later became a successful businessman who built Shimizu what it is today. Jirocho in Shimizu may be what Ryoma Sakamoto is in Kochi. Most of the Jirocho movies are in the 50s and I have little knowledge about him and his story. I visited some of the places related to Jirocho.

Ryugeji Temple and Tesshuji Temple

After I went to Miho Coast I visited some old temples of Shimizu.

First I went to Ryugeji Temple known by the excellent garden. Old trees of cactuses and cycads are just outstanding and thached house used as Main Building is very nice as well. Ryugeji Temple is a Nichiren Bhuddhism temple. Inside the main building a life story of Nichiren is well illustrated but there is no English guidance. To get to know him I recommend that you read Kanzo Uchimura's Japan and the Japanese. His indomitable spirit to prapagate Lotus Sutra facing life-threatening hardships including exiles and execution(he nearly escaped) impressed a lot of intellectuals both in Japan and abroad. Chogyu Takayama is one of the intellectuals inspired by the teaching of Nichiren and made a will to bury his coarpse to the temple. His monument is at the hill of the garden overlooking the Shimizu port area.

Tesshuji temple is only 5 minutes walk from the temple. It is formerlly called Kunoji Temple and it used to be the Shingon-sect Bhudhism (just like Koyasan) temple located at the summit area of Mt. Kunozan. After Takeda clan made the fortress on the mountaintop the temple was forced to move to the present place and in Edo Period it was given protection by the Tokugawa Shogunate. After Tokugawa Government collapsed the temple lost their biggest supporter and was left to ruin. Tesshu Yamaoka then decided to reconstruct the temple and the temple changed its denomination to Zen. Because of him the temple with history and some national treasure was finally protected. The jizos on the way to the Senju Kannondo were well taken care of by local people showing Shimizu residents have been doing a lot to keep the historical asset as neat and clean.

  • Last visit to Shimizu: Jan 2014
  • Intro Updated Jan 30, 2014
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