Nippondaira Hotel in Shizuoka

Pünktlich bis zur letzten Abfahrt des Shinkansen. Die Reisenden haben sich seit Tagen auf die Ankunft eines starken Taifuns eingestellt / © Foto: Georg Berg
On time until the last departure of the Shinkansen. Travelers have been preparing for the arrival of a strong typhoon for days / © Photo: Georg Berg

Simultaneously with typhoon number 15, we approach Shizuoka City. It is the last Shinkansen, Japan’s famous express train, to reach the city this evening coming from Narita Airport before the schedule is suspended. Heavy rain, harbinger of the typhoon, makes getting into the cab quite uncomfortable.

Pfeilschnell durch die Nacht. Shinkansen heißen Japans Schnellzüge, die überaus verlässlich, bestens organisiert und dicht getaktet das Land durchkreuzen. Von Tokio erreicht man Shizuoka in nur 60 Minuten / © Foto: Georg Berg
Fast as an arrow through the night. Shinkansen is the name of Japan’s high-speed trains, which crisscross the country in an extremely reliable, well-organized and closely timed manner. From Tokyo, Shizuoka can be reached in just 60 minutes / © Photo: Georg Berg

It’s pitch dark, the car winds up winding roads, and not much else can be seen through the windows. No matter, after a long flight from Düsseldorf to Tokyo and an exciting race between Shinkansen and Typhoon, we are glad to reach our first night’s lodging. The next morning, we receive a welcome that could not be more beautiful in Japan. Through a huge window front, the view sweeps over the bay of Suruga with Shizuoka City and remains, you can hardly believe your eyes, on Mount Fuji. The symbol of Japan, the holy mountain, the shy beauty, as the Japanese also call it, because it likes to cover itself in clouds, shows itself almost uncovered after the stormy typhoon night.

Zu einem Hotelzimmer der gehobenen Kategorie gehört im Nippondaira auch ein Fernglas / © Foto: Georg Berg
A pair of binoculars belongs to an upscale hotel room at the Nippondaira / © Photo: Georg Berg
Das Nippondaira Hotel hat eine exponierte Lage oberhalb der Suruga Bucht. Fast alle Zimmer, Event-Räume und das Restaurant sind zum symbolträchtigen Mount Fuji ausgerichtet / © Foto: Georg Berg
The Nippondaira Hotel has an exposed location above Suruga Bay. Almost all rooms, event spaces and the restaurant face the iconic Mount Fuji / © Photo: Georg Berg

Nippondaira – the perfect start to a trip to Japan

The hotel above Suruga Bay has been around for over 50 years. With a view like a painting, the hotel restaurant The Terrace is a place where you would prefer to spend the whole day. The view of Mount Fuji varies almost hourly. Sometimes only the top of the crater is visible, sometimes it shows itself completely. The more than six-hectare park with a rock garden offers a view down to the city of Shizuoka in the prefecture of the same name. This prefecture is not one of the common travel destinations and is little known. Yet Shizuoka has much to offer nature and food lovers and can be reached in 60 minutes by Shinkansen from Tokyo.

Das All-Day-Dining Hotelrestaurant The Terrace bietet schon zum Frühstück einen fantastischen Ausblick auf den neuen Tag / © Foto: Georg Berg
The all-day dining hotel restaurant The Terrace offers a fantastic view of the new day even at breakfast / © Photo: Georg Berg

All Day Dining at The Terrace Nippondaira

Guests can keep breakfast at Nippondaira entirely Japanese, with miso soup, plenty of fish, seaweed salad or dumplings. But you can also get a Western start to the day with cereal, fruit and scrambled eggs. Chef Yutaka Yoshizawa offers guests plenty of fish and seafood from Suruga Bay. Local Wagyu beef is on the menu, as is fresh-caught tuna.

Ein saftig-zartes Wagyu-Stück vom Küchenchef Yutaka Yoshizawa persönlich angerichtet / © Foto: Georg Berg
A juicy, tender piece of wagyu personally prepared by chef Yutaka Yoshizawa / © Photo: Georg Berg

Important cultural site – Kunozan Toshogu Shrine

From the Nippondaira Hotel, you can walk to the old cable car, the Nihondaira Ropeway, which connects Mount Nihondaira and Mount Kunozan. The ride in the small cabin is already part of the sight. On the way down through the steep valley, a museum employee tells in Japanese about the important cultural site. Unfortunately, there is no translation into English. But already the rhythm of her voice, a fine rippling singsong, is an atmospheric companion through the green hills overlooking Suruga Bay, down to one of the most important cultural sites of the Japanese, the Kunozan Toshogu Shrine.

Die Nihondaira Ropeway, die den Berg Nihondaira und den Mount Kunozan miteinander verbindet / © Foto: Georg Berg
The Nihondaira Ropeway connecting Mount Nihondaira and Mount Kunozan / © Photo: Georg Berg

Historical bracket on: Shizuoka and the first Shogun

Toshogu Shrine was the resting place of the first shogun. His name was Tokugawa Ieyasu and he lived from 1543 to 1616, unifying Japan after a long period of civil wars and ushering in a long period of peace. After spending the last decade of his life at a nearby castle, Ieyasu designated Mount Kunozan for the construction of his mausoleum. Of the many Toshogu shrines dedicated to Ieyasu throughout Japan, Shizuoka’s shrine is second only to Nikko, where his body was later moved by order of his grandson. But it is said that his soul remained in this place. In earlier times, Toshogu Shrine on Mount Kunozan could only be reached by walking up more than 1,000 stone steps.

Der Toshogu Schrein samt seiner Nebengebäude sind prächtig verziert und mit japanischem Lack dekoriert. Vor dem Eingang des Hauptgebäudes stehen gestapelte und sehr dekorative Sake-Fässer. Sie sind eine Opfergabe für Tokugawa Ieyasu / © Foto: Georg Berg
The Toshogu Shrine along with its outbuildings are magnificently decorated with Japanese lacquer. In front of the entrance to the main building are stacked and very decorative sake barrels. They are an offering to Tokugawa Ieyasu / © Photo: Georg Berg
Kunozan Toshogu Shrine in Shizuoka, Japan. Die feuerfesten Metalldächer der Gebäude sind reich verziert / © Foto: Georg Berg
Kunozan Toshogu Shrine in Shizuoka, Japan. The fireproof metal roofs of the buildings are richly decorated / © Photo: Georg Berg

The Shogunate in Japan – Peace and Isolation

On a guided tour of the historically significant grounds of the Toshogu Shrine, one learns much about the history of Japan and the beginning of the Edo period, which was established by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun. In 1600, he fought the decisive battle that made him the sole ruler. In 1603, Ieyasu received the title of shogun. This year is also considered the beginning of the Edo period. Tokugawa Ieyasu moved the seat of the capital from Kyoto to Edo, now Tokyo. His goal was the consolidation and stability of the country. Seeing this threatened by outside influences, he decided to completely isolate the country.

Tokugawa Ieyasu wird heute an vielen Orten in Japan wie eine Gottheit verehrt / © Foto: Georg Berg
Tokugawa Ieyasu is revered like a deity in many places in Japan today / © Photo: Georg Berg

From 1603 to 1867, very few foreigners were allowed to live and trade in Japan. Sakoku, as the period of isolation is called in Japan, brought many years of peace to the country. However, Sakoku also meant that the country lagged behind in technical progress and economic development. Tokugawa Ieyasu died in 1616 in what is now Shizuoka. His achievement, the unification of the country and the end of fighting between individual commanders, changed the country permanently and made him one of the most famous shoguns in the history of Japan.

Tokugawa Ieyasu wird heute an vielen Orten in Japan wie eine Gottheit verehrt. Auf Mount Kunozan wurde auf seinen Wunsch hin sein Mausoleum gebaut. Die sterblichen Überreste sind später nach Nikko gebracht worden / © Foto: Georg Berg
Tokugawa Ieyasu is now revered like a deity in many places in Japan. On Mount Kunozan, his mausoleum was built at his request. The mortal remains were later brought to Nikko / © Photo: Georg Berg

Shizuoka – home of the first and the last shogun

Tokugawa Ieyasu, of course, did not live to see the opening of the country in 1867. The Tokugawa Shogunate, which he founded, eventually lasted for over 250 years. The opening of Japan also meant the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate. And so somehow the Shogun era in Shizuoka comes full circle. The 15th and thus last shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu, after being deposed and imprisoned for a year, moved into a former officers’ house in the middle of Shizuoka City. He lived there for more than 20 years and, as the story goes, intensively pursued his hobbies of hunting and photography, and later also the use of modern means of transportation such as cars and bicycles. His bicycle is still in the restaurant Fugetsuro. Especially worth seeing and a popular place for wedding photos is the garden of Fugetsuro. A bridge spans a small lake and visitors enter the restaurant via it.

Ein Lunch im Fugetsuro / © Foto: Georg Berg
A lunch at Fugetsuro / © Photo: Georg Berg

The favorite meal of the last shogun at Fugetsuro

Fugetsuro is a small historical oasis and is very much hidden behind tall houses on a busy street in Shizuoka City. The residence of the last shogun was destroyed by fire three times and rebuilt on the spot each time. A meal in one of the restaurant’s dining rooms lets diners gaze out over the lake, where the last shogun also enjoyed boating. This historical bracket between the first and last shogun makes Shizuoka Prefecture, in addition to its many scenic and culinary attractions, a historical hotspot for learning about traditional Japan and its history.

Das Service-Team im Fugetsuro in traditioneller Kleidung. Das Haus des letzten Shoguns in Shizuoka City, ist heute das Restaurant und Gästehaus Fugetsuro. In den ehemaligen Wohnstätte des letzten Shoguns Tokugawa Yoshinobu kann man einen Tisch reservieren und bekommt auch einige seiner Lieblingsspeisen, wie schwarze Bohnen, Eierspeisen, Reis mit Bonitoflocken und Fisch serviert / © Foto: Georg Berg
The service team at Fugetsuro in traditional dress. The home of the last shogun in Shizuoka City, is now the Fugetsuro restaurant and guesthouse. In the former residence of the last shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu, you can reserve a table and also be served some of his favorite dishes, such as black beans, egg dishes, rice with bonito flakes and fish / © Photo: Georg Berg
Lunch im Fugetsuro mit den Lieblingsspeisen des letzten Shoguns: Eier, schwarze Bohnen und Reis mit Bonitoflocken / © Foto: Georg Berg
Lunch at Fugetsuro with the favorite dishes of the last shogun: eggs, black beans and rice with bonito flakes / © Photo: Georg Berg

Travel tips Shizuoka Prefecture
A region of Japan that sounds quite unknown to visitors from Europe, but has an immense amount to offer. Shizuoka is also the City of Green Tea. In the many tea plantations, tourists can determine the intensity of a visit to the tea fields around Shizuoka City themselves. Click here for a report on green tea – the elixir of life for the Japanese.

History and Tradition
Visit of a “National Treasure”, the Kunozan Tushogu Shrine.

Culinary Shizuoka
Shizuoka Prefecture has many culinary experiences on offer. For example, dining at the house of the last shogun, Fugetsuro. Other food experiences in Shizuoka.

A visit to a soy sauce factory. Click here for a report on shoyu – the spice of the Japanese.

Japan’s most famous mountain, Mount Fuji, is always in view at this hotel: The Nippondaira Hotel

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The stay in the prefecture was partly supported by the Shizuoka Tourism Board.

Travel Topics on Tellerrand-Stories

Our mode of operation is characterized by self-experienced, well-researched text work and professional, vivid photography. For all stories, travel impressions and photos are created in the same place. Thus, the photos complement and support what is read and carry it further.

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