• Life & Culture

What is Living in Shizuoka Perfecture like?

Shizuoka prefecture is located in between Kanagawa prefecture to the east, Nagano to the north、Yamanashi to the north-east, and Aichi prefecture to the westWith its mild climate, Shizuoka is a green prefecture famous for its green tea, some beautiful beaches, and Mt Fuji. Shizuoka is an excellent prefecture as it offers you something every season.


So, what is it like living in Shizuoka prefecture? Let’s find out.


Two large cities Hamamatsu and Shizuoka city


These are two large cities to the east and west of Shizuoka prefecture. Although it is not the prefecture capital, Hamamatsu is the larger of the two. Hamamatsu has more of an atmosphere that is comparable to the west of Japan (Kansai).


In terms of climate, Hamamatsu’s average temperature is generally quite mild. This is due to the majority of the snow being blocked by Nagano’s mountains. However, if you are closer to the mountains, you can expect summers to creep around 40 degrees Celsius and winters to drop underneath minus-10 degrees celsius.


Hamamatsu city


Hamamatsu city is an easy city to get around thanks to the public transportation network – it even has a Shinkansen the passes through regularly so you can easily access Osaka and TokyoNevertheless, if you want to explore the mountains of the prefecture, we would recommend learning how to drive in Japan.
Finally, like most major cities in Japan, there are plenty of restaurants, shops, and places to visit. Some unique sites close to Hamamatsu include:

Yamaha innovation road


Yamaha is a world-renowned brand famous for its instruments. If you are interested, why not book a time and visit the Yamaha museum exhibition ‘innovation road.‘ The exhibition explains the complete history of the company and is quite open. Worth seeing if you are a music lover or just like learning more about Japanese culture.


Lake Hamana


If you would first appreciate the natural environment itself, then we would recommend Lake Hamana is a large brackish lagoon that is located next to Hamamatsu city. The lagoon itself is quite large at over 65km2 wide. The majority of things to see around Lake Hamana are around the large onsen facility called Kanzanji Onsen Association. It is a great spot to see whether or not you are living in Shizuoka.


Hamamatsu Flower Park


However, if you can drive, the Hamamatsu flower park is a short distance away and offers excellent cherry blossom viewing spots in Spring. The flower park also is an excellent location to view seasonal flowers throughout the year.


Shizuoka city


Unlike Hamamatsu city, Shizuoka city is located on the eastern side of the prefecture and is the perfect place to enjoy good sceneryThe town itself has a few interesting places to visit, including checking out Sunpu Castle Park or visiting one of the numerous green tea cafes. Like Hamamatsu, the city itself is easy to get around with public transport. However, you may want to look at getting a driving license if you are interested in living in Shizuoka. Especially if you want to explore the prefecture in more detail.


Sunpu Castle Park


Sunpu castle began its construction in 1607 when the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu had started to retire and relieve his duties to the future shogun, HidetataThe castle is culturally significant, and if you are interested in learning more about the rockstar Tokugawa himself, you will want to visit Sunpu castle


Sunpu castle is open to 4 pm most days and is opposite Shin-Shizuoka station. The castle also is a good spot for observing the natural season changes in Shizuoka.


Kinzaburo Teashop


Shizuoka prefecture is famous for its green tea (matcha), so it is no surprise that there are many cafes, and teashops in Shizuoka city that sell a variety of green tea sweets. Our pick is Kinzaburo teashop, which is a short 15-minute walk from Sunpa castle. 


Kinzaburo is great because it sells just about anything green tea, cakes, ice cream and cookies. The teashop is also a great place to buy traditional goods and green tea leaves for home brewing.


What about other places in Shizuoka prefecture?


There are many other local regions to see in Shizuoka prefecture beyond just the larger cities, from beaches to mountains, Shizuoka prefecture is one of the best prefectures if you want to see a variety of beautiful scenery. That is what makes living in Shizuoka so appealing.


Izu Peninsula


Izu peninsula is an incredibly picturesque location that is famous for its onsen, ryokan and beaches. If you do have a driving license and you enjoy driving, we would highly recommend you make a trip to the Izu peninsula. The peninsula has many great sights, but if you wanted to stay at an onsen resort, you can’t go past Shuzenji.




It is a town that is slightly inland from the western coastline of the Izu peninsula. It has a variety of nonsense available to guests and non-guests, Shuzenji is a great place to relax. Among the beautiful ryokans there is a very green bamboo garden.


This an excellent opportunity to take some great photos. In addition, the temple has a history of over 1200 years and was allegedly built by monk celebrity Kobo Daishi.


Jogensaki coast


Located directly southeast along the coast of Shuzenji is the Jogensaki coastline. The coastline is an excellent place for hiking and being so close to the sea, you are sure to find the hiking paths rewarding and refreshing with all the salt sea air.


Shimoda town


Located at the southeast point of the Izu peninsula and Shizuoka prefecture is a town called ShimodaShimoda is a brilliant town with a very friendly atmosphere, the local communities are quite welcoming. One of the most popular things to do in Shimoda city during summer is marine sports.


Black ships


Although currently a popular hotspot in summer with tourists, Shimoda has a spotlight in Japan’s modern history.  It was here, commodore Perry pulled up his black ships and demanded Japan open to the rest of the worldIf you’re interested in learning more about the black ships, there is a lot of information scattered about the town. There are even 20 minute Black ship cruises that are available for visitors to enjoy.


Shirahama Beach


It is an immaculate beach that is outside of Shimoda city. The beach is a great place to go and swim, and there are many ryokan and hotels nearby for you to stay. Also, the many stores along the beach will often lend various gear for marine sports.  There is plenty to do. However, be aware the beach is incredibly popular, so if you do plan to make sure you prepare.


In Summary


There are many more things to do in Shizuoka prefecture that we haven’t covered, particularly activities and locations to visit and enjoy in the cooler months.
However, what do you think? Is Shizuoka a place you would like to live in?
If you are someone who enjoys living in a central area, with one of the best climates in Japan and enjoys exploring, learning history, and participating in leisure activities, then Shizuoka is the place for you.
If you want to to live and work in Japan, either on a working holiday, or perhaps longer, find out more about current ALT jobs with Interac.

About the Author

Brian McDonough is a consultant at Interac, Japan’s largest provider of ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers). Originally from the US, Brian has lived in Japan for over 25 years, giving him a unique perspective on the cultural differences and challenges people face when moving to Japan. He has first-hand experience of working in Japan as an American.