The Pine Trees Harbor in the North-West of Izu
Numazu is a small port town in Shizuoka Prefecture, located at the north-western entrance of Izu Peninsula in Japan. It is renowned for its views on Mount Fuji and its pine trees on the coast of Suruga Bay. The city is mainly enjoyable on a sunny and clear weather day.
At Izu Peninsula’s north-west entrance, on the local Tokaido JR line, the port city of Numazu is a rather quiet sightseeing destination, renowned since the Edo period (1603 -1868) thanks to the etchings of its natural landscapes painted by Hokusai (1760 – 1849) that illustrated:
- Its view on Mount Fuji 🗻 on a clear weather day;
- Its maritime pine tree forests, whose biggest is called Senbon Matsubara;
- Its hiking trails through the Numazu Alps spanning over Mounts Kanuki, Yoko, Tokura, Washizu and Ohira; and,
- Its natural viewpoints along the Suruga Bay’s indented coastline.
A good and sunny weather is key to enjoy the best sites of the city, and we recommend going in summer, the best season to stroll around outside. Otherwise, the city center’s main attraction, located at the mouth of the Kano River and at its junction with the Pacific Ocean, is Numazu Port and its charmless industrial look.
The JR station gives an easy access to the boardwalk along the Kano River as well as to the walking trail to Mount Kanuki. Then, 2 kilometers southward, you’ll find the harbor district with:
- A fish market, lively in the morning and with many restaurants to eat fresh sea food just unloaded from the boats at lunch;
- Numazu Deep Sea Aquarium dedicated to deep-sea species; and,
- View-O observatory, at 30 meters high, that is also a footbridge between the 2 sides of the port.
Cruises amateurs can enjoy boat rides with view on Mount Fuji and the coastline departing near the port. Some of the ships even become floating seafood restaurants for the ride.
A former imperial villa by the sea
We recommend extending the tour of Numazu port district to Numazu Goyotei Imperial Villa Memorial Park, which is worth the visit regardless of the weather. This luxury secondary residence was used as a vacation resort by 3 generations of Japanese emperors before opening to the public in 1969. The widow of Emperor Meiji (1852 – 1912), Empress Shoken (1849 – 1914), spend her later days here. Built in 1893, the large wooden house is a perfect example of its times with a mix of traditional Japanese architecture and western influences.
Upon entering the villa, take off your shoes to walk in the corridors, whose wooden floor is cracking at each step, and throughout every room, where are displayed explanations on their use in Japanese and in English. The bathroom 🛁 is a simple small wooden room and it is said that the Emperor washed here, wearing a thin cloth while water was poured on him.
The interior decoration is of Japanese style, with tatami floors and wood and rice paper sliding walls. The furniture, however, is typical of the late 19th century Japanese elite society, and is inspired by Europe and the United States, with notably a pool table and armchairs on legs. From the building, a soothing view on the park and the coastline unfolds.
Continuing a few minutes in the pine forest, the path reaches an annex building dedicated to the history of Numazu fishing port with an exhibition on the various fishing techniques and the daily life of the villagers.
When going by train 🚅, Numazu’s city center is easy to visit walking or riding a local bus. Driving is however more convenient to reach the farthest sites, such as Osezaki Peninsula or Heda Port that are located near Izu City.