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S is for Shizuoka: Savouring strawberries and seafood around Suruga Bay

S is for Shizuoka: Savouring strawberries and seafood around Suruga Bay

I was really hyped to be visiting Shizuoka Prefecture (静岡県 Shizuoka-ken) in particular, the area of Shimizu Ward (清水区 Shimizu-ku) overlooking the Suruga Bay (駿河湾 Suruga-wan). Shimizu has its own port and in the early 1900s, the port was used extensively for exporting Shizuoka tea, while in modern times the port handles a variety of cargo including raw materials, container shipments, natural gas and seafood. 

 

Shimizu Ward is famous for a couple of tourist attractions like Miho no Matsubara (三保の松原)—a 5km-long coastline that is lined with a grove of pine trees set against the backdrop of Mount Fuji, and Nihondaira (日本平)—a plateau at the centre of Shizuoka City, famous for its views of Mount Fuji, the Izu Peninsula (伊豆半島 Izu Hantō), the Japanese Southern Alps (南アルプス Minami arupusu), Shimizu Port (清水港 Shimizu-kō), and Suruga Bay. I could go on and on about the stunning and scenic sea views at these spots. However, today’s focus would be on the delicious food that Shimizu has to offer—strawberries and seafood!

 

Ishigaki Strawberry Picking  

High-cost performance strawberry sundae (Left) and ichigo mochi (Right). (Image credit: Wanping Aw)

 

Have you ever heard of the Ichigo Line (いちごライン) in Shizuoka? It actually refers to National Route 150, one being pronounced as ichi (一), and five being pronounced as go (五). When we merge the words ichi and go together, it means strawberry (いちご ichigo). The name of the road is apt since there are numerous ichigo farms here! The Shimizu area, which faces the sea and is cradled by the hills to block the cold north wind, was the first area in Japan to commercialise early-harvest strawberries in Japan many years ago, since 1904. 

 

The type of ichigo grown here is the Ishigaki (石垣) variety which actually refers to the stone works that support the steep slopes.  The stone walls are naturally heated by the sun and fed by the mineral-rich ground water coming down the hills, thereby producing extremely delicious and firm strawberries that keep you wanting more and more! 

 

This was the day I ate so many strawberries. First up, when I arrived at Kuno-san (久野山) area, we visited Kunouya (久能屋) and had this delightful strawberry sundae and a very bouncy ichigo mochi (いちご餅) filled with red bean and a big strawberry. The strawberry sundae was filled with different layers of yoghurt cream, vanilla cream, strawberry cream and cereal. It was sometimes sour, sometimes crunchy, sometimes a mouthful of strawberry. It was such a joy to eat it since there was so much variation in taste and texture. The ichigo mochi was soft and chewy, and the sweet red bean paired nicely with the sweet and fragrant strawberry. 

 

(Image credit: Wanping Aw)

 

Next up, we also tried all-you-can-eat ichigo picking (いちご狩り ichigo-gari) at Nagisa-en (なぎさ園). We were led into a vinyl-enclosed hut where all the strawberries were planted and ready to be picked. Due to COVID-19, each group had their own hut to themselves to pick strawberries in which we really appreciated. However, as these ishigaki ichigo were low-lying, we unfortunately started having backaches from squatting on the floor whilst picking the strawberries. Here’s a tip that I would recommend to everyone: go to Daiso and buy a plastic mat to bring along with you to this activity. This way you can comfortably sit down on the ground and slowly enjoy the picking (and eating) process! 

 

Kunouya (久能屋)
Address: 30 Negoya, Suruga-ku, Shizuoka 422-8011
Nearest station: Shizuoka Station (静岡駅)
Access: Take a 40-minute bus ride from Shizuoka Station, followed by 100m walk from Kunosan-shita Bus Stop (久能山下) 
Tel: +81 54-237-0610
*For more information on the admission fee and operating hours, please visit their website as it varies based on the season

 

Nagisa-en (なぎさ園)
Address: 142 Zō, Shimizu-ku, Shizuoka 424-0915
Nearest station: Shin-Shimizu station (新清水駅)
Access: Take a bus from the station, and alight at Zo-higashi Bus Stop
Tel: +81 54-334-1975
*For more information on the admission fee and operating hours, please visit their website as it varies based on the season

 

Shimizu Fish Market “Kashi no ichi” 

(Image credit: Halowand / CC BY-SA 4.0)

 

Shimizu Fish Market(清水魚市場 Shimizu-ichiba)also known as Kashi no ichi (海岸の市) is located in front of JR Shimizu Station (清水駅 Shimizu-eki). The fish market is divided into two buildings: Ichiba-kan (いちば館), and Maguro-kan (まぐろ館). Ichiba refers to the market and maguro refers to tuna. Shizuoka is famous for many number ones, and one of which is in terms of catch and consumption of maguro at Shimizu Port! 

 

In Ichiba-kan, vendors mainly sell fish, shellfish, pickled seafood and so on. In Maguro-kan, there are many seafood restaurants, out of which many sell maguro-related set meals. If you choose a restaurant that is located by the seaside, you can enjoy the view of the Shimuzu Port as you have your lunch. Since maguro is so famous here, I would highly recommend you to try maguro since it would be freshest and most delicious!

 

Left to right: Sakura ebi kakiage and my mixed lunch set. (Image credit: Wanping Aw)

 

For my lunch, I had sakura ebi kakiage (桜えびかき揚げ) and a mixed set as I wanted to try a bit of everything. The small white fish on the left are raw whitebaits (しらす shirasu), salmon roe (いくら ikura) and tuna pickled in soy sauce (つけまぐろ tsuke-maguro). Sakura ebi can only be caught at the Suruga Bay, so it;s a great opportunity to try it here where it is the freshest! You can also opt to take a cruise after lunch, to the port of Toi on the west coast of the Izu Peninsula from Shimizu Port, where you can also catch magnificent views of Mount Fuji along Suruga Bay.

 

Shimizu Fish Market (清水魚市場)
Address: 149 Shimazakicho, Shimizu-ku, Shizuoka 424-0823
Nearest station: Shimizu Station (清水駅)
Access: 4-minute walk from East Exit of the station
Opening hours: 9am–6pm (Closed on Wednesdays)
Admission fee: Free
Tel: +81 54-355-3575

 

Shizuoka oden with all of my favourite ingredients. What’s yours? (Image credit: Wanping Aw)

 

I ended the day with some piping hot Shizuoka oden (静岡おでん) at the parking area on the expressway. It is a variation of oden, consisting of fish paste cakes, boiled eggs, daikon (大根 white radish), kelp rolls, konnyaku (蒟蒻 Konjac), and other ingredients that are first boiled then kept simmering in a savoury broth until consumption. You may be familiar with the oden often sold at the convenience store during winter. Shizuoka oden is different from other types of oden in two major ways—the Shizuoka oden broth is made with beef instead of the dried bonito flakes used in other types of oden, and it is seasoned with strong soy sauce. As the simmering broth is only replenished rather than discarded, it takes on a very deep, brown-black colour. 

 

My daytrip to Shizuoka was so fruitful and ended on a full stomach! I believe that there must be so much more interesting and delicious food Shizuoka has to offer and I cannot wait to try them all. 

 

Header image credit: Wanping Aw

 

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