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Tue, Feb. 21, 2017 Suruga Bay: The bounty of the deep
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Suruga Bay, off Shizuoka Prefecture, is the deepest bay in Japan, plunging to a depth of around 2,500 meters. Around the port, there are many places to eat delicious, fresh-caught seafood. There are also a number of famous viewing spots that provide wonderful vistas of Mt. Fuji. On this edition of Journeys in Japan, photographer Kit Pancoast Nagamura explores this area along the coast, sampling the local delicacies and meeting some of the people who live on this land between Mt. Fuji and Suruga Bay.

Numazu Deep-Sea Aquarium
Numazu Deep-Sea Aquarium
Specializing in deep-sea marine life, mostly from Suruga Bay, this aquarium can be reached in about 15 minutes by bus or taxi from the south exit of JR Numazu Station.
Hours: 10:00-18:00 (open year-round)
Admission: 1,600 yen (adults)
Address: 83 Senbon-Minatomachi, Numazu City, Shizuoka Pref.
Tel: +81 (0) 55-954-0606
Mishima Skywalk
Mishima Skywalk
The Mishima Skywalk is a 400-meter suspension bridge with a panoramic viewing area. On clear days visitors can enjoy magnificent views of Mt. Fuji and Suruga Bay from the bridge. The skywalk, which opened in December 2015, also has a number of restaurants and gift shops. From JR Mishima Station it takes about 20 minutes to get there by bus or taxi.
Hours: 9:00-17:00 (open year-round)
Admission: 1,000 yen (adults)
Address: 313 Sasahara-shinden, Mishima City, Shizuoka Pref.
Tel: +81 (0) 55-972-0084
This traditional Japanese restaurant specializes in sakura-ebi (cherry shrimp). A full-course meal featuring dishes made with sakura-ebi costs 3,000-4,000 yen (plus tax). From JR Yui Station, it takes about 15 minutes to get there on foot.

Hours: 11:00-15:00, 17:00-21:00 (closed Monday)
Address: 69-1 Yui Higashi-Kurasawa, Shimizu-ku, Shimizu City, Shizuoka Pref.
Tel: +81 (0) 54-375-2454
Miho no Matsubara (Miho Pine Grove)
Miho no Matsubara (Miho Pine Grove)
This picturesque area lies on the coast, offering beautiful views of Suruga Bay and, if you are lucky, Mt. Fuji. To get there, take a bus from JR Shimizu Station as far as the "Miho no Matsubara Iriguchi" bus stop. From there, it takes about 15 minutes to walk to the pine grove.
Suruga Bay Ferry
Suruga Bay Ferry
This high-speed ferry crosses Suruga Bay between Shimizu Port and the port of Toi. It runs four times a day, and the journey takes about 65 minutes each way.
Cost: 2,260 yen (adults)
Tel: +81 (0) 54-353-2221
Kanesa Katsubushi
Kanesa Katsubushi
This company has made katsuobushi (cured skipjack tuna) for 135 years. Factory tours are available during business hours on weekdays by prior reservation.
Hours: 8:00-17:00 (weekends and holidays 10:00-17:00)
Address: 600-1 Tago, Kamo-gun Nishiizu-cho, Shizuoka Pref.
Tel: +81 (0) 558-53-0016
Sakanaya Shokudo
Sakanaya Shokudo
This restaurant close to Tago Port serves various dishes featuring shio-katsuo (salt-preserved skipjack). Their most popular dish is shio-katsuo udon (wheat noodles).
Hours: 10:30-15:00, 17:00-19:00 (closed Tuesday)
Address: 1603-5 Tago, Kamo-gun Nishiizu-cho, Shizuoka Pref.
Tel: +81 (0) 558-53-0169
From Tokyo, it takes about 50 minutes by Shinkansen bullet train to Mishima Station in Shizuoka Prefecture. From there, three of the port towns can be accessed by the JR Tokaido line. To reach Tago Port, it takes 65 minutes by ferry, and then another 30 minutes by taxi.
Travel Log

Traveler: Kit Pancoast Nagamura > More Info


Occupation: Poet, photographer, editor, and long-term columnist for The Japan Times

Length of residence in Japan:Over 20 years

Reason:I'm the fifth generation of my family to adore Japan. When I won a year-long fellowship from Brown University to interview artists here, I fell in love with the food, the profound culture, and the people.

Traveler's Archives:

> Okinoerabu Island: Home Away from Home

> Takayama & Furukawa: Treasuring Traditions

> Iiyama: The Landscape of the Heart

> Kumamoto: Children, Dolls and Celebrating Spring

On clear days, Mount Fuji can be seen from Tokyo. But in Shizuoka Prefecture, you can admire the iconic 3,776-meter peak close-up, set off by the sparkling beauty of Suruga Bay. The newly built Skywalk bridge in Mishima offers a breathtaking overview of this topography.

What I hadn't realized is that Suruga Bay plummets 2,500 meters, making it Japan's deepest bay. It also holds a bounty of sea life.

Fishermen at Suruga's ports tend to specialize in specific catches. At the tiny port of Yui, for example, it's all about sakura-ebi ("cherry shrimp"). Served raw, dried or in tempura concoctions, these tiny, tasty crustaceans are famous throughout Japan.

At Numazu, the focus is on succulent himono, brined and dried fish. The port is also home to the Deep-Sea Aquarium. The director, Ishigaki-san, introduced me to some light-shy creatures from the depths of Suruga Bay, including the adorable flapjack octopus and the spooky, skeletal spider crab, which has a leg span of up to 4 meters.

Finally, near the tranquil port of Tago, I met the Serizawa family. They are traditional artisans who create katsuobushi (cured skipjack) in their smoke-blackened factory at Kanesa. Watching father and son work, stoking the deep fire pits that dry the fish into one of the basic ingredients of Japanese cuisine, I reflect on the umami - and the sheer beauty of this area of Japan.

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