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.
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
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
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
Cost: 2,260 yen (adults)
Tel: +81 (0) 54-353-2221
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
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
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.
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.