Numazu, just 100 kilometers from Tokyo, is a favored escape from the city for lovers of the ocean, seafood, hiking, bicycling, golf, and superb views of Mount Fuji.
The city is an easy stop on the JR Tokaido Main line between Atami and Shizuoka. Set at the southern base of Mount Fuji and Mount Ashitaka, Numazu is in the eastern Shizuoka prefecture at the northern end of the Izu Peninsula.
Favorite spots of hikers, bikers and walkers
Hikers favor the Numazu Alps along with Mount Ashitaka and Mount Hottanjo. Winters are mild, and during summer months, beaches along Suruga Bay are popular with locals and tourists.
Senbon Matsubara beach is also popular, and points along its 10 km length are lined by towering pine trees, some over one hundred years old.
Crowds of walkers and cyclists often access a lengthy dike that stretches from Numazu to Fuji city. The views of Fujisan along the stretch are lovely. Another path along the Kano-river has stops for water bike rentals, and in the summer, fireworks displays draw crowds.
Maruten restaurant is popular among seafood lovers, with bowls of seafood-kakiage among the establishment’s best-selling dishes. Noppo-bread is Numazu’s specialty, and it’s also sold here. Fashioned into a long roll, the bread is often spread with peanut butter, thinned chocolate and jams.
Cat’s Café, near Numazu station’s north exit, is known for its desserts, including parfaits built for ten or more eaters.
A water gate to prevent tsunamis
Numazu’s water gate is Japan’s largest floodgate, rising to 30 meters. Its observation deck affords a 360-degree panoramic view, of Mount Fuji and Ashitaka, as well as all of Suruga Bay and the Izu Peninsula. The gate closes should a tsunami threaten, created by earthquakes that exceed 8 on the Richter scale.
The water gate’s visiting hours are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays. Admission is 100 yen for adults, 50 yen for elementary and junior high school students (age 6-15).
Numazu aquarium specializes in deep-sea creatures
Numazu Deep sea Aquarium and its Coelacanth Museum are set between two floors with over one dozen spectacular lighted exhibits.
A deep-sea planetarium called Strange Creatures showcases “flashlight” and “lantern” fish which luminesce. Other tanks include species from the deep-sea bottom, as well as from shallower depths.
The singular Coelacanth Museum
The ancient Coelacanth were thought to be extinct, but were discovered in South Africa in 1938. The deep-sea species has remained unchanged for 350 million years. The “living fossil” is an invertebrate with a hollow spine –– singular to the species.
The Coelacanth Museum is the world’s first, and contains five specimens; two are frozen and three are stuffed. Sample organs, scales and videos of the species are also on display.
Admission to the aquarium is 1600 yen for adults and 800 yen for children. The museum can be accessed via the JR Tokaido Line at the Numazu station stop.
Numazu Imperial Villa Memorial Park
This memorial park, built in 1893 for use by three generations of emperors, was re-opened as a memorial park in 1970.
Visitors can see how the imperial class lived in what largely functioned as the Imperial family’s summer retreat.
Park and villa hours are from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission to both the park and villa is 400 yen.