I have never heard of Shimizu, Shizuoka before taking this cruise. Obviously, everyone talks about Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka as THE CITIES you need to visit while in Japan, but I discovered a little gem called Shimizu. 

Just imagine, a cruise ship arriving in the Shimizu port and
their blue mascot is energetically waving to you. The town’s citizens are volunteering their time to welcome tourists and handing them English maps and directions to wherever you want to go. Tiny shops are lined up for those who don’t want to explore too far. I’ve never felt so warmly welcomed. 

It’s very impressive that a small-ish town like this would supply us, tourists, with a free shuttle service that would run every 20 minutes to take us into their ”downtown”. Japan seems to really promote tourism and erase any language barrier you might fear. Every shuttle had an English speaking guide that gave us tips on how to navigate Shimizu and teach us a little about this beautiful town.

Although we only had half a day in Shimizu, I felt like we experienced so much of Japanese culture in such little time. With Mount Fuji in the background, I ate fresh tuna from a fish market. I was looking for a wifi hotspot and stumbled upon a traditional tea ceremony where tourists were invited to try on kimonos. I watched real geishas perform song and dance (this is really rare and usually if you are traveling on your own, you won’t have the occasion to see this) and actually went on stage to play a game of rock, paper, scissors with them. And when it was time to leave, the town got back together at the port to play taiko drums and light fireworks, just for us. The hospitality and generosity of Japanese people is really something to admire.

If you are ever in the Shizuoka area, it is a must see (and eat!)

Stay soft my dear tuna.