A Weekend Getaway to Shizuoka

Over the summer between my sophomore year and junior year of university, I had a conversation with one of my friend's mum who also studied abroad in Japan for a while. She told me that while she had an amazing time, one of her biggest regrets was not travelling enough within Japan during her time here. She always flew back to Taiwan during breaks, and never stayed to explore other cities besides Tokyo. When she first told me to travel more, I didn't really take it in, because I thought I still had a lot of time. But now, as a senior, I realized that the same exact thing is happening to me.

Ever since starting my senior year of university, I've been living with the startling realization that I'm really running out of time to be a student. I'm not going to graduate school right after, because it's not like I have a specialized area of interest that I want to pursue, nor do I have the money for it. So besides having to face the reality that time is ticking and I have to enter the workforce soon, my opportunities to travel during breaks are also shrinking as the days go by. It definitely doesn't help that I'm the exact same as my friend's mum, and always fly back home to Taiwan as soon as any sort of holiday starts. So this year, I decided that I was actually going to explore more places in Japan.

The first stop in my travelling journey was Shizuoka. And I managed to book a trip to Shizuoka during the same weekend as the Daidogei World Cup (大道芸ワールドカップ), which I had no idea even existed. I literally only knew that Shizuoka is famous for oden, green tea, sakura ebi, and wasabi. And of course, Mount Fuji. But I based my entire 2 days 1 night trip around the food that I was going to eat, and my main focus was honestly just oden.

On my first day, I arrived at Shizuoka around 3 PM, so I checked into my hotel, walked around the station for a bit, and got oden for dinner.  I had read on the internet that the Aoba Oden Alley (青葉おでん街) was the place to go, so I popped by and feasted on oden. The next day, I had a sakura ebi donburi for lunch, and oden as a snack. Then for dinner, right before I left Shizuoka to head back to Tokyo, I ate oden again for dinner. Have I mentioned that I really like oden? During the times in between, I explored the city and wandered around by taking long walks. And on one of these walks, I stumbled upon a festival. And for the longest time, the only emotion that I felt was complete and utter confusion. I finally gave in and did a quick Google search, and found out that it was a festival that celebrates street performances. If you're interested, you can check out their official website, Japan Visitor, or Wikipedia for more information.

I still think it's wild (and hilarious) that my last-minute spontaneous trip happened to be on the same weekend as the festival, and I'm really looking forward to more happy accidents that come in the form of spontaneous weekend trips.

*All photos were taken by myself.