|— Designated city —|
|静岡市 · City of Shizuoka|
Skyline of Shizuoka with Mt. Fuji in the Background
Location of Shizuoka in Shizuoka
|- Mayor||Zenkichi Kojima|
|- Total||1,411.82 km2 (545.1 sq mi)|
(May 1, 2009)
|- Density||508/km2 (1,315.7/sq mi)|
|- Tree||Flowering Dogwood|
|- Bird||Common Kingfisher|
|Website||City of Shizuoka|
5-1 Ōtemachi, Aoi-ku, Shizuoka-shi, Shizuoka-ken
As of 2009, the city has an estimated population of 717,515 and the density of 508 persons per km². The total area is 1,411.82 km2 (545.11 sq mi). Shizuoka is currently the 5th largest city in Japan in terms of geographic area, and the 2nd largest city in Shizuoka prefecture in terms of population.
The area that is now the city of Shizuoka has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Numerous kofun have been found within the city limits, and the Toro archaeological site indicates that a major Yayoi period (circa 400 BC-300 AD) settlement existed in what is now part of the central city area.
Suruga was established as a province of Japan in the early Nara period. At some point between the year 701 and 710, the provincial capital was relocated from what is now Numazu, to a more central location on the banks of the Abe River at a location named Sunpu (駿府) (a contraction of “Suruga no Kokufu”) or alternatively ”Fuchu” (府中).
During the Muromachi period, Sunpu was the capital of the Imagawa clan. The Imagawa were defeated at the Battle of Okehazama, and Sunpu was subsequently ruled by Takeda Shingen, followed by Tokugawa Ieyasu. However, Toyotomi Hideyoshi relocated Ieyasu, and installed Nakamura Kazutada to rule Sunpu. After the Toyotomi were defeated in the Battle of Sekigahara, Tokugawa Ieyasu recovered Sunpu, reassigning it to his own retainer, Naitō Nobunari in 1601. This marked the start of Sunpu Domain.
In April 1606, Ieyasu officially retired from the post of Shogun, and retired to Sunpu, where he established a secondary court, from which he could influence Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada from behind the scenes. Subsequently, aside for brief periods, Sunpu was tenryō (territory under direct administration by the Shogunate), ruled by the Sunpu jōdai (駿府城代), an appointed official based in Sunpu.
In 1869, after the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the former shogunal line, headed by Tokugawa Iesato was sent to Sunpu and assigned the short-lived Shizuoka Domain. The same year, Sunpu was renamed "Shizuoka". Shizuoka Domain became Shizuoka Prefecture with the abolition of the han system in 1871, which was expanded in 1876 through merger with the former Hamamatsu Prefecture and western portions of Ashigaru Prefecture in 1876. Shizuoka Station on the Tōkaidō Main Line was opened on February 1, 1889. The same day, a fire burned down most of downtown Shizuoka.
The modern city was founded on April 1, 1889. At the time, the population was 37,681, and Shizuoka was one of the first 31 cities established in Japan.
An electric tram service began in 1911. In 1914, due to heavy rains caused by a typhoon, the Abe River flooded, inundating the downtown area. In the national census of 1920, the population of Shizuoka was 74,093. The area of the city continued to expand through the 1920s and 1930s through merger with outlying towns and villages. In 1935, the city was struck by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake, resulting in much damage. Although soon rebuilt, a large fire in 1940 again destroyed much of the center of the city.
During World War II, Shizuoka lacked targets of major military significance, and was initially only lightly bombed during several American air raids. However, in a major firebombing raid of June 19, 1945, the city suffered an extreme amount of damage with high civilian casualties.
The area of the city continued to expand through the 1950s and 1960s through merger with outlying towns and villages. On October 1, 1964, the Tokaido Shinkansen began services to Shizuoka, and on April 25, 1969 the city was connected to the Tomei Expressway. On July 7, 1974, the Abe River flooded, and landslides occurred during heavy rains, killing 23 people.
On August 16, 1980, a major gas leak in an underground shopping center near Shizuoka Station resulted in an explosion, killing 15 people and seriously injuring 233 others. The Shizuoka City Hall moved to new premises in 1986. On April 1, 1992, Shizuoka was designed a core city by the central government, giving it increased autonomy.
Shimizu Port boasts the largest haul of tuna in all Japan. Kanbara Harbour enjoys a prosperous haul of sakura ebi. Mochimune Harbour enjoys a prosperous haul of shirasu sardines.
Abekawa Mochi (rice cakes in kinako soy flour) are produced in Shizuoka.
Shizuoka has a long history of being involved in the craft industries going back over 400 years ago, using trees, including hinoki cypress. The model industry goes back to the late 1920s when wood was used to produce model toys, using sashimono woodworking joinery techniques, purely for educational purposes. Craftsmen later moved on to lighter woods including balsa, but following the war, with the importation of US built scale models, many companies either turned to plastic models to compete or went under.
The town has since became internationally notable for its plastic scale model kits and is resident to its long established companies such as Aoshima, Fujimi, Hasegawa and the most renowned of them all, Tamiya. The town hosts the long running Shizuoka Hobby Show annually in May at the Twin Messe Shizuoka, the show attracts visitors worldwide.
Rice cakes in a broth cooked with vegetables, popular at New Year's.
A grated yam soup. Chojiya, a tororo restaurant founded in 1598 in Mariko-juku area of Shizuoka, west of the Abe River, was made famous by Hiroshige when he depicted it in his series of ukiyoe prints of the 53 stops along the Tōkaidō, entitled The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō.
There are three main festivals on Shizuoka's calendar.
Shizuoka Matsuri (静岡まつり): The Cities April Festival during the high point of the year for Cherry Blossom, a flower-viewing procession, imitates the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu's custom of taking daimyo (feudal lords) to Sengen Shrine to view the cherry blossoms .
Abekawa Hanabi (安倍川花火): A gigantic firework display held upstream of Shizuoka's Abe River in late July.
Daidogei World Cup (大道芸ワールドカップ): Street Performance World Cup. Probably the biggest event on Shizuoka's Calendar, it is an annual International Busker's Festival, held in November. It includes various shows such as juggling, pantomime, magic, etc. Performers gather from Japan and abroad to create wonder and laughter here and there in the town. From 2005, it expanded from a 3-day to a 4-day festival.
With the Shimizu merger, Shimizu S-Pulse became the major football (soccer) club in the city. Recently, however, a new rival club, Shizuoka F.C. from Suruga, has been rising in the regional league ranks as a contender for a place in the Japan Football League.
Shizuoka lies on the JR main rail line from Tokyo to Osaka, the Tōkaidō Main Line and is well served by the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, limited express and regional trains. The central station of Shizuoka is close to the city centre. Shizuoka also has an LRT line, the Shizuoka Railway.
The nearest airport is Shizuoka Airport, between Makinohara and Shimada. The more distant Tokyo International Airport (Haneda), Narita International Airport, and Chūbu Centrair International Airport are commonly used.
The Shizuoka Shimbun is the area's primary newspaper.
NHK Shizuoka Educational Channel (Analogue Channel 2; Digital Channel 2)
Shizuoka Cable Television (Dream Wave Shizuoka)
Shizuoka is often chosen as the location of soccer manga. Captain Tsubasa is the most famous.