Fuji Marine Pool - 富士マリンプール

Now that we've moved to Shizuoka city, this means we're a bit closer to Fuji city, which is a place I've been wanting to explore a bit more since I came to Shizuoka-ken four years ago.

We finally had that chance about a week or so ago when we were trying to find a water park to visit for the first time this summer, and also baby's first time swimming. So after some searching, I came across the Fuji Marine Pool (富士マリンプール).

fuji, marine, pool, shizuoka, fuji city, swimming

Their facilities met all of our criteria: river pool, kids' pool, babies wearing swimming diapers OK. The place also has a neat little wave pool, several waterslides (some small speed slides and some tube slides), a concession stand/food shop, and lots of space to spread out towels and mats (which people do, so you'll want to get there early to find a decent spot, let alone in the shade). And Mt. Fuji in the background (not visible in the picture above though). Of course.

They also have a concession stand with various typical cheap food options (curry, yakisoba, ice cream, etc.).

We enjoyed spending our morning here with baby - definitely recommended!


Archery in a Volcano on the Izu Peninsula

What images come to mind when you think of archery, and doing it in a volcano? Fiery lava? Robin hood swinging on a rope over said lava, bow in hand?

Believe it or not, you can practice your archery skills in the crater of a dormant volcano - Mt. Omuro - located in Ito, Shizuoka.

I've done it twice, and it's a lot of fun. You can also hike around Omuro's perimeter and even go paragliding, so I've heard.

For more details, check out this post I recently wrote over on The Japan Daily Press.


Golden Spoon Frozen Yogurt at Lalaport in Iwata

Frozen yogurt is incredibly difficult to come by in Japan. Sure, you can find yogurt everywhere, and throw it in the freezer if you feel so inclined (or an ice cream maker). Yet the widespread prevalence of soft cream all over this country surprises me that frozen yogurt has not yet become as ubiquitous. There are a few shops in Tokyo, in Osaka, and some of those large, urban areas, but if you aren't in a large metropolis, you're generally out of luck.

Unless you're in Shizuoka prefecture.


Shimada Obi Matsuri (Festival) 2010 - 島田帯祭

Every three years in Shimada city, Shizuoka prefecture, a three day festival is held. 2010 just happened to be one of those years, and I spent quite a bit of time racing around Shimada on my bike to catch various events and happenings.

The festival began in the year 1696, during the Genroku era. At the time, it was customary for newlywed women who had moved to Shimada to go to the Oi Temple (a main temple in Shimada) to officially report their new residence and offer prayers for a safe childbirth. The women wore formal clothes to the temple, and afterward they would walk through the streets dressed in their fancy attire. Eventually, it was decided that this was too embarrassing for the women, and so instead, the men who carried the temple's portable shrine hung the women's obi (a wide, decorative band wrapped the waist over a kimono) from wooden swords they carried on their backs in place of the women and offered the prayers for safe childbirth. The obi was considered a very important part of a bride's wedding outfit, so the most fashionable and unique obi were gathered from around Japan for this event. The custom became a festival, and has continued ever since, every three years.

Of course now, the festival consists of much more than some guys carrying around obi. (That may get kind of old after three full days anyway...) So now, a visual tour of various events from the Shimada Obi Matsuri (and details for where, when, how to go at the end of this post):

A large float (yatai - 屋台、やたい) by one of the many towns in the city.