Shizuoka is located in the southeast part of central Japan and faces the Pacific Ocean. Lying halfway between Tokyo and Osaka, it has long prospered, both culturally and economically, as the meeting point of east and west. The Fuji volcanic belt extends to the Izu-hanto Peninsula, embracing such volcanoes as Mt. Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, Mt. Ashitaka-yama and Mt. Togasa-yama. Due to the volcanic nature of the area, Shizuoka has an abundance of hot springs at such locations as Atami, Ito, Shuzen-ji, and many other places, which makes the prefecture one of major sightseeing and relaxation spots in the country. Moreover, Shizuoka boasts of a variety of natural features, including Suruga Bay, the Sea of Enshu, Lake Hamana-ko, rivers such as the Tenryu-gawa and Oi-gawa, and the plains area spreading to the mouths of those rivers. In addition, the climate is quite mild there.
The city of Shizuoka, the center of local administration and economy, was the capital town of a daimyo's fief where once stood the Sunpu Castle of the ruler Tokugawa Ieyasu, a warlord of the Sengoku Period (Warring States Period). Besides the ruins of the castle, there are the Toro Remains, where you can see the reproductions of ancient houses and high-floored granaries used back in the 3rd to 4th centuries B.C., and Kuno-san Tosho-gu Shrine that has a Chinese-style gate, a national treasure. In the western part of the prefecture lies the city of Hamamatsu with its Kanzanji-onsen Hot Spring, long known as a celebrated moon viewing spot. Every May, the Nakata-jima Dunes, located in the outskirts of the city, is packed with fans and spectators visiting the area for a giant kite-fighting event.