A pass that has continued since medieval times, Shizuoka

Today, I’ll introduce Utsunoya Pass, located in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan.

Utsunoya Pass. Although I knew the name from old times, nowadays there’s no reason to cross the pass on foot, just pass through the tunnel made by modern civilization by car.

So, I had never visited it before, but as someone born in Shizuoka Prefecture, I decided to see it.

A medieval transportation hub

The Utsunoya area is where I used to work in western Shizuoka Prefecture, and I often used the bypass tunnel on my commute route.

At that time, I had no idea that such an old-fashioned landscape remained next to the tunnel.

At first glance, it may seem plain, but a nostalgic townscape of old Japan remains.

In the late 16th century, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a medieval warlord, is said to have improved this route when attacking the Hojo clan in Odawara.

Nowadays, whether heading east or west, you can swiftly travel by expressways or Shinkansen, but back then, it was all on foot. As I walk, I wonder what it was like.

In the past, even crossing a single mountain was quite a feat.

There are cherry blossom trees in the back.

If you’re lucky, you can see beautiful cherry blossoms from February to March.

The exquisite green color of the temple’s roof tiles is beautiful.

When you see the roof up close like this, it feels very powerful.

How to get to Utsunoya Pass

Utsunoya Pass is most conveniently reached from Shizuoka Station by taxi.

However, if you prefer to take the bus, you can catch the Chubu Kokudo Line bus from the north exit of Shizuoka Station, which takes about 30 minutes. Get off at the “Utsunoya Iriguchi” bus stop.

(The photo above is taken near the Utsunoya Iriguchi bus stop. Inside the building in the photo, you can enjoy Shizuoka’s specialty, Shizuoka Oden!)

Cross the large pedestrian bridge visible from the bus stop, and after about a 10-minute walk, you’ll see the old streetscape of Utsunoya.

In this small settlement, there’s no extravagance, but you can experience the nostalgic architecture and atmosphere of old Japan.

There are also soba noodle shops.


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