photo essay:

Nippondaira in Shizuoka, Central Japan

Click on our ten tiles for an instant tour around this lesser-known gem about halfway between Tokyo and Nagoya on just about the easiest roadtrip you'll ever take overseas. It's so serene here. And gentle. And yes, you will be the only Westerner here, too. 

Kunozan Toshogu Shrine

Kunozan Toshogu Shrine

A vintage gondola ride (called a ropeway here) takes you to the mausoleum of one of the most important warriors of Japan - Tokugawa Ieyasu. This was the man who brought an unprecedented era of peace in the Edo period. Look him up! His story is wonderful.

The view from Nippondaira Hotel

The view from Nippondaira Hotel

The morning I stayed here, I could watch the cloud literally descend over Mt Fuji over there, roll across the bay of water between us and finally blanketing my hotel. When the cloud settled back down to ground level again, this is what I saw.

Reflecting on the room

Reflecting on the room

The room - Nippondaira Hotel

Mt Fuji at sunrise

Mt Fuji at sunrise

Mt Fuji presiding over the landscape as the sun rose, burning off the cloud creeping across the waters of Suruga Bay; this photo taken wearing my hotel slippers on my room balcony at Nippondaira Hotel.

French degustation

French degustation

When the view out the giant windows goes black, feast your eyes on course after course after course of French cuisine - with local produce and a particular, fresh Japanese touch. Nippondaira Hotel

Shimizu Ward, Shizuoka, Japan

Shimizu Ward, Shizuoka, Japan

Is this the prettiest place to come to view Mt Fuji -and spend a few mindful days taking in the silent clouds and the stunning bay?

The breakfast table

The breakfast table

An exercise in mindfulness: you have two choices in the morning at Nippondaira Hotel. You can run around ecstatically filling your camera with perfect shots or sit inside, quietly taking it all in and sipping your green tea.

Clouds in my coffee (table)

Clouds in my coffee (table)

Yet another perfectly polished surface at the Nippondaira Hotel. Number of windows I walked straight into over 10 days = 2.

The view of Suruga Bay + Fuji-san

The view of Suruga Bay + Fuji-san

In the full sunlight of mid-morning, this is the view from the breakfast room of Nippondaira Hotel. You can see Shimizu ( part of greater Shizuoka) and its many fingers out into the calm waters of Suruga Bay.

Kunozan Toshogu Shrine

Kunozan Toshogu Shrine

Who says cherry blossom is the only hero shot? The plum blossom in February round the shrine had me in pretty constant photogasm mode.

The brand new Yume Terrace

The brand new Yume Terrace

Coming to the architectural marvel of Nihondaira Yume Terrace to see the famous Fuji-san doesn't work when it's raining cats and dogs outside. But the amazing holographic displays still made it worth my while.