The Shizuoka Festival is Shizuoka City’s biggest spring festival. The three day event features a yatai-mura (outdoor food village), cherry blossoms, parades, performances, and cosplay. In fact, there’s not much that the Shizuoka Matsuri doesn’t have.
It’s a fairly new festival, having started in 1957, but takes its inspiration from a (possibly apocryphal) story about Tokugawa Ieyasu inviting his vassals to view the cherry blossoms. This explains why some participants dress up like they stepped out of the Edo period (1603–1868).
Shizuoka Matsuri 2022 highlights
- Cherry Blossom Viewing Parade
Date/time: April 2 (from 2:30pm) & April 3 (from 2:15pm)
Venue: The parade starts at the East Gate of Senpu Castle Park travels to Sengen Shrine and then back to Senpu Castle Park; the whole thing lasts about two hours.
- Taiko performance
Date/time: April 2 & April 3 (4:30–5pm)
Venue: Senpu Castle Park “Big Theater” (near the North Gate)
- Night Cherry Blossom Dance
Date/time: April 2 (5–7:50pm)
Venue: Otemachi Kaijo
- Senpu Yatai-mura
Date/time: April 1 (1–8:30pm), April 2 & 3 (10am–8:30pm)
Venue: Senpu Castle Park (near the North Gate)
- Shizuoka Brewery Beer Garden
Date/time: Friday 1–8:30pm; Saturday & Sunday 10am–8:30pm
Venue: Aoba Kaijo
Performances are held throughout Friday (1–8:30pm), Saturday (10am–8:30pm), and Sunday (10am–8:30pm) at the Senpu Castle Park “Big Theater” near the castle complex’s North Gate.
Getting to the Shizuoka Matsuri
The main venues for the festival are Senpu Castle Park, Aoba Kaijo and Otemachi Kaijo; the latter two are south of Senpu Castle Park. All are within walking distance of Shizuoka Station, which is a stop on the Tokaido Shinkansen between Tokyo (80 minutes; ¥6,670) and Kyoto (90 minutes; ¥10,630). A local train from Tokyo takes approximately three hours with one or two changes (Atami and/or Numazu) and costs about half the price of the bullet train.
Hotel Abant offers compact but smart rooms with wifi and laundry services.
A little fancier, the Hotel Century has sweeping staircases, more room and in in-house restaurant.