Prize-winning yakisoba, Japan’s top Sengen shrine and the new Mt. Fuji World Heritage Center make this an essential stopover.
The city of Fujinomiya, in Shizuoka Prefecture, holds more than just the stunning natural beauty of Shiraito and Otodome Falls. Mt. Fuji looms large over the city and its most important shrine can be found here. There is also Omiya Yokocho, a well-known spot for dining on the local specialty of yakisoba (stir-fried noodles). Newer to the area is the unique architecture of the Mt. Fuji World Heritage Center, Shizuoka.
Fujisan Sengen Taisha Shrine
Japan boasts roughly 1,300 Asama or Sengen shrines, which are dedicated to the Shinto spirits associated with sacred mountains and volcanoes. Fujisan Sengen Shrine is the head of all these. The shrine was once a starting place for mountain climbers, who would pray and wash themselves on the grounds in Wakutama Pond before venturing up Mt. Fuji.
Fujisan Sengen Shrine hosts several large festivals throughout the year, the biggest of which revolves around a yabusame (horseback archery) contest on May 5 yearly.
Fujinomiya is famous for its yakisoba. Having twice won the top award over other Japanese local dishes in the B-1 Grand Prix regional food competition, its version of the noodles are thick and chewy. They have come to be regarded as a quintessential form of “B-class cuisine,” or casual gourmet food, in Japan.
Across the street from Fujisan Sengen Shrine, in the open-air food court of Omiya Yokocho, you can eat yakisoba from shops that have been authorized by the Fujinomiya Yakisoba Society. The food court has a drinking well sourced with spring water from Mt. Fuji.
Mt. Fuji World Heritage Center
Shizuoka’s Mt. Fuji World Heritage Centre opened in late 2017, four years after the mountain became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Renowned architect Shigeru Ban designed the main exhibition building, which is shaped like an upside-down Fuji-san.
The building has a shallow pond out in front of it so that its reflection forms an image of the mountain right-side up. Given the right conditions, you can also see the real Mt. Fuji reflected in the water with perfect symmetry.
Inside the building, you ascend a spiral ramp with shadow hikers. Long video screens further simulate the climbing experience by showing views from the mountain. Along the way, there are exhibits about Mt. Fuji and its history and culture. When you reach the “5th station,” you can step out onto an observation deck with a breathtaking view of the real Mt. Fuji over Fujinomiya.
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