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Tour de Nippon


Yaizu is among the finest fishing ports in Japan, with massive catches of bonito and tuna at Yaizu Port and whitebait and Sakura shrimp at Oigawa. Surrounded by hills and rivers, it has ample water resources and many awesome hot springs. The climate is mild, and the people are easy-going. The open and genial atmosphere befitting a "port town" has attracted people not only from Japan but also from other climes, including Koizumi Yakumo. Perhaps the people of Yaizu, who live with and enjoy the sea, rivers, and mountains, are naturally possessed of a Zen spirit. Take a deep breath, come as you are, as if a local. Feel and flow with the time and breeze in Yaizu – and take a trip to replenish the soul.


Yaizu, a port that has welcomed many a traveler

Koizumi Yakumo (Lafcaido Hearn) describes Yaizu as follows: “When the sun shines bright, this old fishing town called Yaizu exhibits a unique, interesting light that escapes description.”  He always visited around mid-August (“Obon”) in his later years, basking in the deep, choppy waters off Yaizu. Apparently, the curved beach surrounded by mountains evoked the beaches of Greece and Ireland from childhood days. While Mt.Fuji perched across the deep-colored Suruga Bay seems quintessentially Japanese, it is interesting to note that it resembles a beach in a faraway foreign country. Come to think of it, Lennox-san of Jamaican coffee and chocolate store LENY also likened Yaizu to his hometown port of Kingston. The 95% cacao drink he served this morning relaxes both body and soul; there must be something about Yaizu that chills everybody out.

The urban and exotic Yuruk Bake Shop serves bagels crammed with local ingredients, which tend to sell out by noon. The Matsunagas, who traveled the world like nomads, have recreated the unforgettable taste of Turkish mackerel sandwiches using Yaizu saba and homemade bagels. The deciding factor behind moving to Yaizu was the open and cheerful port town reminiscent of Central and South America, and the comfortable distance between people, which felt just right.

Ai Miura, a local angler, is another person who fell in love with the Yaizu sea and moved to the area. Her unique background includes majoring in marine biology before moving to Tuscany to study Italian cuisine. These days she spends her time coming up with new ways to interact with fish in Yaizu, such as fishing classes and cooking events. Boat fishing is said to be good for horse mackerel and tilefish, and at night for hairtail. As I heard about these various people who had traveled around the world and ended up on Yaizu’s shores, my impression of the town as “a fishing port with some of the largest catches in Japan” began to change into a place with a decidedly international flavor that is welcoming to travelers.

Following in the footsteps of Yakumo, a major fan of Yaizu.
Ai Miura’s eyes gaze straight out to sea as she shares her aspirations.
Mr. and Mrs. Matsunaga opened Yuruk Bake Shop in 2017, loving the generous atmosphere of the port town.
At LENY, not far from the ocean, you can enjoy morning breakfast from 7:00 a.m.
Yakumo’s letter to Mrs. Setsu, who was away in Tokyo during his stay in Yaizu.
Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, and Suruga Bay, the deepest body of water in Japan. Such grandeur fuels the town’s deep nostalgia.

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A replenishing journey through a port town tinged with the sea breeze
Tour de Nippon in Yaizu
Held on the weekend of September 24-25, 2022

Enjoy the charms of Yaizu to the fullest with vistas of Suruga Bay and Mt.Fuji. Fishing on Day 1. Come cast a line with Ai Miura. Tuck into an evening repast of fish caught in Yaizu. Hike and bike on day 2. Cycling along the beach to Hanazawa-no-sato while snacking on Yaizu’s gastronomic treats. After hiking up Man-gan-ho, experience Zen at Rinso-in Temple.  At the end of the tour, relax and peacefully melt into the soothing Kuroshio Onsen Nakamura-kan. Come, join us on a journey to get in touch with nature, to breath deeply, and to bring some balance to mind and body.

PAPERSKY Papersky’s Tour de Nippon project is about finding the magic of Japan’s rural districts, their inhabitants, nature, culture and food. We travel to various prefectures and ride bicycles. Traveling via bicycle allows us a clean and healthy way to explore Japan’s rural areas.
text | Miyako Shimba photography | Shinya Rachi special thanks | Yaizu City