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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.


The spirit of Zen lives in a fishing town

Instead of just passing through, one should try to stay a while in Yaizu. The former residence of the Hattori family, which once owned tuna boats and contributed to the development of Yaizu Port, has been reborn as Hoya, an inn and community space. And Yaizu PORTERS, a teleworking base with a co-working area, will soon open inside a fishing tackle warehouse in the inner harbor area. These new initiatives utilizing the assets of the fisheries industry will significantly expand options for spending time in Yaizu.

Mario Sirard and his wife Noriko run Zentra Yoga, which attracts people of all ages, women and men, beginners, and folk from various countries. The adjoining café serves healthy and delicious vegan and Indian home cuisine. It felt like a place where anybody is welcome to visit and relax aimlessly, much like a cafe in Southern India, the mecca of yoga. “Focus your attention on your breath. You will sense the joy of being alive,” say the smiling couple, so we too took a deep breath. 

Next, we find ourselves inexorably drawn toward Rinso-in Temple at the foot of Mt.Takakusa. Erstwhile abbot Toshitaka Suzuki traveled to the West Coast of the United States to convey the spirit of Zen overseas; his teachings had a profound influence on Steve Jobs. “Zen is not a practice, but part of everyday life. Just concentrate on your breathing and feel the present moment” explains vice abbot Toshikure Suzuki.  

We always feel so cool, calm, and collected when in Yaizu and wonder if this is in fact due to the Zen-like mindset pervasive among the people that make up the town. Each day, they face off against nature, they focus, and give thanks. They are upright people, with hearts as open as a harbor. I was left in no doubt that this town full of Zen spirit will only become more interesting in the future. When in Yaizu, take a deep breath and savor the here and now – just like Yakumo did. 

Why not give zazen a try? Zen is part of everyday life.
New staycation hub Hoya is an old inn brimming with romance and allure.
The smiles and cuisine at “Zentra Yoga” replenish both body and soul.
A handstand requires regular practice! Don’t worry, beginner classes are also available.

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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’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