Shizuoka is the name of the prefecture of which Shizuoka city (population: 472,199) is the prefectural capital. Shizuoka prefecture includes the cities of Hamamatsu and Fuji, as well as the Izu Peninsula. It is bordered on the south by the Pacific Ocean(Suruga Bay); on the north by Nagano and Yamanashi prefectures; on the east by Kanagawa prefecture; and on the west by Aichi prefecture. The prefectural population is 3,782,760 (as of September 2000), which makes it 10th out of Japan`s 47 prefectures.

Shizuoka prefecture is famous for several things including Mt. Fuji, the Izu Peninsula, hot springs or onsen, unagi, green tea, sakuraebi (cherry shrimp), and the quality of its soccer players. In June 2002, Shizuoka Stadium is hosting some of the World Cup games.

As with most prefectures in Japan, during the Edo period what is now one prefecture was the domain of several retainers of the shogunate and various daimyo. The prefecture system, established in 1871, united the territories in this area into four prefectures known as Nirayama (the Izu area), Shizuoka (the Suruga Bay and Totomi areas, Horie (the area around Lake Hamana), and Hamamatsu (the western area). In 1876, these four prefectures were united to make what is now known as Shizuoka prefecture.

Due to the scenic nature and the plethora of hot springs, members of the Tokugawa shogunate used to make the Shizuoka area one of their top vacation destinations. There remain some historical sites related to Ieyasu. Another interesting historical site, located in Shizuoka city, is the Toro Iseki ruins, a Yayoi era site.

Shizuoka prefecture is largely agricultural and rural; 64.3% of the land is woodland and 10.9% is in agricultural use. The climate is largely a mild maritime climate with a short rainy season in late June and early July, a humid summer, and a dry, cool winter.


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