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Utsunoya was an intermediary stage between the two Old Tokaido Route stations, Mariko in Shizuoka, and Okabe in Fujieda. Even during the Meiji Era travelers had to go through it before climbing up and down steep slopes between the two stations.

Accordingly, many visitors stopped overnight in one of the “Shuukuba” or “Kashiya”/inns. Such establishments can be seen for the sole pleasure of the eyes and learning the history of the region.




Nowadays Utsunoya is easilly accessed by just taking a bus to Fujieda from platform 7 in front Shizuoka JR Station and get off at Utsunoya Iriguchi bus stop just before the Fujieda Tunnel. From here cross the large road by using the overhead bridge and start walking up the street.



You will walk past this beautiful Shizuoka fire hydrant manhole cover



The first houses you will see are not the inns of Utsunoya but they will prepare you for the further sights



These houses have been standing here for a long time and have often been repaired but you can still catch glimpses of old wooden architecture



Depending on the season they will make for great photography



Just walk at an easy pace as your goal is not that far



This sign indicates one of the great soba restaurants in this Prefecture called Kishigami


SN3O5296The all-important sign! Take the left-hand path



Getting near! Can you see the houses in the distance?


SN3O5298You have reached Utsunoya which depended on the Mariko Old Tokaido Route Station



A little bit of historical information, travelers had to climb past Utsunoya Pass before the Meiji Toll Tunnel was opened in 1870



Enter Utsunoya



On that particular occasion we walked through it on a beautiful winter afternoon, but you ought to imagine the same location in all seasons and weathers.



Rare blue glazed roof tiles



All these former inns had names finishing with “ya/屋”


SN3O5304They all share the same wooden architectural design


SN3O5305One can still discover stone foundations even older than the houses


SN3O5306Antique rain water stone jars


SN3O5307A postcard view


SN3O5308Now the owners have generally turned to farming



I can’t start to imagine the work involved to build those inns atop stone walls on such steep slopes


SN3O5310Walk the stairs keeping an eye for interesting details


SN3O5311A typical example of the old architectural design of the tiled roofs



Try and imagine tired travelers stopping there overnight



Looking down on your tracks up the slope


SN3O5314How many of these tiles had to be replaced? This is a cold area and especially exposed to the natural elements.



Even now it is worth visiting for the sole purpose of eating at traditional Japanese restaurants, Udon Restaurant



Soba Restaurant Kishigami, a favorite of mine and many foreign tourists in search of true Shizuoka gastronomy


SN3O5316Souvenir shop and restaurant



And don’t forget to visit the Meiji Tunnel just a little further away.

Name Utsunoya-tōge Pass
Address Utsunoya,Suruga Ward, Shizuoka, Shizuoka Prefecture 421-0105
Access [map]Utsunoya,Suruga Ward, Shizuoka, Shizuoka Prefecture 421-0105[/map]
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Robert-Gilles Martineau

Robert-Gilles Martineau

Robert-Gilles Martineau, a 40-year French resident in Shizuoka and japan has been blogging and writing about his love for Japanese gastronomy and tourism in three languages since 1998. His motto: "There is always a new place to visit and a new food to taste out there!"

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