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Exploring Japan's Shimizu Port and Fish Market

Updated: Oct 6, 2023

Shimizu port in Japan's Shizuoka prefecture was one of my favorite ports to visit on my 9 day Diamond Princess cruise in April. We visited other famous and larger ports like Osaka, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, but the charm in Shimizu's cruise port lies in the fact that it is relatively unknown to tourism, lending to more authentic experiences in a very approachable and easy to get around location.

From the cruise ship you can see most of the harbor and the activities listed below, meaning everything is walking distance. This is a beautiful thing when in the other ports you will find yourself on trains or buses a lot of the time. Shimizu is also bound to be the first stop on your Japan cruise itinerary, given its close proximity to your departure point of Yokohama port south of Tokyo, so you'll appreciate the chance to relax a bit.

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mountainous backdrop to a harbor view with marine terminal and ferris wheel
A view of Shimizu port from our cruise ship

In my opinion, this stop is one of the best for a simple day of eating, strolling and relaxation, especially after several days of traveling to get to Tokyo.

If you are like me and decide you'd like to stay local to the ship during your port day in Shimizu, I suggest following this loose round of up options for your day to make it the most enjoyable.

Start early strolling the port area and taking the 20 minute walk towards the fish market, where retailers are beginning their day. By 11 or so, be the first of many to dine along waterfront windows on some of Japan's freshest and best tuna fish. Finish the day with a fun ride on the water taxi, which stops at a local island (you may choose to get off and wander the beaches and shrines if you wish), but it also concludes its round trip route at the base of the cruise ship pier.

A perfect day in Shimizu awaits, let me share with you what to expect.

Rides and Attractions at S-Pulse Dream Plaza

The cruise ship docks at the pier adjacent to the S-Pulse Dream Plaza, a lovely area full of attractions for children, shopping, and dozens of restaurants.

Outdoor Attractions

Pikachu kids coin operated ride
Pikachu kids coin operated ride

A classic cruise port attraction, visit Shimizu's giant ferris wheel, let your kid play on diggers, or let them have a go at one of the other rides and attractions in the mall's outdoor areas.

a kid sized digger digs for blue and white balls in a ball pit
Digging for balls at S-Pulse Dream Plaza

Do Some Shopping

With stalls and boutiques for everything from food souvenirs to linens, textiles and toys, spend up to an hour shopping around the mall.

Hit the Arcades

vibrant colored claw machines in an arcade
Claw machines and arcades at S-Pulse Dream Plaza

There are claw machines everywhere! Hide your wallet, your kids will want to spend all you've got.

See a Movie

Do something a little different and catch a first-run film in Japanese at their movie theater inside the top hall of the shopping mall.

Visit Shimizu Fish Market: Kashi-No-Ichi

In my opinion, this attraction is the number one draw for any foodie or curious traveler wanting to know more about their destination. An easy 15-20 minute stroll along a paved path from the Dream Plaza, this market can easily take several hours of your day if you make the most of it.

Entrance to the kashi-no-ichi fish market
Entrance to the kashi-no-ichi fish market

Visit the Seafood Market Downstairs

Do not expect a smelly, puddle-filled market at Kashi-No-Ichi fish market. Instead, be delighted in knowing that this market is not only clean, but is a wonderful example of a retail fish market in Japan. There are ample bathrooms (with western toilets, be sure to wait for the appropriate stall), and although English is not spoken, there are plenty of opportunities to communicate in smiles with the vendors.

Dried seafood on display
Dried seafood on display

Browse the freshest of seafood displays, dried fish options, see the largest mussels and clams you've ever feasted your eyes upon, or try some of the other below offerings as well.

green wasabi root on display
Fresh wasabi root

Browse Wax Food Displays Upstairs

Before deciding which of the many restaurants to choose from for having a fresh seafood lunch, I advise visitors to browse up and down the storefronts for their wax food displays. The food, I found, came out looking almost identical to the display, so it helps for you to visualize what you are getting into !

Dine with a Waterfront View Upstairs

After browsing your options from the wax models, the best views can be found from the upstairs restaurants along the waterfront. If you don't care for seafood, there are options like this amazing pork katsu dish that my father had.

fried pork cutlet with soup and rice
Pork katsu

Be sure to get some sake with your meal, poured tableside into a cup within a box.

a man opens a green bottle of sake
Tableside sake

The box looks like it will spill over, but the volume displacement is perfectly achieved.

a box full of sake
Sake box

Even children can find something to eat. My little one loved this sushi sampler, which also included juice, a chicken nugget, french fries and ketchup!

a kids plate with sushi, french fries and a chicken nugget
Kids sushi sampler

Try the Best Tuna in the World

Shimizu is the #1 tuna fishing port in Japan. I think that's enough said, but feast your eyes on this amazing spread of tuna fish options that we got to try.

Sampler of tuna options - different cuts are different value
Sampler of tuna options - different cuts are different value

Tuna and other sushi options to go
Tuna and other sushi options to go

A beautiful tuna donburi
A beautiful tuna donburi

Drink Some Green Tea

green tea products on display in a market
Green tea products in Shimizu

I had read that 40% of Japan's green tea comes from Shizuoka, the prefecture in which Shimizu sits. Since we couldn't get on a tea tour I just had to try some while we were visiting the market.

a woman pours tea from an iron kettle
Green tea tasting in Shimizu

Luckily, there was a little stall perfect for just that. Offering up a tea set, it included a pot of green tea per person, along with your choice of a sticky rice based sweet. They even offered green tea beer!

black kettle with green tea cup and sticky rice sweet
Green tea set in Shimizu

Try Sakura Shrimp Kakiage

The Sakura ebi are famous cherry shrimps that can only be fished out of the waters of Shizuoka and Shimizu. The kakiage is a big crunchy fried thing full of the tiny shrimp, and it's delicious.

Kakiage, a fried shrimp appetizer
Kakiage, a fried shrimp appetizer

Try this local specialty at most of the upstairs restaurants.

Eat Fresh Oysters

Find the vendors selling fresh oysters and ask to try some. They'll shuck it on the spot and serve it with a squirt of lemon.

vendor selling fresh oysters

You won't get them fresher (or cheaper!) elsewhere.

three people about to eat oysters

Down the hatch!

Three people eating oysters

Take the Water Bus

The Shimizu water bus or water taxi is a convenient way to get around between the S-Pulse Dream Plaza (where the cruise ship is docked), the Kashi-No-Ichi fish market, and Miho Island, where people like to enjoy Mt. Fuji views, beach walks and shrines.

There is an inside cabin or you may sit out back for fresh air.

a man sits on a boat

Buy a ticket at the machines before boarding or pay onboard upon arriving at your stop.