A little way west of central Shizuoka city, Mariko is an attractive, peaceful district, a nice place to take a break from the bustle of the city. Starting at Sumpu Takumi Shuku craft centre and finishing at Seigan-ji temple (or the other way round), Mariko-no-Sato Nature Walk is what it sounds like, an unchallenging walk over a thickly forested hill.
It's a little over a kilometre long, so will take about forty minutes if, like me, you go at a relaxing pace, enjoy the scenery and take some rests. There are pink blazes to follow so you don't get lost, and at the top of the hill you'll find what little remains of Mariko Castle, some low-key bare earthen fortifications.
It's good to be surrounded by nature, with only the birdsong and rustling of the trees to be heard, a more pleasant way than the busy main road to explore the area.
From JR Shizuoka station, take a bus on the Chubu-Kokudo route, and get off after about 25 minutes at the Togeppo Sumpu Takumi-Shuku Iriguchi stop. The start of the trail is a few minutes' walk from the bus stop.
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I came to Japan from Manchester, England in summer 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I`m not working I write satire at www.iothern.blogspot.com and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check my youtube channel `CunningPunster` for a taste.