Close to the centre of Shizuoka City, Gokoku-jinja is an interesting Shinto shrine in an attractive forest setting.
To reach the main part of the grounds, you walk first through some peaceful forest, where you'll find paths lined with lanterns, a simple side shrine, and a pond that reflects the trees around it on a clear day.
Cross the bridge from the forest and you see the long approach to the impressive main hall, framed by tall trees behind it. Before you go to the hall, take a detour to the left and you'll find a statue on a high pedestal, and an unusual modern sculpture.
There are also some regular events held at the shrine: on the day I visited, there was a flower festival, with charming displays and dioramas set up by local growers.
Walk round the gate (only the gods are allowed to walk through), past the imposing guardian lions, and you come to the main hall. There are prayer-boards and fortune-slips to one side, a large taiko drum on the other.
It's a good place to escape from the busy city: take in the atmosphere, make a prayer, find some peace.