Port of Shimizu
Review and History

The Port of Shimizu lies at the head of the Suruga Bay on Japan’s east central coast in Shizuoka Prefecture. In 2005, it became an administrative ward of the city of Shizuoka. A busy port since the early 16th Century, the Port of Shimizu is one of Japan’s biggest deep-sea fishing centers and a major industrial area. Local industries produce canned goods, ships, musical instruments, motorcycles, and synthetic textiles. The Port of Shimizu is also home to several petroleum and aluminum refineries. In 2007, the Port of Shimizu was home to more than 240 thousand people.

The Port of Shimizu is famous for its Japanese mandarin oranges, and there are many green tea farms in the mountains surrounding the city. The port is the country’s leading tuna landing fishing port. The waterfront is an industrial area with fish factories; however, the industry has fallen on hard times as of late.

Port History

The Port of Shimizu has had a wonderful natural port since pre-history. Emperor Sainei ordered the construction of warships there in the 7th Century and sent them to support Korea’s Kingdom of Paekche. In 1585, Tokugawa Ieyasu became the first feudal lord of the prefecture and immediately stationed a navy ship in the Port of Shimizu.

Protected by a sandspit, the harbor has encouraged the development of the Port of Shimizu as a land, sea, and naval hub. Three stations on the T?kaid? route to the Port of Tokyo were located within the Port of Shimizu during the Edo period, bringing much prosperity to the port. Becoming Shogun in 1603 and beginning the Edo period, Tokugawa made the Port of Shimizu a naval transport center in 1605. The Shogunate then authorized 42 shipping agencies to operate there in 1615. In 1717, the Shogunate build 5.5 thousand square meters of rice granaries at the Port of Shimizu.

By the early 19th Century, the Port of Shimizu thrived with 39 shipping agents, 30 lodges, and a fish market. After the arrival of Admiral Perry and the opening of Yokohama Port to foreign trade, plans to open the Port of Shimizu were undertaken. In 1861, the British surveyed the harbor.

In 1963, the first shipment of tea from the Port of Shimizu departed for the Port of Yokohama. In 1876, liner services began between the Port of Shimizu and Tokyo. By 1879 when President Ulysses S. Grant visited the Port of Shimizu, almost 18 thousand square meters of wharf was completed.

In 1899, the Port of Shimizu was designated an open port. In 1904, the first shipment of mandarin oranges were exported to the United States, and the first green tea exports went to the Port of Seattle, Washington, in 1906. By 1910, the Port of Shimizu was shipping more green tea than the Port of Yokohama. In 1911, the Port of Shimizu ranked 5th in Japanese exports and 9th in imports. In 1912, the oldest reinforced concrete lighthouse was completed at Miho Peninsula.

In 1914, when the First World War began, the Port of Shimizu reclaimed about 169 thousand square meters of land and sent the first exports of salt out of the port. By 1918, the Port of Shimizu was exporting 80% of all Japanese green tea, and the port began to export soybean. In 1921, liner service was established between the Port of Shimizu and Korea. The port began to import timber from the Soviet Union in 1922 and from the United States in 1924. Shizuoka Prefecture built a 410-thousand-square-meter floating timber yard in Shimizu Harbor in 1927.

The Shimizu Port and Harbor Bureau was established in 1929. The same year, the 800-meter-long Hinode Pier was opened with the ability to serve one 20 thousand DWT and two three thousand DWT ships at the same time. In 1930, the Port of Shimizu began to import timber from Southeast Asia. An earthquake caused severe damage to the port’s wharf that year. Southeast Asia and North Korean liners began to make regular calls at the Port of Shimizu in 1934 when direct service was established Yokohama. In 1935, part of the wharf collapsed during the Otani Earthquake. In 1938, the first liner called from the Port of Tianjin, China.

World War II began in 1939, and Nippon Light Metals Company started making aluminum in the Port of Shimizu for Japanese aircraft. The same year, Toa Fuel Company began oil refining operations there. By the time the US was engaged in the Pacific War in 1941, companies like Hitachi and Nippon Steel Pipe were involved in military business. In 1945, the Port of Shimizu was seriously damaged by air raids.

After the war ended, the first international trading ship, the Sherman O. Forton, arrived at the Port of Shimizu carrying relief supplies. In 1947, the Allies designated the Port of Shimizu as one of 12 trading ports, and reconstruction of the devastated port facilities was undertaken. 

In 1952, the Port of Shimizu was designated a Harbor of Special Importance playing a role in increasing foreign trade. The coal dock was finished in 1959, but the Great Chile Earthquake created serious damage in 1960.

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