There’s only one place you can get these…and it’s nowhere on land!

The Izu Peninsula is a popular travel destination for many domestic tourists in Japan, known for its fresh seafood, hot springs, gorgeous ocean and mountain scenery, and of course, its views of Mt. Fuji. But though it’s part of Shizuoka Prefecture, Izu is separated from many of the prefecture’s major cities by Suruga Bay, so getting there can be time-consuming. For example, traveling from Shizuoka City, which is in central Shizuoka, to the sleepy port of Toi on the Izu Peninsula’s west coast, takes an hour and 42 minutes by car and nearly three hours by train.

There is, however, a faster way to go. The Suruga Bay Ferry crosses Suruga Bay between Shimizu Port on the coastal edge of Shizuoka City to Toi Port in just 75 minutes, and cars can be driven right onto the ferry, so it’s an easy way for those living in central Japan and western Shizuoka to visit the Izu Peninsula.

Unfortunately, despite being based in Shizuoka, our Japanese-language reporter Maro never really gets chance to board the ferry because life too often gets in the way of travel. But the other day when she heard that there are super rare Shizuoka food souvenirs that only ferry riders can buy…Well, she just had to make the trip, didn’t she? For journalism, of course.

Since the Suruga Bay ferries aren’t cruise ships or tourists boats, they don’t have any amusement facilities to entertain yourself with during the crossing, but what they do have are rows of souvenir shops. When Maro stopped in, there weren’t very many people shopping, which was a shame because they were missing out on these two beauties:

Souvenirs you can’t buy anywhere on land! They’re both items made by famous Shizuoka companies in collaboration with Suruga Bay Ferries, so they’re only available for purchase on board.

The first is Suruga Bay Gelato (400 yen [US$2.64]) made by Nanaya, a Japanese tea specialty shop, which also has a store in the Aoyama neighborhood of Tokyo.

Nanaya is famous for making “the world’s richest matcha gelato” as well as matcha chocolates with the strongest green tea flavor possible. This gelato, however, is not matcha-flavored and is instead “Salted Milk” flavored, which is presumably a leveled-up version of the thick, creamy, sweet flavor “milk” ice cream is famous for.

The color is the main draw, however. It’s been dyed a beautiful powder blue color that represents the waters of Suruga Bay by using powdered butterfly pea flowers.

The Salted Milk flavor was really refreshing, although it was slightly incongruous with the color of the gelato. It would be lovely to eat on deck as you feel the ocean breeze on your skin and watch the water flow by. Unfortunately it was raining when Maro went, so she didn’t get to have that experience.

The other super rare souvenir is a baumkuchen cake called “223 Baum” (1,080 yen), which is made by Yataro Group, a sweets and bread company.

“223” is the number of the ferry’s route, and in this case it’s supposed to be read “fu-ji-san”, which is the Japanese name for Mt. Fuji. Since you can see Mt. Fuji from the deck of the boat on nice-weather days, Maro found this to be a very clever name with lots of nuance.

The top of the baumkuchen was coated in a purple-blue jelly-like coating colored with butterfly peas. The jelly itself had a sourness to it, so it was the perfect way to draw out the sweetness of the baumkuchen.

The cake itself also had the signature moistness of Yataro Group’s baumkuchen and was, as always, delicious. Since it came accented by the butterfly pea jelly, Maro thought she liked it more than most baumkuchen you can find on the market!

These kinds of super local souvenirs can be hit or miss, but these two are definitely hits. How could they not be, when made by such well-respected companies? It’s almost a shame that they’re only available aboard the ferry, but on the flip side, if you bring these home from your trip, you’re sure to impress your friends, family, and coworkers, since they’re super rare products from very famous companies. Even Shizuoka locals will fawn over your special souvenirs!

By the way, Toi has a pretty cool tourist attraction known as the Toi Gold Mine, where Maro got lucky and struck gold…So it’s worth visiting the town whether you take the ferry or not!

Related: Suruga Bay Ferries
Images © SoraNews24

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