In recent years, theater fans and artists here and abroad have increasingly been wakening up to the fact that cherry blossoms aren't the only spring bounty in Japan.

That's because, thanks to the annual World Theatre Festival Shizuoka under Mt. Fuji, the coastal city of Shizuoka midway between Tokyo and Nagoya also beckons with a wealth of top-class performing arts presented there and in the beautiful surrounding countryside of Shizuoka Prefecture to coincide with the slew of national holidays known as Golden Week.

Now in its 10th year, the festival organized by Satoshi Miyagi, the artistic director of Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (SPAC), will this time include top artists from eight countries. Between them, they will present seven varied programs between April 29 and May 8 at venues around the city — including SPAC's Shizuoka Arts Theatre and a stage specially built in the central Sumpujo Park — as well as at SPAC's Udo open-air theater in the rolling hills of Nihondaira Park.