A resort area rich in hot springs, ocean views and verdant greenery.
Jutting into the Pacific Ocean, with Sagami Bay to the east and Suruga Bay to the west, the Izu Peninsula is an attractive resort area easily reached from Tokyo. With green, undulating hills, numerous hot springs, sunny seaside resorts and plentiful accommodations, the peninsula has much to offer the traveler in search of rest and relaxation.
The easiest way to reach Izu from Tokyo is by train, with the JR Tokaido Line stations of Atami, Mishima and Numazu serving as the jumping off point for explorations of the peninsula. Along the east coast, Atami is a sprawling hot spring resort whose main attraction, apart from its mineral baths, is the MOA Art Museum with its fine collection of Japanese art.
Ito and Kawazu offer more spas, while further down the coast Shimoda is a historic town famous as the place where Townsend Harris, America’s first diplomatic representative to Japan, lived for more than two years. Up the west coast, the Margaret Line is a dramatic coastal route between Minami Izu and Matsuzaki, a charming port with distinctive buildings, while further up the bay, Heda is a pretty fishing village with magnificent views of Mt. Fuji.
One of the highlights of central Izu is Kawazu Nanadaru, a series of seven waterfalls in a scenic gorge, linked by an hour long trail. For those who want a longer hike, there is a 5 hour 30 minute walking course between the seven falls and Joren Falls, 10 minutes by bus from the spa resort of Yugashima, located in a lush river valley.
If you don’t feel like climbing the mountain, there’s still plenty to do on the Shizuoka side of Japan’s highest peak.
If climbing Japan’s highest mountain is not for you, or if your visit to the area falls outside the climbing season, plenty of other attractions await you on the Shizuoka side of Mt. Fuji.
From Asagiri Heights there are splendid views of Mt. Fuji. Visit, too, Shiraito Falls, whose waters cascade from a height of 20 meters and look like white thread. For camping and fishing, Lake Higashiyama on the southern outskirts of the city of Gotemba is an excellent choice, while Lake Tanuki is another pleasant setting for boating, hiking, cycling and camping with a view of Mt. Fuji in the background.
For skiing or skating against a backdrop of Fuji, head for the open-air skating rink at Nippon Land HOW Amusement Park and Snow Park Yeti on the south eastern slope of Mt. Fuji.
A Fuji-area attraction of another sort altogether is the the Fuji Safari Park on the southeastern slope of the mountain. The Bernard Buffet Museum in the town of Nagaizumi, about 20 minutes by shuttle bus from JR Mishima Station, contains 1,000 works by this modern French artist.
Mecca for marine sports, musical instruments and more.
Lake Hamana is the largest lake on Japan’s Pacific Coast side. A lagoon connected to the sea by a narrow inlet, it is blessed with beautiful scenery and is the center of many leisure and recreational activities centering on marine sports.
Kanzanji Spa, located on its shores, is a pleasant place to spend some time, and the nearby Flower Park is one of the largest in the country. A scheduled bus departs each day from the spa, taking passengers on a Lake Hamana Panorama Course. Sights include the Flower Park and the Hamamatsu Festival Pavillion, with a stop for lunch along the way. The trip takes 6 hours, costs 5,000 yen and ends up at JR Hamamatsu Station.
Hamamatsu is a former castle town and post station on the Tokaido that now thrives as one of Japan’s most successful technopolises, building on the area’s traditional manufacturing strengths, research facilities and excellent transport links. The region is noted for the production of motor cycles, musical instruments and marine leisure craft.
Attractions include Hamamatsu Castle, founded in 1570 by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the Hamamatsu Municipal Musical Instrument Museum and the Hamamatsu Fruit Park. At the latter you can find such tropical delicacies as durian and papaya as well as orchards of cherries, kiwi fruit, plums and persimmons. Also See: Hamanako, Hamamatsu City