Located in the eastern part of the Shizuoka prefecture and to the south west of Tokyo in Japan, from whence it is easy to reach the Izu peninsula, this forms part of the National Park of Fuji, Hakone and Izu.
Its proximity to Tokyo has resulted in it becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan.
People who live in Tokyo are attracted by the beauty of the coast line, the numerous onsen, (hot springs) and the spectacular mountain scenery inland.
The eastern part of the peninsula is more heavily developed and is home to large cities such as Atami and Ito.
The southern and western parts are less well known but are even more famous for their rocky coast-lines.
This is an old spa town that is located on the slopes of a volcanic caldera, hence the wealth of thermal springs. There is documentary evidence attesting to the fact that this area was being frequented as far back as the 8th century because of its thermal springs.
During the Kamakura period, it was often visited by the Minamoto and Hojo clans.
The picturesque Atami castle is of fairly recent construction but it does provide a wonderful panorama of the city with splendid displays of the famous cherry blossom in spring time.
In Atami you can also visit the interesting Museum of Art (MOA) which houses a large collection of Japanese and Asiatic art that includes some famous national treasures.
Ito is another interesting place both for its thermal springs and for the areas surrounding it. In the town itself there are many historic buildings such as the Tokaikan, an ancient inn that is now open to the public in the form of a museum.
Taking a 30 minutes journey by bus you can visit the Ikeda museum with paintings by European masters such as Matisse, Picasso and Chagall.
Also not far from Ito is Mount Omuro, an extinct volcano that has a perfectly semi-spherical shape which can be reached via a chair-lift.
A 35 minutes journey by bus from Izu is the cactus park with 1500 species of cactus and other succulents.
Just 10km to the south of Ito lies the breath-taking rocky coast line of Kadowakizaki which is a popular destination for hikers and a must for anybody who is a lover of beautiful scenery.
Shujenzi which is nestled in the hilly centre of the peninsula is the site of one of the oldest onsen in Japan and also of a famous temple, the Shuzenji which was founded by Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism in Japan. The temple is actually now a Zen temple.
Is located to the south east and is famous for its 7 waterfalls of differing heights in a mountain close to the town. Along the path of the waterfalls, there are statues that represent Kawabata’s novel, The Dancing Girl of Izu (Izu no Odoriko) which was set in this area.
Situated at the southern tip of the peninsula, this beautiful seaside town is famous because it is the port where, in 1854, the so-called “Black Ships” of the American, Commodore Perry, arrived with the intention of forcing Japan to open her ports to international trade with the United States.
This historical event which was humiliating for the Japanese at the time, has now given birth to a tourist attraction which is remembered in the city by the presence in the port of replica ships from Perry’s time and is even celebrated with a festival about the black ships which is held here in May each year.
[ Aug.2014 ] From the town of Atami, where we visited with my family, we could see the Atami Castle on the hill. It seemed a fine castle from afar, but we were surprised when…
[ Dec.2013 ] We originally planned to go to Jogasaki from Izu Atagawa in Japan, but because we noticed a leaflet of the silver studio “A&M”, we changed our tickets for Izu Kogen, while the…
[ Aug.2014 ] A glass was in a square wooden measuring cup which was on a small plate. She poured the local sake generously. The sake flooded out of the glass to the cooden cup…
[ Aug.2014 ] This is a photo of open-air bath belonging to our room in the ryokan (Japanese style hotel). It is a hot spring bath, but because of the noise problem, it was the…