Things to Do Around Japan’s Beautiful Izu Peninsula
A short journey from the major metropolis of Tokyo, Izu is the perfect quick getaway from the capital. Surrounded with dramatic coastline and towering mountains through the center, this area has some of the most beautiful and underrated scenery in Japan. Here are some incredible things to see while you're travelling around the region.
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A picturesque coastal town straddling the Izu Peninsula, getting to Atami from Tokyo takes just over 40 minutes by bullet train. You might not associate the area around Tokyo with golden beaches and palm trees, but you'll find both however at Atami. Perfect for a getaway in the summer, the mountains nearby also offer some great hikes if you feel the need to venture into nature. Atami is also a popular onsen town, well known for its natural authentic hot springs dotted around the town.
Ryugu Sea Cave
You'll find some beautiful caves along the coast of Izu, but none quite as picture-perfect as Ryugu Sea Cave. The incredible land-formation here was created by millions of years of erosion, which looking at it from above appears to be a heart shape, making the cave popular among couples. There's also a beautiful hidden beach inside the cave and a number of picturesque beaches in the area nearby.
The oldest shrine on the Izu Peninsula, Shirahama Shrine is said to date back to 2400 years ago. While the temple itself is beautiful and enshrouded in history, it's most popular for the torii gate located at the top of a rock on the coast, next to one of the most beautiful beaches in the area. A short ten-minute drive from Shimoda, Shirahama is a popular spot for viewing the sunrise due to its location facing eastward.
Catch a Glimpse of Mt Fuji
With the peninsula located in the shadow of the iconic peak, getting a view of Mt Fuji from the west coast of Izu is a high possibility, as long as the weather is fair. Head to points along the coast at Numazu such as Cape Ose for a clear view of the mountain. It's often visible from other points further down the coast too such as at Koganezaki Park and Lover's Cape.
Settled at the tip of the peninsula, the picturesque port city of Shimoda with its beautiful clear waters and jagged mountain peaks is one of the most beautiful spots in the region. Apart from the stunning scenery and a number of attractive white beaches, Shimoda is also known for having a strong part in Japan's recent history. As the gateway to Tokyo, Shimoda was the first place opened to trade after centuries of Japan being closed off to foreigners.
Hopping Around the Izu Islands
Stretching out from the Izu Peninsula, you'll find a number of beautiful tropical islands that hardly see anywhere near enough tourists as they deserve. The islands can also be reached from Tokyo, but are much closer to Izu and the port city of Shimoda which has regular ferries traversing around them. The closest island of Toshima takes under two hours to reach, while the outlying islands such as Hachijojima are easier to just fly to, being quite a distance away.
With its close proximity to Tokyo, Izu should by rights be a hugely popular destination for tourists wanting to spend a few days away from the cloying capital. However most tend to flock to other more famous sites such as closer to Mt Fuji and Yamanashi, along with the ever popular temple district of Nikko. If you're looking to spend a little longer around this beautiful area, consider renting a bicycle and riding around the whole peninsula. It can easily be done in a week including regular stops at all the popular spots along the way.