Sandy beaches and warm weather keep people coming year round to the Izu Peninsula, a popular resort area located an hour and 40 minutes southwest of Tokyo by the Odoriko Limited Express. The peninsula is also well known for its many hot springs, especially those along the coast whose open-air baths boast magnificent views of the Pacific. Japan's opening to the world began here in 1854 with the arrival of Commodore Perry and his Black Ships, so Izu also offers a unique look back on history. This resort area situated conveniently near Tokyo has a lot to offer.
This white sandy beach with sparkling emerald waters is located on the south side of the peninsula. A portion of the beach is protected by a breakwater, allowing for a relaxing swim even when the seas are rough. This peaceful beach is popular among families and couples and features a boardwalk for a comfortable oceanfront stroll in the sea air. Shirahama Chuo Beach has been selected as one of Japan's top 88 beaches and makes for a great spot to spend a lazy day in the sun.
(Take the Izu Kyuko Line from Ito Station to Izukyu-Shimoda Station, then the bus to the Furune.)
Jogasaki makes up part of the eastern coast of the Izu Peninsula and is a fantastic example of a rias, or sawtooth coast. The highlights of the area are the jagged cliffs stretching along the sea, and a trail following the coast gives hikers a splendid view. Another must-see attraction is the suspension bridge that spans the cliffs at Kadowakizaki Point whose 23 meter height thrills all who cross it. A pleasant 40 minute walk from the bridge will bring you to Izu Ocean Park, which is a very popular place to catch a glimpse of wild birds and seasonal flowers or even try your hand at snorkeling or scuba diving in the Pacific Ocean's deep blue waters.
(30 minutes on foot from Jogasaki Kaigan Station, accessible from Ito Station on the Izu Kyuko Line.)
On the southeast tip of the Izu Peninsula lies Shimoda, a charming port city that enjoys comfortable weather year-round with an average temperature of 17°C. Shimoda is also home to a rich history as the city where Japan's opening to the world began. Noted for the refreshing sea air of the Pacific, the area is dotted with hot spring inns where you can enjoy open-air and scenic baths with gorgeous views. Shimoda is also widely known as the city where Commodore Perry and his Black Ships made their landfall and fascinating historical landmarks are plentiful throughout the city.
(Take the Izu Kyuko Line from Ito Station to Izukyu Shimoda Station.)
This botanical garden has remained a popular Izu area attraction for more than 50 years and with good reason. Making use of the heat of the area's natural spring water, this park raises and breeds alligator species from around the world that teeter on the brink of extinction. Many other exotic creatures inhabit this park, such as the lesser panda, giant tortoise and flamingo. Also boasting an abundance of vividly colored tropical plants and incense, this garden is a real treat to behold.
(1 minute on foot from Izu Atagawa Station, accessible on the Izu Kyuko Line from Ito Station.)
Main sales location: Izukyu Shimoda Station
This is a sumptuous bento. Each comes with a whole horned turban (a mollusk), grilled in its shell, and additional slices of horned turban are placed on rice cooked in hijiki seaweed and dashi broth.