Dive, delight, dangle and delve into the unique cuisine, rugged landscape and friendly atmosphere of the Izu Peninsula.
Not for the faint of heart, Izu Peninsula is a haven for hikers, divers, eco-tourists, adventurers, surfers, spelunkers and romantics. Located about 100 kilometres southwest of Tokyo in Shizuoka Prefecture, the area juts into the Pacific Ocean, sits on the juncture of several tectonic plates and is a part of the Fuji Volcanic Zone. This chain is comprised of numerous dormant volcanoes and extends from the Izu Islands to Mount Fuji in Central Honshu. This area was once active with earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions, creating the rugged landscapes and fertile forests that give Izu Peninsula its character today. It is a popular tourist destination for Tokyoites looking to escape from the concrete and bustle of the big city for a day or weekend. Travelling from Tokyo to Atami, at the north end of the peninsula, is relatively quick, taking less than an hour by shinkansen train. The peninsula is quite a large area, and travelling to different sites within the region can take upwards of two and a half hours using trains and buses; be prepared to sit back and enjoy the view!
Lush forests, jagged coastlines and shimmering waters
Being a peninsula, the entire region is surrounded by coastlines, most rugged—but some areas are blessed with sandy beaches and incredible white-capped waves. From across Suruga Bay in the southeast, photogenic Mount Fuji rises over the beach at Kumomi kaigan (雲見海岸).
This breathtaking sight is best viewed at sunrise or sunset when the skies are clearest. Kumomi kaigan’s rocky coastline is best enjoyed by boat while exploring the arched rocks jutting out from the water. Numerous other beaches offer stunning and unique views, from Iro Shrine atop the Cape Irozaki (石廊崎) and the unspoiled craggy caves of Dogashima Coast (堂ヶ島) to the sandy shores of Shirahama Beach (白浜) and intense hues of the Otago Coast (大田子 海岸). Minokakeiwa Rock (蓑掛岩) and the surrounding beaches and marine life are breath-taking. These coastlines form the borders of the Izu Peninsula Geopark, which is home to the famous waterfall tour, sea and marine caves, and dormant volcanoes such as Mount Omuro, Joyama and Kurotake. The Jogasaki coastline (城ヶ崎海岸) is one of the most photographed places on the peninsula, with suspension bridges and 10 km of hiking trails. Try paragliding from high above the peninsula, flying on the winds from the coast, or spelunking in the caves both above and below sea level.
Mt. Omuro is known for its softly curved peak
Small, scenic hot springs beckon visitors to relax
Due to its active volcanic past, the Izu Peninsula claims several onsen, or hot springs, particularly in the hilly central region in Shuzenji (修善寺). What the town lacks in ocean views it makes up for in history and serene, forested surroundings. Tokko-no-yu (独鈷の湯) sits in the middle of the Kitamata River, ready for weary travellers to soak their feet after a long hike. Shuzenji is a quaint town known for its bamboo forests, picturesque river, small shops and ryokan (traditional inns). While most travellers visit the peninsula for the natural setting, many will make a trek to Shimoda City (下田) at the southern end of the area, given its importance to Japanese modern history—it was the landing place of Commodore Perry’s “black ships” in 1854, which marked the end of Japan’s era of isolation. Today, Shimoda is famous for its beaches and onsen, and activities such as snorkelling and surfing, but visitors can still see remnants of and monuments to Perry’s historic landing around the port and along Perry Street.
But there’s much more to the area than days at the beach. Izu is home to many interesting attractions—like the Atagawa Tropical and Alligator Garden, the Toi Kinzan Gold Mine and the Izu Cactus Park. The Atagawa Garden features 29 species of alligators and other reptiles meandering through a large botanical garden. On the western coast, the Toi Kinzan Gold Mine was in operation during the Edo Period and last closed in 1965. It was once a highly productive gold mine; it produced approximately 40 tons of gold and 400 tons of silver over the years. Visitors have the opportunity to walk through the mining tunnel and sift for gold, while the shop offers foods topped with gold akes. And the Izu Cactus Park, situated next to Mount Omuro, is an indoor greenhouse with over a thousand varieties of cacti on display.
From relaxing beaches to waiting alligators, thorny cacti to iridescently coloured fish, glimmering waterfalls and verdant volcanos, untold adventures await you in Izu Peninsula.
Discover the region’s tasty eats and indulgent treats
Izu Peninsula is home to unique dishes that showcase local delicacies.
Keep cool on hot afternoons by eating tokoroten, a dish of jellifed seaweed noodles that will excite your tongue with their rm, smooth texture.
Sweet and spicy, these red bean buns with a touch of spicy wasabi are a perfect metaphor for your visit to Izu Peninsula. (Photo ©Courtesy of Kawazu-cho S.C.I.)
All photos ©静岡県観光協会 unless otherwise noted