The Izu Peninsula   伊豆半島

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Following the Dancing Girl of Izu

Walking in the footsteps of Yasunari Kawabata from onsen to onsen, rediscover the charm of the Meiji and Taisho eras: Welcome to the Izu Peninsula.

The Izu Peninsula is located on the seaside of Hakone, a resort for the Japanese who prefer the sea to the mountains, less than an hour from Tokyo by Shinkansen. We can trace its popularity back to the Meiji period, as illustrated by Yasunari Kawabata in The Dancing Girl of Izu. The charm of the peninsula is owed to a succession of stations, both thermal and seaside, where the onsen are linked along the coast and are proud to have served as background to Kawabata's short story.

Between Beaches and Hot Springs

Most tourists will be focused on the eastern side, closest to Tokyo and best served by the train. Atami to Shimoda, the southern tip of the peninsula is a succession of beaches and spas are as renowned as those of Kawazu.

In Kawazu, tourists come especially for the hot springs, but also for its cherry trees that bloom early in February, the first of the Kanto region. Going further up on the inside, we can continue to the temple of Shuzenji or the Seven Waterfalls.

But it is Shimoda which remains the largest resort of Izu. You will also find Shirahama beach, one of the most famous of Japan. The ideal place to try surfing. It is also here that Commodore Perry landed in 1853. The place became particularly fashionable when Emperor Meiji himself built a resort, the Suzaki Villa, still used today.

You may also want to visit the other imperial villa, Numazu. The place is a curious mix of Japanese architecture and Western novelties. This particular scene shows the changes of the modernization of Meiji. Finally, the last point of interest in Shimoda is its walks along the jagged volcanic coast from Toji up to the mountain caps of Irozaki and Tarai.

For lovers of the sea

For visitors in search of tranquility, it is better to cross the peninsula to the west coast, which offers a glorious view of Mount Fuji and the spectacle of an often raw and untouched coastline.

The best way to admire the volcanic coastline is by a small cruise leaving from Dogashima, which also leads to a sea cave unbeknownst to many, but with an enchanting light worth seeing. You can also visit the old gold mines of Toi, which contains the largest gold bar, very easy to monitor because of its weight of 250 kilos.

The trip to Izu would still not be complete without trying some of the sushi, particularly famous. Thus you can find in a corner, completely unknown but delicious restaurants, which also offer other specialties such as shells or Ise lobster.

The hot springs in a historic setting, sandy beaches and rich nature less affected than elsewhere. All these are all good reasons to visit the Izu Peninsula, away from the more traditional tours.

Enjoy a hike in Izu Peninsula with Voyagin.

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