A Guide to Izu Penisula: Top Things to Do

A Guide to Izu Penisula: Top Things to Do

There’s plenty to discover right outside Tokyo when you go off the beaten path with this Izu Peninsula Itinerary!

Blessed with rugged coastlines, hot springs and a jaw-dropping mountain interior, Izu peninsula is wholly unique in a way that cannot be compared to the likes of any other place in Japan.

That is to say, if you’re considering leaving behind the city of skyscrapers behind, perhaps take a trip down this way south of Tokyo! Thanks to the way submarine volcanoes are constantly changing the landscape of this area, with every visit, there’s always something new to discover.

1. Visit all seven of Kawazu’s waterfalls in one place

Image credit: JNTO

Witness an impressive feat of nature!; experience the mystic appeal of Kawazu Nanadaru (The Seven Waterfalls of Kawazu) for yourself as you follow Kawazu river upstream. A 2-hour hike through along a serene river trail brings you past waterfalls of varying shapes and sizes. Every each of them is individually named, and you can get a special card stamped with one of the seven gods of luck in a stamp rally.

Along the way, you’ll also find bronze statues of a student and a dancer, based off a popular local story titled “The dancer of Izu”. Don’t forget to take a relaxing soak in Nanadaru Onsen Resort after to reward your muscles after a hard day’s trek.

2. Indulge in local cuisine

Image credit: Wally Gobetz

Of course, after travelling all the way to Japan, there’s no way you can leave without having sashimi! Surrounded by the sea, there’s no shortage of the freshest seafood around. Shimoda, in particular, is well known for kinmedai, a Japanese red snapper. As it boasts an abundance of kinmedai, it naturally has plenty of cooking styles to serve up this delicacy in a way that will have you calling for seconds and thirds.

Izu Peninsula is also famous for producing wasabi. You might be surprised to know that the brighten green wasabi that we’re used to are actually regular horseradish, and not the real deal, as Japanese horseradish is incredibly difficult to grow. Roll up your sleeves and be prepared for a workout when you order wasabi dishes though, as they’ll most likely bring you the entire root and grater. 

3. Walk through the Ryugu Sea Cave

Image credit: Inunami

Along the south of Izu Peninsula are plenty of white beaches and places for fun water activities, but the real treasure lies in the sea caves that dot the coastline. The most notable one is Ryugu Kutsu, also known as the Dragon’s Palace. This sea cave is every bit as impressive as it sounds!

From the moment you step into the cave, it’s as though you’ve entered into a whole new world. Sunlight beams down from the caved-in ceiling while the clear, cool seawater laps at the bottom of the cave. However, if you view the cave from the rocky path above, you’ll realise that the outline of the cave looks like a heart!

4. Ring the Love Call Bell at Koibito Misaki

things to do in izu peninsula

Image credit: Ikidane NIppon

If you’re looking for a romantic spot to view the expanse of Suruga Bay and Mount Fuji, head on over to Koibito Misaki. Aptly named Lover’s Cape, this scenic spot is rather famous with locals due to folklore about couples reconfirming their love by a Love Call Bell that’s mounted at the peak.

A boardwalk connects the entrance to the peak of Koibito Misaki, offering a clear and picturesque view of the bay and horizon. Mount Fuji is visible across the bay, making for the perfect backdrop to your photos. It’s particularly surreal during sunset as the orange glow colours the ocean. However, the path is restricted after 5pm as there are no lights along the path, so do be back before sundown!

5. Get up close with dolphins at the Shimoda Aquarium

Image credit: Minamitacchi

This dome aquarium showcases one of the most beautiful coastlines of Japan and offers one of the most unique aquarium experience in (and we dare say it) the world! Home to some of the most stunning sea life you’ll ever witness, this opportunity is just too good to pass by.

Outdoor shows include Sea Stage Dolphin Show and Seal Show amongst other feeding plans, while indoor attractions include The Sea Palace Biological Hall that’s bound to leave you mesmerised. The best part though has to be being able to swim alongside dolphins and interact with them! For the shyer ones, you can get closer to them on a boat too.

6. View Izu Peninsula from atop a volcano

Image credit: Japan Guide

Don’t worry! This volcano’s long extinct so there’s no need to fear a sudden eruption. Standing at 580m tall, Mount Omuro is every bit impressive in real life as it does in photos! It resembles an inverted ricebowl, a beautiful silhoutte that’s not commonly seen.

A short chairlift brings you to its crater where you can take in the panoramic view of Mount Fuji, Oshima Island and the rest of Izu Peninsula. If you’re particularly ambitious, why not shoot arrows in the crater, or perhaps paragliding down the side of the volcano? That’s definitely something to brag to your friends back home about!

7. Soak in an onsen

Image credit: Japan Guide

Just like next door neighbour Hakone, the entire peninsula is blesed with natural hot springs! From Atami to Shuzenji to Dogashima, you’ll find no shortage of hot springs, and the best part is the geothermal well the peninsula sits ontop of which ensures that all the water is directly pumped from the ground, and not redirected from elsewhere. 

Many inns and hotels come with an onsen bath, so do take advantage of those and give your mind and body a good unwinding! Sawada Koen Rotemburo Onsen, in particular, stands on the edge of the cliff and is the onsen closest to the ocean! With open-air baths that offer an uninterrupted view of Suruga Bay, there’s probably no better way to end the day.

8. Witness the early blossoming of sakura

things to do in izu peninsula

Image credit: JNTO

While most of Japan has to wait till mid-March or later to witness the blooming cherry blossoms, you can enjoy them from as early as February in Izu Peninsula! Kawazuzakura – the breed of cherry blossoms native to Kawazu – line the banks of the Kawazu river, and is a sight to behold.

The Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival is also held in celebration of the early blossoming and is incredibly popular with visitors hoping to see the end of winter melt away with the colours of spring. There are also plenty of stalls selling food and drinks, and even more selling adorable knick knacks for you to bring home as souvenirs!

We dare say Izu Peninsula would soon become the new hotspot of Japan, so do make a trip down before the tourist crowds start flooding in.

Also read: Top 10 Water Activities to Do in Jeju to Stay Cool in the Summer

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Rainer Cheung

Motivated out of bed solely by the prospects of food, travel, or her dog's incessant pawing.

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