20 Jun 2019 in Just Relax
The destination of choice if you’re looking for cool climes, scenic coastlines and beaches aplenty!
Just two hours south-west of Tokyo by train or car, the Izu Peninsula is a rugged area of breathtaking natural beauty. Its coastline is dotted with dramatic rock formations, craggy capes and pristine beaches.
What’s more, the area is famed for its world-class hot spring baths.
Ito, your Izu base
Easily accessible from Tokyo, the town of Ito is a traditional fishing port on the east coast of the peninsula. Thanks to its rail and road links, it makes the perfect base for exploring Izu.
Handily situated between the station and the center, Hoshino Resorts KAI Ito is a great option if you’re looking for modern comfort combined with traditional Japanese hospitality. The ryokan was fully refurbished at the end of 2018 and reimagined to maximize the relaxation experience for guests.
Wander around the expansive garden, soak your feet in the hot spring foot bath, or chill in the 20-metre outdoor pool.
And, of course, Ito’s famed onsen are a must. Just take your pick from the ryokan’s spacious indoor tub in hinoki wood or the outdoor bathing pond in natural rock.
Beaches for every activity
From Hoshino Resorts KAI Ito, you’re within easy reach of numerous beaches. Ito has its own Orange Beach, characterized by volcanic sand and set in a bay where the water warms up quickly. It’s handy for a cooling dip and a lie-back in the sun, but the best beaches are further south.
Around an hour by car from Ito, Shirahama beach is a picture-book expanse of white sand extending almost a kilometre along the coast, with a red Tori gate perched atop a nearby rock. The water is crystal clear, with waves making it a popular surfing spot.
Surfers are even better served further south, where Shimoda provides the most reliable waves.
For world-class snorkelling, head to Hirizo beach. Set among spectacular rugged cliffs, this stony beach can only be accessed via a 5-minute ferry ride and has no facilities on site, so make sure you take everything you need.
You’ll be rewarded by emerald green waters and shoals of brightly-coloured fish of all shapes and sizes flitting energetically among the rocky outcrops.
One of the joys of Izu is its stunning coastline, a collection of craggy cliffs and windswept landscapes offering sweeping vistas onto far-off islands and fishing boats.
Just 20 minutes by car or train from Hoshino Resorts KAI Ito, the Jogasaki coast is a great spot to explore Izu’s hugely varied terrain. Here, a well-marked trail hugs the coast for around 6 miles. Even a short stroll around the Kadowakizaki Suspension Bridge will give you a flavour of the region as you clamber over dark volcanic rocks, climb a lighthouse, and cross a 23m-deep gorge on the bridge.
Hikers can enjoy the quieter paths further south, where the ocean has eroded the cliff face into long columns resembling organ pipes and neat hexagonal shapes.
On the peninsula’s southern tip, Cape Irozaki is another slice of raw coastal wilderness. A path leads to the very tip of the cape, from where there are spectacular views of the jagged coastline and the unsettled ocean, dotted with tiny islands as far as the eye can see.
There are more walking trails further east at Cape Tarai, and the nearby Ryugu-Kutsu is a well-known local “power spot”, where crashing waves have carved out a heart shape in the ceiling of a cave.
On Izu’s west coast – which frequently offers picture-postcard views of Mt. Fuji – Dogashima is an area where the ocean has sculpted out a dramatic network of caves. Take a boat trip to tunnel into Tensodo Cave, where sunlight spectacularly pierces through a naturally-eroded skylight.
Nearby, the Futo Coast boasts a phenomenon known as magmatic dikes, a series of impressive rocky mounds formed by solidifying magma.
If you’re visiting with children, how about taking a chair lift to the top of the photogenic volcano Omuroyama?
Walking along its crater, you’ll have stunning views of Mt. Fuji and Izu Oshima Island.
Or hiking the kilometer-long 7-waterfall trail along the Kawazu river?
And, if you’re staying in Ito in August, make a date with the Anjin Festival. What better climax to your stay than a pyrotechnic extravaganza featuring some 10,000 fireworks exploding over the grandiose Ito coastline?