While no trip to Japan is complete without a visit to the bustling city of Tokyo or a traditional escape to Kyoto, coastal Japan offers a beautiful onsen (the Japanese word for hot spring) retreat. On our most recent journey to Japan, we took a scenic train down the Izu Peninsula and enjoyed an amazing onsen experience at a traditional Japanese Inn. We enjoyed soaking in the hot baths and hiking the beautiful Jogasaki coast.
Travel the Izu Peninsula by Train
The Superview Odoriko Train from Tokyo to Izu-Kogen provides a beautifully smooth ride aboard a nice train with large windows for enjoying the wonderful views. The train offers a “green car” first-class compartment with a 2×1 seating configuration or a normal car with 2×2 seats. We opted for the green car on our outbound journey but didn’t find the bigger seats to be worth the price tag. The windows in the regular train cars were actually much taller than the green cars, making the views much better.
Where to stay in the Izu Peninsula
Immerse Yourself in Traditional Japanese Culture at Abba Izu
From the moment we arrived at Abba Izu Resort, we felt spoiled. The service was very friendly and thorough. After we swapped our shoes out for rubber house slippers, our hosts provided a welcome snack, a tour of the facilities, and explained the basic features of our room. We were advised to wear our traditional robes to the complimentary tea time and while we were embarrassed that we did not know how to tie them properly, the staff quickly helped us to adjust our bows.
Dinner was another highlight of our stay. We chose the French menu one night and Japanese the second. Each meal was a long adventure of about ten tasting courses served in a variety of artsy presentations. The food was fresh, flavorful, strange, and satisfying. As if the comprehensive dinner and breakfast offerings were not enough, the inn also offers a complimentary ice cream snack machine in the lobby to help satisfy your sweet tooth.
The main draw of the peninsula is hot spring baths aka onsens. The hotel offers rooms with private onsen, large public onsens, and shared private onsens. The water is hot and relaxing.
Must Do in the Izu Peninsula
Hike the Jogasaki Coast
Beautiful coastal walking trails lead from Futo Station to the Yawatano Fishing Port near Abba Izu Resort. The trails run along the rocky coastline and feature two large suspension bridges, a temple, ruins, a cemetery, and stunning sea views. Pro Tip: Don’t rely on the bus stations for your return trip without some advanced planning. The area is remote, and the buses only run a couple of times per day. After walking miles farther than intended, we ended up taking the train one stop and calling our hotel to pick us up!
Soak in an Onsen
Whether you stay at the Abba Izu Resort or other area lodgings, soaking in an onsen is a must for a visit to the Izu Peninsula. Read up online in advance so you know the proper washing and wardrobe etiquette and enjoy!
Izu Peninsula Tips
- Green cars are not superior, so save your money and opt for the standard class train car.
- Bring cash for exploring because there are limited ATMs and few places accept credit card.
- You’ll want to brush up on onsen etiquette before you arrive since there is a strict protocol that the Japanese would prefer you to follow.
- As there is not a lot of English in the region, download Google Translate for backup translation help. It can also be helpful when reading menus and street signs.
We couldn’t have asked for a better retreat in central Japan. The Izu Peninsula offered stunning coastal beauty combined with a laid-back and relaxing onsen experience. It was fun to slip on a traditional robe and immerse ourselves in a different culture for a couple of days.
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