Rugged coastline, mellow surfer beaches, dense forests dotted with traditional ryokan dwellings and onsen with their therapeutic hot waters. It’s hard to believe that the cool, green calm of Izu is only a short drive from the non-stop bustle of Tokyo. Stroll down promenades lined with seafood restaurants. Take in views of Mount Fuji from the top of a volcanic crater. Or wander through pink tunnels of Kawazu cherry blossom. You’ll soon sense why this region is the perfect escape.
A lush masterpiece of steaming hot springs, volcanic mountains and modern art.
Things to do
Known as the ‘province where the hot water gushes’, Izu is overflowing with natural wonders. Feel the ground shake as Oyu Geyser explodes with powerful jets of steam. Dip into the Ryokufen hot spring, fringed by maple trees and a waterfall. When you’re not drifting off in a hot forest bath, gaze across the ocean from the 43-metre suspension bridge on the Jogasaki coastal walking trail. Or climb by cable car to the rim of Mount Omuro, which resembles an upturned, grass-covered rice bowl.
Izu is home to an eclectic mix of modern art, historical landmarks and unusual sights. From your boutique hotel look for a lighthouse straight out of a 1950s sci-fi comic book. Step back in time at the 1,200 year-old temple Shuzen-ji, founded by a priest who reputedly spread Buddhism across Japan. You’ll need a magnifying glass to examine the 19th-century frescoes in the Izu Chohachi Art Museum. Then take off into the future at the Museum of Art, where long escalators rise from the entrance to colour-changing neon lights in the ceiling.
Look forward to plenty of fine dining opportunities and local specialties. Wherever you are on the Izu Peninsula, fresh seafood is the order of the day. Start with a delicate prawn, onion, bamboo and orange peel soup. Then try baked Izu lobster with sea urchin. If you’re feeling really hungry, tuck into Takahashi – the world’s largest deep-sea crab, which can grow to 3-metres long.
Expect the unexpected in Izu, such as coming across an archery centre deep inside Mount Omuro.
Top tip from SLH