The Izu Peninsula is a renowned tourist destination known for its hot springs, gorgeous hilly interior, and beautiful coastlines and beaches. The Izu Peninsula’s more developed eastern shore is home to larger cities like Atami, while the southern and western shores, are less urbanized and recognized for their craggy coastlines, as seen at Irozaki and Dogashima.
Continue reading to discover 20 of the best attractions to explore in the Izu Hanto area. From the beautiful sights of the cherry blossom viewing (hanami) to the National treasures of the MOA museum, volcanic archery, to a botanical cactus garden.
Izu Hanto is a delightful tourist destination that offers something for everyone.
Kawazu Sakura Festival
The Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival is celebrated every year in the city of Kawazu, on the Izu Peninsula. It runs from early February until early March. The popular event honors the flowering of the Kawazu Cherry Trees.
It draws almost two million visitors each year as one of the first opportunities to witness significant numbers of cherry blossoms near Tokyo. The festival area is outside Kawazu Station.
Cape Irozaki is on the Izu Peninsula’s southernmost tip, along the peninsula’s southern coastline. At the cape, you’ll find the Irozaki lighthouse and the Iro Shrine; the shrine is set in the rocks at the very tip of the cape and gives stunning views of the jagged shoreline.
Several sightseeing boats offer a cruise along the coast if the weather permits. During these cruises, you can see the craggy and relatively pristine shoreline near Cape Irozaki; the tour lasts about 25 minutes.
MOA Museum of Art
The MOA Museum of Art is a magnificent collection of Japanese and East Asian art. The Mokichi Okada Association founded the MOA Museum of Art in 1982. Okada Mokichi, who lived from 1882 to 1955 and built the Hakone Museum of Art in Gora, was an enthusiastic art collector
The museum’s collection includes three National Treasures (Ogata Krin’s Red and White Plum Blossoms screen, Nonomura Ninsei’s Tea-leaf Jar with wisteria design, and a Calligraphy Album “Tekagami Kanboku-jo), as well as Important Cultural Properties of Japan.
A reproduction of the 16th century Golden Tea Room, overseen by architect Sutemi Horiguchi, is also displayed in the museum.
Shuzenji Onsen Town
Shuzenji Onsen is one of the Izu Peninsula’s oldest and most well-known hot spring tourist towns. There are many attractions, including the Shuzenji temple, from which the town derived its name. Over time, it flourished into a great temple, and today, visitors can participate in meditation classes and explore this grand temple.
Other attractions in Shuzenji include an array of hot springs – including a public foot bath – and a delightful range of views, from a bamboo forest to Katsura or red bridges.
A hiking trail runs along the cliff line’s higher side, providing stunning views of the cliffs and the Sagaminada Sea towards Izu Oshima Island.
The Kadowakizaki Suspension Bridge is the most popular feature of the hiking trail, and a lighthouse not far from the bridge has a publicly accessible observation deck from which tourists can enjoy views of the lovely coastline and Oshima Island when visibility permits.
Upstream on the Kawazu River, there are seven waterfalls named Kamadaru, Ebidaru, Hebidaru, Shokeidaru, Kanidaru, Deaidaru, and Odaru Falls, in that sequence. Odaru is the largest, with a plunge of almost 100 feet and complete with a swimming area. The smallest is the Kanidaru 6-7 foot plunge, also known as “the crab” waterfall.
Mount Omuro is a 1900 foot high volcano in the Izu-Tobu volcanic area of Shizuoka. You can take a chairlift to the rim, where you’ll find a path allowing you to circumnavigate the mountain in under an hour. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Fuji and Oshima.
If you want to do more than walk around and admire the scenery, you can descend into Omuro’s crater and practice your archery. The bow, arrows, and glove rental along with teaching from the range staff costs only 1,000 yen per hour. And for the most daring visitors, paragliding down Mount Omuro’s flank is another thrilling experience.
Shirahama Beach, which means “white sand beach” in English, is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Izu Peninsula, especially during the hot summer months.
Shirahama Beach is ideal for people-watching, sunbathing, surfing, swimming, snorkeling, and simply relaxing. The official swimming season begins in mid-July and lasts until the end of August; however, with ideal weather, the season can start as early as late May and last until the end of September.
Dogashima in western Izu is known for its impressive stone formations, cliffs, and caves built by lava flow and coastal erosion from past volcanic eruptions. The best way to observe the shore is from one of the many sightseeing boats that depart frequently and briefly visit one of the significant caverns.
Dogashima Tensodo, one of the most immense caverns, was classified as a natural monument in 1935. It’s a sea cave with three openings, is only 100 feet from the beach.
The cave’s greatest attraction is a ray of light that shines through a spherical hole in the roof of the cave, which is incredibly stunning when it shines on the sea, turning the waters turquoise blue on emerald green.
Ito is a well-known hot spring resort town on the Izu Peninsula’s eastern shore. The town is partially built-up due to its easy accessibility from Tokyo. Still, it also has several old structures in its center, such as the Tokaikan, a historic former ryokan open to the public.
With its cliff-strewn coast and mountainous terrain, Ito’s natural scenery is breathtaking outside the town center.
Izu Kogen is a popular villa district and viewing attraction with many small museums, restaurants, Mount Omuro, and the scenic Jogasaki Coast, which lies about 6.2 miles south of center Ito township.
Shimoda is roughly 62 miles southwest of Tokyo, on the southern tip of the Izu Peninsula. Shimoda has a humid, subtropical climate due to its location, in which the Amagi Mountains influence the weather and the warm Kuroshio Current to the south.
It is significant in history because it was the landing spot of several of Commodore Perry’s “black ships” in 1854, signaling the end of Japan’s isolation and the beginning of diplomatic relations between the United States and Japan. Shimoda is a popular tourist destination for those interested in maritime sports, beaches, and hot springs.
Perry Black Ships
In 1853, Commodore Matthew C. Perry sailed to Japan to propose US entry into Japanese ports, but at the time, Japan upheld a self-isolation policy from the rest of the world. However, when Perry returned a year later with his fleet of “black ships,” the Shimoda Treaty was signed and US ships were given access to the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate.
Sightseeing excursions are available to visitors aboard a recreated black ship. The 20-minute excursion sails around Shimoda Port where you can enjoy the local sights.
Visitors can also take 20-minute sightseeing excursions around Shimoda Port in a ship that resembles a black ship. And the Kurofune Matsuri festival can be enjoyed in mid-May to soak up the city’s history while making a contribution to international goodwill and peace.
Shimoda Park is home to over a thousand lovely hydrangea bushes. The park overlooks Shimoda Bay on the Izu Peninsula’s southern tip and is known for its hydrangeas, or ajisai, blooming in June.
Visitors travel from all over the country to see the hydrangeas in bloom, and the park comes alive with street food stalls and entertainment.
You can also find a memorial that established diplomatic relations between Japan and the United States in the park.
Located on the northern extremity of the Izu Peninsula, Atami resides on the steep slopes of a partially submerged volcanic caldera. Atami translates as “hot ocean,” a reference to the town’s well-known onsen hot springs.
The fact that it is a fishing town with a plethora of well-known seafood eateries bolsters Atami’s status as a coastal resort.
Ibu Shaboten Zoo
The Izu Shaboten Zoo is a botanical and zoological garden merged into one. It’s in central Ito on the Izu Peninsula, next to the extinct volcano, Mount Omuro.
In the park’s greenhouses, more than a thousand cactus kinds from around the world are on display, along with birds, rodents, and monkeys. Additionally, the zoo holds chimp and dog shows several times a day.
Atami Castle, at 393 feet above sea level, appears to be historically significant, but it is one of Japan’s newest castles, having been built in 1959 and inspired by castles built during the Momoyama period (1773 to 1615).
It is an eclectic facility created exclusively for tourism rather than a historical monument.
The 360-degree panoramic view from the top of Atami Castle is among the most amazing to all tourists. In the spring, it’s one of the best places to observe Sakura cherry blossoms, and in the summer, it’s the ideal place to enjoy Atami Marine Fireworks.
Tokaikan is a former ryokan and onsen (hot springs) located in Ito, on the banks of the Matsukawa River. From 1928 to 1997, Tokaikan was in operation. Built with high-quality wood by expert Japanese carpenters, the three-story structure is one of the few preserved onsens from the early Showa Period.
Ito has declared it as a cultural property, and it is now a popular tourist attraction. On weekends and public holidays, the baths are open for bathing, and men and women can use them at different hours.
Toi Gold Mine
The Toi Kinzan Gold Mine has a museum containing dioramas and relics about the mine’s operation and gold mining in general. The major attraction, though, is a 1312 foot-long renovated mining tunnel with Japanese explanations and animatronic miners that come to life as you approach them thanks to motion sensors.
Visitors can try lifting gold bars or a chest of money to get a sense of how heavy they are. The world’s biggest gold bar, weighing an incredible 551 pounds, is housed in the museum.
For an extra fee, visitors can try their hand at gold panning. Visitors can pan for gold for as much as they can in 30 minutes and take their treasures home with them.
Kiunkaku, a former Japanese inn, was built in 1919 as a private house and is one of Atami’s Three Great Villas. It was converted into a ryokan, or traditional Japanese inn, thirty years later, in 1947.
As one of Atami’s classified tangible cultural objects, it is now open to the public. The main structure in the lush and expansive garden is a particular Japanese style, with mosaics on the walls and stained glass windows evoking Western aesthetics, resulting in a fascinating, historical blending of East and West.
The Nirayama Reverberatory Furnaces are a group of four Edo period reverberatory furnaces built by the Tokugawa shogunate in what is now the Nirayama area of Izunokuni. Recognized as a National Historic Site in 1922, the Nirayama Reverberatory became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.
The furnace bodies, along with four 52 feet high chimneys, are accessible to visitors. Around the furnace, there are a few cannons on display, as well as a small information center and a few stores and eateries.
Final Thoughts On Exploring The Izu Hanto (peninsula) Area
The Izu peninsula is known chiefly for onsen hot spring resorts at Atami, Shuzenji, and is a popular tourism destination for the Kanto region residents. Sunbathing, surfing, golfing, and motorbike touring are all popular activities in the area. The peninsula is part of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, which borders Mount Fuji.
The Izu Hanto resort has a wide range of things to explore make sure you plan your trip to the area carefully so you can see everything this amazing resort town has to offer.
Mount Omuro Footage