Dear guests and future guests, my name is Maddy, I am a thirty years old French girl traveling around the world for six months and the Izu Peninsula is by far my favorite place until now. I really enjoy the serenity that surrounds me here and the nature which is everywhere has a lot to do with it. Thanks to my hosts Angela and Yasu I found out that cycling along the coastline is the best way to experience the beauty of the place and if you are ready to have your breath taken away, ride a bike ! You can enjoy the Kisami area thanks to the bicycles available at the guest house for 500 yen per day. Moreover, I highly suggest that you take a day bicycle ride south and around the coast. You will have to pay a 3,500 yen for the renting of a bicycle with gears (http://cyclingjapan.jp/rental/index.htm) to go on this ride up and down those mountainous roads. Before leaving be sure to wear a cap, to use plenty of sunscreen and to load your bicycle with one or two bottles of fresh water to hydrate yourself as often as possible. No need to worry about finding toilets as there are some at every touristic spots you will find on your tour (and don’t forget to refill your bottles once you are there). Now that you are on your bike, ride at your own pace. The Izu Peninsula has an abundance of natural beauty and you are free to take your time and take fully advantage of this breathtaking scenic coastline where you can breathe, rest, drink, eat and take some photos to share this experience with your friends later. By the way, even though this tour is the perfect occasion to challenge yourself and spend some time alone in the nature, having company might be a good idea especially if you are not used to cycle in mountainous areas. However you will see that those roads are perfect to ride a bicycle and will enjoy to have good brakes when the time will come to cycle down. I join to this article a map of a nice itinerary. On one hand the first thirty kilometers on the coastline are the most breathtaking but difficult. On the other hand the way back along the road 136 is much more easier but offers less interesting spots. I suggest that you take your time on the first part. Remember that happiness is in the doing not in the getting what you want. So cycle and have fun!
From Guesthouse tabi-tabi, take a 40 minute bus ride down and around the coast to Nakagi, pay a 1000 yen for a 5 minute boat ride and you’ll arrive at the underwater wonderland, Hirizo. Before boarding the ship you can pick up some cold drinks, and rent the required snorkel and mask for only 500 yen. Do pack well, Hirizo is nothing but a rocky beach. There are no toilets or vending machines. We brought beach chairs, a parasol, towels, fins (flippers), sunscreen, drinks, snacks, and an underwater camera. If you have a wetsuit or surfing vest it will keep you in the water longer and let you dive deeper as it can get pretty chilly hanging out with cold blooded creatures all day. There are tons of fish to see! I wish I knew the names of them all but can just tell you there are big ones, little ones, blue ones, yellow ones, and striped ones. Some hang out in massive schools while others can be seen hiding alone between rocks and soft coral. We spotted lots of sea anemone too but have yet to find any nudibranches (colorful sea-slugs) but I know they are out there somewhere! Will be back soon with a better pair of goggles to help me find the finer creatures. Click on any pic for my flickr set!
UPDATE: Please be aware that on days when waves are big or the sea is choppy there will be no boats heading to Hirizo. You can find contact details for Nakagi and Hirizo on their (Japanese only) website here.
蓮(Hasu) is Japanese for lotus. This giant but delicate flower has long been a symbol for Buddhism as it represents the true nature of beings, who rise above the suffering of life then blossom into the beauty and clarity of enlightenment. Just like the lotus, which is rooted deep in the mud, with a long stem that grows through murky water, and a bud that finally rises and opens into the sun.
In Minami Izu there is a privately owned lotus garden that I can’t wait to get back to. A 13 year work-in-progress, where you too can experience real beauty not only from the flowers but also from their grower. An old man with a story to tell and beauty to share. He only ask that you make a donation to Tohoku, where people are still struggling to make their way through the mud and devastation left by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
You can find the lotus garden on our google map here.
Are you an instagrammer? We are! You can “follow us” at tabitabijapan, or check out all of our Izu photos here. Enjoy!
Here is a great little video of Kawazu’s 720 degree loop bridge. The video must have been taken during the July long weekend, because I have never seen that much traffic on Kawazu’s Loop Bridge.
The loop bridge is about a 40 minute drive from Shimoda and can be seen from Nanadaru Onsen.
Every year in Matsuzaki (west coast of Izu) wild flowers are grown in rice paddies before the rice seedlings are planted. Once the May flowers bloom everyone is invited to pick as many flowers as they can. I cut and collected as many flowers as I could carry. Next year though, I will be more prepared and bring a bucket, some large scissors or a sharp knife, and wear a T-shirt and shorts. It got pretty hot frolicking around in the flowers for hours.
Thanks Maia for the beautiful bouquet and for telling us about this endless field of floral fun!
You can find Matsuzaki on our tabi-tabi recommendations map here
Irozaki is a cape at the very bottom of the Izu Peninsula. There is a lighthouse and a shrine with amazing views of Southern Izu’s rocky coast. You can visit the shrine and buy an “omikuji” (a fortune) if you end up with “kyo” (bad luck), you can tie it to a tree branch and hope your misfortune is blown away by the strong coastal winds.
Find it on our tabi-tabi recommendation map here
Nikuzuki means “meatmoon” but they also serve fish and noodles to feed the vegetarians and semi-vegetarians alike. The food is delicious and the location is amazing. We have decided this will go on the list of “What to do on a rainy day”. I suspect the sound of the falling rain and the views of the fresh and green surrounding bamboo forest will make for a relaxing getaway. This wabi-sabi house was built using old techniques and old wood from a farmhouse in Fukushima. You can see pictures of the 10 year (and still ongoing) construction in one of their photo albums.
At the moment we have guests from the UK, the Ukraine, Tokyo, and Osaka! It’s a long weekend here in Japan so we are enjoying a full house at the start of our season. Yesterday evening we took a family from Kawasaki to see the sunset on the other side of the peninsula.
This is also one of our favorite longboard skateboarding spots
We often drive to the west coast of the peninsula to watch the sunset. There are some great viewing spots on top of high cliffs where you can enjoy soft hues in a colorful sky. There are some place markers on our google map here. Drive another 30 minutes up the coast and there are several free onsen to enjoy. Onsen water near the sea is usually a bit salty and called “ensen” in Japanese.
This onsen has only one small bath, is konyoku (mixed bathing but swim suites are optional), not that hot (about 37 or 38 degrees), and not very easy to find. There is also very little parking and can be a little busy on weekends during the summer months. If you go at night you will definitely need a flash-light. As you can see, the best time to visit though is while the sun is setting.
We took this Swiss family to enjoy one of our favorite spots with us. This adventure (a windy ride through mountain roads followed by a hike down a steep path) naturally lead to more “off the beaten track” stories like a near miss lighting strike on a trek in Mexico! Thanks for joining us, Jobin family!
Open: June – September