Located about 100km southwest of Tokyo, is Izu City, Shizuoka Prefecture. Found at the Izu Hantō (peninsula), it is well known for its natural resources, mild climate and a mix of popular traditional and modern attractions, especially its onsens – making it a popular weekend getaway for Tokyoites.
The city can be split into three major areas: Eastern, western and central.
Facing Sagami Bay, Eastern Izu is home to the famous Kawazu Sakura, the earliest flowering sakura in Japan while Mount Fuji lies in the west, across Suruga Bay’s coastline. Running through central Izu is the Kano River, Shuzenji Onsen and Temple. Other attractions include Atami Castle, Toi Gold Mind and MOA Museum of Art.
Easily accessible from Tokyo by train, you can get to Izu City by taking 50-minute ride on the JR Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo to Atami and Mishima or an 80-minute one by Odoriko from Tokyo to Atami.
One of the oldest and most famous hot springs resort towns on the Izu Peninsula, Shuzenji Onsen was named after the Shuzenji Temple (修禅寺) that is found in the centre of the town. Surrounded by the volcanic Amagi mountain range, the onsen offers guests a beautiful hilly view in place of the regular ocean-view onsens. Rich in history, Shuzenji Onsen is also known as Sho-Kyoto (kanji, little Kyoto) for its historical architecture and traditional charms.
Founded by Kobo Daishi this 1,200 year-old Zen Buddhist temple’s mizuya (purification fountain) uses onsen water that you can drink.
BAMBOO GROVE PATH
Take a stroll along the scenic bamboo-lined Katsura River and discover quaint coffee shops and Shuzenji Gallery along the way.
Soak and relax your feet after a day of exploring at this free hot spring foot bath in the town centre.
SHUZENJI NIJI NO SATO
Hop on the steam locomotive and discover the town’s four unique areas: Canadian, English and Izu villages and a Japanese garden.
Registered as a National Cultural Property, this 150 year-old onsen is famous for its luxurious rooms, warm hospitality, high standards of service and mysterious cave hot spring. Guests can expect a truly authentic and historically-rich experience thanks to its well-persevered Showa Era architectural structure, traditional décor and gourmet seasonal kaiseki (懐石, traditional Japanese course meal).
Access: 20-minute cab ride from Shuzenji Address: 1887-1 Yugashima Izu-City Shizuoka 〒410-3206 Web: ochiairou.com
Tucked away in Shuzenji’s bamboo woods, this resort’s as well-known for its deeply relaxing hot springs as it is for its genuine Kyoto-style kaiseki. Their rooms are designed in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony style called Sukiya Zukuri (数寄屋造り) that is characterised by the use of natural elements such as wood and, of course, bamboo.
Access: 10-minute cab ride from Shuzenji Address: 1116-6 Shuzenji Izu-City Shizuoka 〒410-2416 Web: yagyu-no-sho.com/en/
SORA TOGETSUSOU KINRYU
This hot spring resort has four uniquely themed open-air baths for you to choose from. Their contemporary “Lights” onsen has a clean and minimalist look that is best enjoyed at night and “Sunset” offers a gorgeous view of the sun setting over Mount Daruma. “Rock” and “Stone” show the contrast of traditional and modern styles while using the same earthy element.
Access: 8-minute cab ride from Shuzenji Address: 3455 Shuizenji Izu-City Shizuoka 〒410-2416 Web: kinryu.net
SIDE TRIPS IN IZU CITY
MACHI NAVI YURURI
Get dressed up for a day at this charming little kimono rental store set across the Shuzenji Onsen bust terminal. There are over 150 designs to choose from with various accessories to complete your look.
One of Japan’s 100 exquisite falls of Japan, Jōren Falls is surrounded by beautiful fauna and flora. On your way up, savour a creamy wasabi soft serve sold exclusively at the entrance of the falls.
GETTING TO SHUZENJI
30-minute ride on the Izuhakone Railway from Mishima Station to Shuzenji Station or a 2-hour ride on the Odoriko trains from Tokyo Station to Shuzenji Station, followed by a 10-minute bus or taxi ride to the town itself.