EXPLORE NISHI IZU
Just a short journey South of Mishima Station, the West Coast of Izu offers intrepid travelers a chance to get off the beaten track.
IZU’S WEST COAST
THE RELATIVELY UNDISCOVERED WESTERN COASTLINE OF IZU PENINSULA – NISHI IZU – OFFERS VISITORS A CHANCE TO GET AWAY FROM THE CROWDS AND EXPERIENCE A REAL JAPANESE ADVENTURE
ONSEN, SEAFOOD, JAPANESE HOSPITALITY, GOLD MINES, SEA MONKEYS AND STUNNING SUNSETS.
Ready to get away from the cities? Had enough of temples and shrines?
Have a strong sense of adventure or want to enjoy some authentic Japanese hospitality? How about hot springs with views of the ocean, some of the freshest seafood you will ever eat and with stunning sunsets and views of Mt Fuji?
Nishi Izu has all this and more.
Start your journey at the small onsen town of Toi and slowly make your way to the quaint fishing village of Koura in Minami Izu.
TOI PORT & ONSEN TOWN
In the age of Tokugawa there were 2 main gold mines in Japan – the largest is found on the Sado Island and the 2nd largest was on the West Coast of Izu in the small town of Toi.
Perfect access from the ocean and great proximity across Suruga Bay to Tokugawa’s residence in Shizuoka City turned this fishing port into a bustling Gold mining Town.
Today there is very little to remind you of the town in its heyday of geisha entertaining merchants and miners but a visit to the mines is a great way to get an appreciation for the work that was done to build elaborate tunnels into the mountain in search of riches.
KOIBITO MISAKI (Lover’s Cape) –
Not far down the coast from Toi Port is Koibito Misaki or Lover’s Cape which is a great lookout spot that offers spectacular views out over Suruga Bay and, on a clear day, unobstructed views of Mt Fuji in the distance.
It is a sort walk out to the Cape from the bus stop and is particularly beautiful around sunset.
For the best chance to get clear views of Mt Fuji Winter and early Spring or late Autumn when the weather is a little cooler are recommended.
ACCESS TO NISHI IZU
To access this area of Izu the most convenient way is to pick up a rental car at Mishima Station and drive down along the coast – as this will give you the freedom and explore at your own pace.
However if you are not comfortable driving in Japan then there is an extensive train and bus system in Izu with 2-3 day travel passes that make travel in Izu affordable.
Another great option, and great way to enjoy unique views of Mt Fuji, is to travel to Toi Onsen on the Suruga Ferry from Shimizu Port which is a short train ride from Shizuoka Station.
Check out Izu Dream Pass in Mt Fuji Travel for more details.
You could spend your only week in the country traveling around Izu – savouring the food, soaking in the hot springs, meeting the locals & enjoying the hospitality and feel satisfied with your whole Japan experience.
DOGASHIMA & KOGANEZAKI PARK
20 minutes down the Coast from Lover’s Cape is Dogashima Park which is probably Nishi Izu’s most famous tourist spot due to the accessibility of the steep coastal cliffs and the popularity of the Dogashima Tensodo Cave Cruising boat tours.
Sightseeing boats leave from Dogashima and are a great way to get a greater appreciation for the dramatic stone formations and cliffs that that line the coastline – most boat trips culminate with the boat entering the Tensodo Cave.
As you venture further down the Western Coast of Izu things become more and more remote and you get a real sense of leaving civilization behind.
The small port town of Matsuzaki is worth exploring for an hour or two – the town is easy to get around by foot but if you don’t feel like the exercise a hand-drawn rickshaw service is also available.
Around the Matsuzaki area there are also a number of activity providers if you feel like getting active – choose from mountain biking, scuba diving, snorkeling or stand up paddle boarding.
ISHIBU RICE TERRACE
About 20 minutes drive from Matsuzaki town are the picturesque Ichibu Rice Terraces.
Stop by if you have a car and enjoy the popular photo spot of terraced rice fields and if you which are a popular spot to stop and enjoy the breath taking view of the rice terraces winding down the valley to the ocean.
The paddy fields are filled with water mid-May through to early June at which time early morning and at dusk are a great time to get some instagramable photos.
HAGACHIZAKI MONKEY BAY –
Not far from Ichibu Rice Terraces is the Hagachizaki Monkey Bay.
Not as famous as the onsen monkeys of Nagano this stony beach is home to over 300 Japanese Macaque monkeys and you are able to walk amongst them and even feed them – a fun experience for young and old.
KOURA FISHING VILLAGE –
Right at the bottom of the West Coast is the small fishing village of Koura.
With no more than 200 houses huddled together behind the protective tsunami walls when you step into this village you can’t help but feel part of the community.
A couple of Minshuku (Guest houses / B’n’B) are available in the town with super friendly owners who will make you feel at home as soon as you step in the door.
If you enjoy fishing, sea kayaking, SUP or just feel like getting away from the World and reading a book then this is the place for you.