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Spotlight – KAWAZU

Most famous for ‘Kawazu Sakura’ blossoms but the idyllic sea-side town of Kawazu in Izu Peninsula offers something all year round.



Just under 3 hours from Tokyo, lies the city of Kawazu on the east coast of the Izu Peninsula.

Kawazu is a perfect base to explore the natural beauty and local delights of Minami Izu and Central Izu – enjoying the region’s many natural onsen, traditional ryokan and fresh local seafood.


Kawazu is famed for its 8,000 Kawazu-zakura trees which line the Kawazu River for about 4km, starting a short walk from Kawazu Station to Mine Onsen.

The petals of Kawazu-zakura are distinct by their larger size and deeper pink hue.

The trees are the first to bloom in all of Japan (from early- February to early-March) – a great opportunity for those who cannot visit Japan in peak cherry blossom season.


During the year you can also immerse yourself in nature walks amidst Kawazu’s Nanadaru (seven waterfalls). 

The Nanadaru waterfall area is especially stunning during Koyo (Autumn leaves) season from late November.

At Shokei falls, you will find a statue of “Odoriko to Watashi” taken from Yasunari Kawabata’s short story ‘Izu no Odoriko’ (the Izu dancer).

Odaru Falls is the highest of the seven waterfalls with a drop of 30meters.

Odaru Falls is probably the best place to finish hiking, as at the base of the waterfall, is a swimming hole and several onsen baths (with a view of the waterfall), perfect for relaxing after a day of exploring.

Seven seems to be the magic number, as the region also has seven well known hot springs baths –

Imaihama Onsen, Kawazuhama Seaside Onsen, Yatsu Onsen, Mine Onsen, Yugano Onsen, Odaru Onsen and Nanadaru Onsen, with views of the ocean to the mountains.



If soaking in an onsen, wandering the halls of centuries-old ryokan in a Japanese Yukata and slippers, and feasting on fresh seafood with grated wasabi root paired with Japanese sake is your idea of the best way to refresh then the Izu Peninsula is for you.

Short on time, Atami Onsen is just 40 mins from Tokyo Station on the Tokaido bullet train and within an hour you could be soaking in a tub.

If you are looking for seclusion try Shuzenji Onsen town and if you are looking to get as far away as possible try some of the onsens on Izu's East Coast such as Ito City and Kawazu. 


During the Summer months, Izu Peninsula comes alive as families and sun-seekers make their way to some of the more famous beaches in Izu such as Shimoda's Shirahama and Minami Izu's Yumigahama Beach.

Surfing, snorkeling, sea kayaking, and other ocean activities are popular with visitors and there are a number of operators that offer tours in these areas.


One of the biggest appeals of the Izu Peninsula is that, despite its proximity to Tokyo, there is a real sense that you are in a way off the grid, exploring somewhat uncharted areas of Japan. 

Explore the rugged coastline of Nishi Izu with stunning views of Mt Fuji.



The area’s clear, crystalline, clean waters make Kawazu a wonderful location for the cultivation of vegetables and other produce, but none more so than wasabi.

The spicy green root that accompanies sushi and other Japanese dishes grows in abundance in the region.

After a soak in Odaru Fall’s onsen baths, take a walk further south and you will discover Wasabidanosato, a large field of wild wasabi, which is indeed a rare sight.

Make sure to take the time to also experience a wasabi workshop, where you can learn about the root and try your hand at making your own wasabi relish ( a combination of wasabi and the leftover fermentation of sake yeast).


End your explorations with a stay in one of Kawazu’s many traditional onsen ryokans, some a short drive away and others a mere walk from the station.

Kawazu has numerous hotels and ryokans that have their own hot spring source.

Hanareya Ishidaya ryokan has 10 private villas with some of the villas’ terraces opening up to a lovely koi pond and its own private outdoor onsen.

Even if you’re unable to stay the night in Kawazu visit a public day onsen like Funado no Banya which sits on the rock face overlooking panoramic views of Sagami Bay.

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