If you find yourself in Tokyo but get tired of this concrete jungle with dense people and need to escape from the city even for a day and see nature and fun stuff, you need to go to the Izu Peninsula. Izu Peninsula is the area included, Izu, Atami, Shuzenji, and Shimoda. Those are located at the edge of east side of Shizuoka. There, you can see and enjoy many nature while you do some activities. As not being far from Tokyo, they are the perfect area for the weekend escape.
Must-visit destinations in Izu Peninsula
Izu Shaboten Park
As the name of the place, Shaboten (=cactus) they exhibit about 1500 kinds of cactus and other plants from around the world inside of the park. However what makes this place really unique is that they have 100 kinds of animals and most of them are left loose. You can feed those animals if you go there during the feeding time. Also there are animal shows held several times a day. Although you can enjoy the park throughout the year, the best season to go to the place is during the winter time. You can see their most popular animal, capybaras enjoy bathing in a hot spring to keep their body warm during the winter.
Baird Brewery Garden Shuzenji
If you are a beer lover, you cannot miss this place in Izu. Baird Brewery is located in the Shuzenji district in Izu. Started back in 2001 as the smallest licensed brewery in Japan, they are now one of the famous brewery even in the world. They brew beers with the motto, “Celebrating Beer”. Their beer is made by extracting the most out of each natural ingredients they use. They received the gold prize for their three craft beers in World Beer Cup back in 2010. Located in the middle of forest and by the kano river, you feel the nature and nice breeze while enjoy tasting their draft beers.
MOA Museum of Art
MOA is located in the Atami district. In order to preserve the landscape around the museum, you will need to use 7 escalators with 200 meters long in total to get to the main building from the entrance. The lighting of wall and ceiling changes while in the escalators and gives a fantastic atmosphere. They mostly display the collection of Mokichi Okada, the founder the museum.
Dogashima is located in western Izu. They are famous for the unique feature of breathtaking complicated coastline and small islands floating in the sea. The coast line of Dogashima is a sightseeing spot where visitors can observe this unique feature of the coast. In order to explore this landscape, the best way you can see is from the sightseeing boats. The boats depart several times during a day. This cruise takes about 20-25 minutes and cruises around Dogashima coast and even enter one of the larger caves, Tensodo and there you experience a beautiful blue cave.
Must-Eat Food in Izu Peninsula; Sushi of Izu Peninsula
Thanks to Izu being located in the sea, it has some amazing seafood. With famous fish dishes including fish such as splendid alfonsino, Bigfin reef squid, Japanese jack mackerel and others, striped marlin and baby horse mackerel are often eaten as sushi. There are many sushi restaurants on the Izu Peninsula so make sure to try some of the fresh fish!
Getting to Izu Peninsula
If you're trying to get to the Izu Peninsula from Tokyo, then the limited express train is very useful. The limited express "Odoriko" train stops at Izu-Kōgen Station, Izu-Atagawa Station, Izu-Inatori Station, Kawazu Station and Izukyū Shimoda Station. There is also the limited express "Super View Odoriko" which is slightly more expensive than the "Odoriko" but has very comfortable seats as well as rooms specifically for children.