Izukogen, located along the coastline of the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture, is famous for having beautiful beaches and relaxing hot springs. If you are a traveler who enjoys seafood, marine activities, and nice hot springs, this is where you want to go. However, if you come from a country where bathing is not your everyday practice, you can start from having a foot bath, which is called “ashiyu.” In Izukogen, you can travel around places, and stop by at ashiyu spots, which are free and open to the public.
What is ashiyu and what is so special about it?
Ashiyu is a practice carried out in Japan at home and at hot springs, because of its great health benefits. Even if you do not own a bathtub at home, by just bathing your feet can help you to greatly improve your health, as well as simply refresh your mood. In Japan, particularly women are fond of ashiyu, because it improves your sensitivity to the cold. By doing ashiyu, it helps not only warm up your feet, but it warms up the entire body slowly and more effectively than taking a shower. By taking time to do ashiyu 10 minutes, or 15 minutes, it does not only warm up the surface of your body, but warms you up internally, which is great for your health.
Get off Izukyu at Izukogen station and take a foot bath!
There are a few free ashiyu spots in Izukogen, and this is one of them. It is free to put your feet in this foot bath, so take off your shoes and relax your feet from traveling on a train to Izukogen. If you do not have towels, the store in the train station sells a small one so you can purchase that, or just let your feet dry naturally if you do not mind resting for a while. Compared to some locations, this ashiyu spot’s hot spring temperature is higher so it might be harder to stay for a long time, but take your time, put your feet in, and relax while appreciating your time here in Izukogen.
Hike around Izukogen to the next ashiyu spot!
I personally really enjoy hiking all over Izukogen, and have walked around from Izukogen station to the next train stations, like Jogasaki and Futo,even all way to Omuro mountain. Sure, it can be quite a long distance, but by walking around everywhere, really makes the time you spend at ashiyu even more relaxing and special, so it’s worth it! In addition, Izukogen hosts many local events regularly, so by walking around you will find interesting events, like the Izukogen Art Festival, which happens annually all around Izukogen for a week in May. You’ll also run into beautiful seasonal flowers and colorful mushrooms in the wild, making your adventure even more memorable.
Pottsupo no Yu at Jogasaki station
If you decide to take a walk from Izukogen, it would take you around 20 minutes, so it would be an easy walk for anybody as there is not much elevation. If this is not for you, the train ride between Izukogen and Jogasaki is just 3 minutes long, so you can hop on a train as well.
More free ashiyu spots!
Like Kaeru no Yu, Izu Grandpal Port has a free ashiyu spot. Izu Grandpal Port is designed for those travelling by car to stop by, purchase souvenirs, and try local goods. There is a large parking space, as well as cafes, shops, and even a dog run available to fill whatever the needs travelers have. What is special about this ashiyu spot though, is that they dig for deep sea water from an 800 meters (2625 ft) depth to use it for this ashiyu spot. The deep sea water is mineral rich, and is said to be great for the skin and provides a natural healing energy, so after your foot bath, you will be nice and warm with smooth skin.
Receive the natural healing energy from ashiyu
When my friends visit Japan, everyone is curious about hot springs, but not everyone is keen on getting fully naked in front of strangers, especially if that is not a part of their custom or everyday life. In addition, if they are not used to staying in a bathtub for a long time, they cannot relax and fully enjoy hot springs, as they will most likely get out in few minutes. For those people, I try to introduce hot springs differently, and starting with ashiyu is a great way to introduce yourself to the Japanese hot spring culture. After all, it is just your feet! The health benefits of ashiyu are great, and the fact that Izukogen provides many free ashiyu spots is just fantastic. Depending on your travel destinations, you can drive or walk to these spots to explore Izukogen, or explore other ashiyu spots in the surrounding areas before arriving at your main destination in Izukogen. Though, if you like doing it, just make sure it’s easy to take of your socks and shoes. If it is autumn or winter, you might not want to wear stockings or tights, because it might make it more challenging to enjoy ashiyu conveniently.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.