Atagawa onsen on the eastern side of the the Izu peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture’s Higashi Izumachi is located on a mountain that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Not only are there onsen inns, there are cork gun shooting galleries and an old style town that you can enjoy as well. Easily accessible from Tokyo yet has a laid back feel and is the ideal getaway for those who want to just relax in a calm fashion.
If you are planning an onsen hopping trip to Izu you can’t leave out Atagawa Onsen!! Here are some of the best parts to check out!
Relax those tired feet with a foot bath with a ocean view!
The place to check out first and foremost at Atagawa Onsen is the seaside park “Atagawa Hot Park”. Here you can enjoy a hot spring foot bath for free while gazing out at the wide Pacific Ocean and is one of my favorite spots! It is actually a very luxurious experience where the stresses of city life melt away while you are warming up your feet and listening to the songs of the ocean waves on the shoreline.
The closer you are to where the water is pouring in, the hotter it is, and the reverse is true too. There are some spots in this foot bath that might be way too hot so stick your feet in cautiously.
After you warmed up in the foot bath try out the small footpath that is lined with bamboo and small rocks. (no shoes allowed) The various sized rocks stimulate the pressure points in your feet and you will find yourself walking while whimpering a bit but it feels awesome when you are done.
“Atagawa Hot Park” is a 10 minute walk downhill from the Izu Atagawa Station on the Izu Kyuko line. A great place to stop by, during a morning or evening stroll.
The shoreline is stunningly romantic during the summer when swimming is allowed.
A steaming river? Head to the quaint old onsen town
Ages ago Atagawa got its name from having a river that is warm (熱=hot, 川=river). The history goes back to Oota Doukan the architect of Edo Castle seeing injured monkeys bathing in the spring water and finding out the regenerative properties.
It became famous because of its 200 liter a minute flow of 99.4 degree water and the warm climate of eastern Izu.
To this day the river in the onsen town smells of sulfur and has steam rising off it. The beauty of the town is multiplied when the riverside lights come on. A post-bath stroll in the evening here feels like you fell into a crack in time to several centuries ago.
There are 18 inns in Atagawa but amongst them one stands out as having the best nostalgic feel, “Atagawa Ichiryukaku”. With a 60 year history it is representative of the inns in Atagawa. Here at Ichiryukaku there is also the “Sachimori Shrine” where you can have a priest pray for you. The shrine here is famous for their talisman for women who are looking for marriage.
An outdoor bath where you can watch the moon “Seigetsu”
Atagawa Ichiryukaku’s best feature is that they have 3 private outdoor baths!! All are free to use and you don’t have to reserve them. The system here is you just lock the door when in use and the best part is they are open until 2am when not closed for cleaning.
The image is of the outdoor bath “Seigetsu”. Built with the glistening full moon in mind, if you are lucky and come on a clear night and the right phase you can enjoy an awesome bath while being bathed in moonlight as well.
You can also see the ocean through the wooden fence, and really relax. Atagawa Ichiryukaku’s private outdoor baths also are easy to use with their spacious dressing areas! You can bathe as a family here as they provide shampoo, conditioner and body soap here.
The high temperature of the spring water can be surprisingly hot as they don’t add any water to it. Before entering the bath please check the water so you aren’t burning yourself.
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Amaterasu, the most popular outdoor bath here
The outdoor bath Amaterasu is made from Cyprus wood and even uses natural wood for the spout for the hot spring water. If you open the lattice window in the back you can really feel liberated. The scent of the Cyprus wood as well as the feel of it is simply comforting!
Other than Seigetsu and Amaterasu, there is the other outdoor bath Daimonji. Daimonji is the largest bath and there is also a sauna attached that is open until 10pm. It’s unfortunate I couldn’t show you all 3 but when you come here definitely check out all 3.
There is no reservation so to use these baths you have to physically go down to check them. Here are some pointers.
The hours between check-in at 3pm and 5pm are the most busy so you have to check often.
Dinner is usually around 6 and 630pm so 530pm is a good time to go for!
Personally I prefer to have a quick bath before dinner and then after dinner take a much longer bath. After 11pm the baths are relatively empty so you can really take your time.
There are also men and women as well as family indoor baths that you can use any time of the day. The indoor baths are hot as well so mix the water well before getting in! If the water is too hot to bathe in just tell the front desk and they can come adjust the water for you.
Gorge yourself on the local delicacy Kinmedai (splendid alfonsino) in your room!
At Atagawa Ichiryukaku you can dine at the restaurant Take no Ma, or you can dine in your room. Their special meal here is the “Kinmedai Zukushi Plan” (a course meal of splendid alfonsino)!!
Each dish including the main stewed Kinmedai and the hot pot or the small appetizers are well prepared and are delightfully delicious. All the dishes are well flavored and go perfect with a bowl of rice.
Izu is the largest producer of Kinmedai in the entire nation. With a perfect presentation and stunning taste if you have a chance have some Kinmedai if you can.
Sashimi, stewed or shabu shabu, you can have it many ways all of which are fantastic.
From the city it is a 2 hour train ride on the JR Tokkyu Odoriko line, and by car take the Odawara Atsugi road to the 135 and you can get to Atagawa Onsen in about 3 hours.
There are also some tourist attractions such as the Atagawa Banana and Crocodile Park, or the Atagawa Herb Terrace that use the hot spring water heat.
Come with the family or just come as a couple or come here for an anniversary. I am sure you will have a time that will relax both your mind and body!
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