Myriad marvels await travellers who explore this mountainous peninsula on Japan’s Honshū island. Owing its rugged appearance to Japan’s famous volcanism, the peninsula rises to as high as 1406 metres (4,612ft) above sea level amid the mountains of the Amagi range, while its coastline features everything from rugged cliffs and impressive sea caves at the likes of Dougashima to the white sands of Shirahama Ohama Beach. Its volcanic roots are also evident as its wide array of hot springs - such as the resort of Shuzenji Onsen - while more idiosyncratic delights await at the likes of Izu Granpal’s amusement park and the British, Canadian and Japanese ‘villages’ of Niji-no-Sato. Whatever brings you to this corner of Japan there’s plenty to entertain and enchant. Read on for some of the top things to do in Izu, Japan.
1. View the beautiful Jogasaki coastline from Kadowakizaki Suspension Bridge
A memorable landmark on the picture-postcard Jogasaki Coast, the Kadowakizaki Suspension Bridge will be a tantalising target for photographers and any ‘daredevils’ eager to pit their mettle against the 48 metres (157 feet) vertical drop into the sea below. The 23 metres (75 feet) long deck is part of a wider hiking trail which hugs the coastline for around 10 kilometres (6 miles) and enjoys beautiful views of the sea cliffs. What’s more, there are numerous parking areas, such as the Itoshi Kadowaki parking lot, and a nearby rail station (Jogasaki Kaigan on the Izukyu Line) - making it easy to reach.
Itoshi Kadowaki Parking Lot
Address: 842-242 Futo, Itō, Shizuoka 413-0232, Japan
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
2. Enjoy a play date with your child at Izu Granpal Park
Fun for all the family is all but guaranteed during a visit to Izu Granpal Park. This sizeable amusement park features everything from water balloon zorbing and dinosaur-themed karts, to family swing carousels and ziplines. Other novel attractions include a huge wooden ship-themed maze, virtual reality machines and ‘Battle King’ robots. There’s even play equipment for two-to-three-year-olds - ensuring even the youngest in your group won’t miss out on the fun. The park also boasts a number of restaurants to grab a bite or two, as well as shops for some souvenirs.
Izu Granpal Park
Address: 1090 Futo, Itō, Shizuoka 413-0231, Japan
Website: Izu Granpal Park
Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)
Price: 4 - 12 USD per head
3. Take a chairlift up the unusual Mount Omuro
This grass-covered, extinct volcano is a prominent landmark to the south of Ito City. Rising to 580 metres (1900 feet) the summit enjoys fine 360 degree views that take in the likes of Mount Fuji. Those looking to enjoy the view will need to take a chair lift to the summit, which will also give you the chance to then walk a near 1 kilometre (0.62 miles) circular path around the edge of the extinct volcano’s crater. It’s a leisurely delight that will appeal to photographers, but sporty types aren’t left out. Indeed, if they so wish, they can turn their hand to archery within the crater itself.
Mount Omuro chair lift
Address: Futo, Ito 413-0234, Shizuoka Prefecture
Website: Mount Omuro
Opening hours: Mar 16 - Sep 30: 9am - 5.15pm (daily); Oct 1 - Mar 15: 9am - 4.15pm (daily)
Price: 3 USD onwards
4. Feed the capybaras at Izu Shaboten Park
After enjoying a trip to the top of Mount Omuro, why not pay a visit to Izu Shaboten Park, which sits nestled next to the peak’s flanks. This popular zoo boasts around 140 different species, from chimpanzees to kangaroos and exotic birds. Visitors can also enjoy animal contact and feeding experiences at each of the site’s exhibition halls - including a chance to feed the cute resident capybaras. Other species which can be fed by visitors include llamas, donkeys, pelicans and more. And, after a fun day for you and the family, you can tuck into a good meal at one of several on-site eateries.
Izu Shaboten Zoo
Address: 1317-13 Futo, Itō, Shizuoka 413-0231, Japan
Website: Izu Shaboten Zoo
Opening hours: Mar - Oct: 9am - 5pm (daily); Nov - Feb: 9am - 4pm (daily)
Price: 10 USD onwards
5. Lodge in authentic Japanese-style Akazawa Onsen Hotel
After enjoying busy days at some of the aforementioned sites, you’ll likely want to indulge a little quiet rest and relaxation. Well, the Akazawa Onsen spa resort will certainly fit the bill. Occupying a huge 240,000 square metres (2.6m square feet) site that sits amid the Izukogen Forest and borders the Pacific, the resort is home to a range of accommodation choices, as well as spas and day-visit options. Fitness clubs and pools are also part of the mix - including some open-air infinity-style baths which enjoy stunning views out across the ocean. What treatment or spa experience will you opt for?
Akazawa Onsen Hotel
Address: 〒413-0233 Shizuoka, Itō, Akazawa, Japan
Website: Akazawa Onsen Hotel
Price: 93 USD onwards
6. Unleash the child within at The Cat Museum
Fans of all things feline are sure to enjoy a visit to the Cat Museum in Ito City. From displays of extinct cat species - including a sabre-toothed skeleton - to dioramas showing some of the various wild cat species in their prime, the museum even has a section dedicated to cat-themed cuddly toys, artwork and models. All aspects of feline life and cultural objects are covered. And, of course, there are also around 20-40 domestic cats in the Fureai Room Gallery, where you can interact with the furry friends too.
The Cat Museum
Address: 1759-242 Yahatano, Ito City, Shizuoka Prefecture 413-0235
Website: The Cat Museum
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 10 USD onwards
7. Pamper yourself at Atagawa Yunohana Park
If you’re using rail transport to explore the sights, then this entry will be a great way to ease the stresses of travel after a busy day - or during a break in your explorations. Located right outside Atagawa Station, the Atagawa Yunohana Park hot spring footbath draws its water from the hamada next to it and will be the ideal way to ease any tension in your limbs. It is a free-to-use facility. There’s even a hot spring pond where you can boil eggs - should you be peckish or fancy the novelty of making your own snack food.
Atagawa Yunohana Park
Address:966-13 Naramoto, Higashiizu-cho, Kamo-gun 413-0302, Shizuoka Prefecture
Website: Atagawa Yunohana Park
Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)
8. Check out tropical plants and animals at Atagawa Banana & Crocodile Garden
The largest crocodile zoo in Japan, the Atagawa Banana & Crocodile Garden is split into three sections and houses 27 different crocodilian species. Apart from the crocodiles - all 350 of them - the park is home to rare Amazon manatees as well as red pandas and a range of other animals. The fauna is not the only attraction - as fans of exotic flora will soon discover. The site boasts around 9000 tropical plants. These include some incredibly rare examples such as the jade vine. There are also some 20 species of banana, as well as exotic fruits you can pick up from the on-site shop.
Atagawa Banana & Crocodile Garden
Address: 1253-10 Naramoto, Higashiizu-cho, Kamo-gun 413-0302, Shizuoka Prefecture
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 10 USD onwards
9. Admire the stunning hanging ornaments of Inatori Cultural Park
A long-standing tradition dating back to the Edo period, visitors who pop along to Izu Inatori at the right time of year will be greeted by all manner of dolls and decorations, hanging like delicate curtains of colour at five different public spaces. The tradition is part of the Hina no Tsurushi Decoration Festival, which typically runs from mid-January to late March and is accompanied by a range of events. These range from hanging decorations and competitions to classes where you can make your own pieces. Inatori Cultural Park is arguably the best location to enjoy the spectacle - as it is not only the main venue but also features the largest display.
Inatori Cultural Park
Address: Inatori, Kamogun Higashiizucho, Shizuoka
Website: Inatori Cultural Park
10. Interact with reptiles and creepy-crawlies at iZoo
Another option for wildlife fans, the iZoo in Kawazu is a dedicated amphibian and reptile zoo and breeding centre which features species from all over the world such as the venomous Mexican beaded lizards and chameleons which freely roam the site. Tortoises, venomous snakes and an array of spider and insect species are also present. What’s more, if you’re feeling brave, the site also offers chances to interact with some of the species. These range from feeding experiences with some of the reptiles (for a fee) to the chance to grab commemorative photos alongside certain species.
Address: 406-2 Hama, Kawazu-chō, Kamo-gun, Shizuoka-ken 413-0513 〒413-0513
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 8 USD onwards
11. Dine on delicious marbled pork at Yumotokan Hotel (Izu)
This peaceful hot spring onsen community is nestled amid the Amagi mountains. But the tranquil surroundings and the soothing hot spring waters are only part of the attraction. This intimate two-star ryokan inn boasts its own hot baths, but it is also popular with its guests for the quality of its food. The marbled pork (or wild boar) mentioned in the headline is just one such culinary treat. Other options, depending on the season, include the likes of sushi hot pot, Japanese black beef or grilled salted salmon. Literature buffs may also love the fact that Nobel prize-winning novelist Yasunari Kawabata is said to have written some of his works in the building.
Address: 2 Chome-30-7 Noka, Otsu, Shiga 520-0102, Japan
Website: Yumotokan Hotel
12. Cool off with a trek along the Kawazu Seven Waterfalls
Nature lovers will be in for a treat during any visit to the Kawazu Nanataki Onsen springs. Venture along the Kawazu river and you’ll enjoy the spectacle of the Kawazu Nanadaru - or Seven Waterfalls. These range from the large Otaki falls, which plunges 30 metres (almost 100 ft) to charming minnows like the Deai Falls, which drops just 2 metres (6.5 feet). Take your camera with you and you’ll grab some delightful snapshots during your enjoyable walk. What’s more, you won’t just find natural marvels - the community is also home to the unforgettable Kawazu Nanadaru loop bridge, which spirals through a couple of 360-degree circles.
Kawazu Seven Waterfalls
Address: Nashimoto, Kawazu, Kamo District, Shizuoka 413-0501
Website: Kawazu Seven Waterfalls
After enjoying a walk along to the waterfalls, why not unwind with a stay in the waters of this fabulously-rated three-star ryokan inn. It sits right next to the Odaru Falls, so you won’t have far to wander to get to and from these natural marvels, and it is located amid peaceful woods. What’s more, it offers both indoor and outdoor hot spring baths - the latter of which sit just a short distance downstream of the fall - providing a jaw-dropping view and soothing background noise while soaking away your stresses in the warm waters.
14. Enjoy the spectacular cherry blossom sights at Kawazu district
And the natural charm of the Kawazu area is not just restricted to its waterfalls or its soothing hot springs - the area is also known for its spectacular cherry blossom in spring. Time your visit right and you’ll find delicate pink petals adorning many trees - making for a sublime sight, whether you’re on foot or passing through in a car. Even better, some of the local onsens sit in locations which take maximum advantage of the natural display. These include the Odoriko Onsen Hall, a municipal hot spring that boasts outdoor baths with a full view of the trees. The perfect setting for a relaxing soak.
Odoriko Onsen Hall
Address: 457-1 Mine, Kawazu, Kamo-gun, Shizuoka 413-0511
Website: Odoriko Onsen Hall
Opening hours: 10am - 9pm (daily)
Price: 2 USD onwards
15. Tour the historic Nirayama Reverberatory Furnace
An important piece of Japan’s military heritage - although it might not look it at first glance - the Nirayama reverberatory furnace dates back more than 160 years and was used to produce high-quality iron to fashion cannons. The domed roof of the furnace acted to reflect and concentrate heat, helping to achieve the high temperatures needed to cast particularly high-quality metal. Today it is the only reverberatory furnace left in Japan; a fact which has not only seen it recognised as a national historic location but also - as part of the country’s wider Meiji Industrial Revolution Heritage - as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Nirayama reverberatory furnace
Address: 260-1 Naka, Izunokuni, Shizuoka 410-2113, Japan
Website: Nirayama reverberatory furnace
Opening hours: Apr 1 - Sep 30: 9am - 5pm (daily); Oct 1 - Mar 31: 9am - 4.30pm (daily) (closed every 3rd Wed of the month)
Price: 5 USD
16. Soak in the hot springs of Shuzenji Onsen
This famous onsen resort is one of the oldest on the Izu peninsula, with roots dating back at least 1200 years. Naturally, its long history means there is plenty of historic ryokans, as well as a range of hot springs to enjoy - from private inns to the Tokko-no-yu spring in the middle of the river, which was established 1200 years ago and is still used as a foot bath. During a break from enjoying the soothing waters, the community is also home to a range of cafes and shops, as well as a picturesque bamboo forest walk which is not just a striking sight by the day but is also lit up at night to create a fantastic evening setting.
Address: Izu 410-2416, Shizuoka Prefecture
17. Admire charming Japanese and Western scenery at Shuzenji Niji-no-Sato
Take a tour around the world without setting foot outside this fascinating leisure park. Boasting British, Canadian and Japanese-themed villages, a leisurely stroll will make for a memorable and unique experience. Where else could you enjoy the skirl of the bagpipes one minute and the charms of a beautiful Japanese garden the next? Attractions also include a steam train museum, light gauge Romney Railway - which you can use to get between the British and Canadian villages - a Craftsman Village where you can experience traditional Japanese arts, and more. There are also plenty of natural charms, including a fairy garden, cherry blossoms, rhododendron wood and iris garden.
Address: 4279-3 Syuzenji, Izu-shi, Shizuoka-ken, 410-2416, Japan
Website: Shuzenji Niji-no-Sato
Opening hours: Apr - Sep: 9am - 5pm (daily); Oct - Nov: 9am - 4pm (daily); Dec - Feb: 10am - 4pm (daily)
Price: 6 USD onwards
18. Stroll through the sublime Wasabi fields of Ikadaba
Stretching across some 15 hectares (37.06 acres), the 1500 rice terraces which make up the Wasabi Fields of Ikadaba are regarded as being among the 10 best rice terraces in the whole of Shizuoka Prefecture. The picturesque location has even been used in films and is sure to make an arresting target for budding photographers. Those looking for a memento can also pick up a souvenir from the nearby shop, where you can even try your hands at wasabi harvesting. You should bear in mind, however, that the fields are private property, so make sure to observe the rules during your visit.
The Wasabi fields of Ikadaba
Address: Ikadaba, Izu, Shizuoka 410-2516, Japan
Website: The Wasabi fields of Ikadaba
19. Appreciate the flower fields and views in Matsuzaki town
Another natural spectacle which is sure to entice photographers, Matsuzaki is home to fields of wildflowers which make for a stunning riot of colour during spring and into summer. The Matsuzaki Wild Flower Garden also boasts cherry trees, whose delicate blossoms simply add to the jaw-dropping natural spectacle if your time your visit right. Throw in the views of the peninsula’s inland peaks as a backdrop, and you’re in photo heaven.
Matsuzaki Wild Flower Garden
Address: Naka, Matsuzaki, Kamo District, Shizuoka 410-3626, Japan
20. Explore Dougashima's cliffs and caves on a pleasure boat
Coastal wonders await those who opt for a pleasure boat cruise along the coast at Dougashima. The landscape is an officially designed UNESCO Global Geopark, with the rock strata formed by layer upon layer of ash and pumice from a submarine volcano. This material has enabled the sea to carve some fascinating features, and visitors will be treated to beautiful sea cliffs, azure waters, caves and even natural skylights. Dogashima Marine offers four different ‘cruises’ that offer different sights, giving you plenty of choices during your visit.
Address: 2910-2 Nishina, Nishiizu, Kamo District, Shizuoka 410-3514, Japan
Website: Dogashima Marine
Price: Cave tour: 12 USD onwards
21. Catch a sunset from the famous Otago Coast
Speaking of sublime coastal sights, the Otago Coast is famous for its mesmerising rock formations, coastal landscapes and picture postcard waters and is a popular destination on the Izu peninsula. Sunsets are a particularly arresting time to pay a visit, the magical light of ‘golden hour’ lending the landscape a vibrant appearance that’ll linger long in the memory. A popular photography target is Meganecho, an unusual leaning pillar of rock that should add a little extra sparkle to your images.
Address: Tago, Nishiizu-cho, Kamo, Shizuoka
22. Touch massive gold nuggets at the Toi Gold Mine
From golden sunsets to gold of an altogether different variety. Once the largest gold mine on the peninsula, Toi Jinzan’s roots date back to the Edo period, and it is thought to have produced more than 40 tonnes of gold and 10 times as much silver during its working life. Despite closing down more than 50 years ago, it has found a new life as a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can tour 350 metres (1,148 feet) of the tunnels and even go panning for flecks of gold. The site also houses a gold museum in its Golden Hall and is home to the world’s largest bar of gold bullion, weighing 250 kg (551 lbs).
Toi Gold Mine
Address: 2726 Toi, Izu, Shizuoka 410-3302, Japan
Website: Toi Gold Mine
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 9 USD
23. Gaze out at the magnificent Mount Fuji from the Osezaki Coast
This beautiful thin strip of land extends some 800 metres (2,600 feet) into Suruga Bay and will delight fans of a fine coastal landscape. Not only that but its location jutting north from the Izu peninsula makes it a popular foreground target for any photographer seeking a memorable snapshot of world-famous Mount Fuji, whose snow-capped peak is instantly recognisable in the distance. The cape itself also boasts some interesting features. These include the Ose Shrine - which fishermen traditionally visited to have new ships blessed - and the Kamiike pond. The latter is a small body of water at the end of the peninsula which, almost miraculously, is not salty and has earned a place among the seven wonders of the Izu peninsula.
Address: Nishiura Enasi, Numazu 410-0244, Shizuoka Prefecture
24. Check out funky sculptures and flowers on Clematis Hill
One for art and nature fans alike, Clematis Hill is home not just to the blooms from which it gets its name, but also museums and public artworks. These include the Bernard Buffet Museum, which was set up in 1973 to display the works of the French painter - indeed 2000 of his pieces are included in the collection. Others include the Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum, which features the striking works of sculptor Giuliano Vangi and are scattered amid the Clematis Garden and its enjoyable paths. Features include the likes of small squares and a pond - all accompanied by the signature clematis blooms and other plants.
Address: 347-1 Higashino Clematis Hill, Nagaizumi-cho, Shizuoka 411-0931
Website: Clematis Hill
Opening hours: Thu - Tue: 10am - 4.30pm (closed on Wed)
Price: 12 USD onwards
25. Sunbathe at popular Shirahama Ohama Beach
Listed among Japan’s 100 best beaches, it’s safe to say that if you’re a fan of fine sands and relaxing sunbathing, you’ll want to check out Shirahama Omaha Beach at some point. The largest beach on the entire peninsula, Shirahama Omaha’s white sands and deep blue waters are a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Not only that but the area around the Shirahama Itado Coast is a popular destination for snorkelling and diving - should you prefer something a bit more energetic than relaxing on the beautiful beach.
Shirahama Ohama Beach
Address: Shirahama, Shimoda 415-0012, Shizuoka Prefecture
Website: Shirahama Ohama Beach
26. Take a calming stroll at dawn along Yumigahama Beach
Sticking with the delights of the coast, the beach at Yumigahama is another very popular spot. Head to this 1-kilometre (0.6 mile) long stretch of sand during the middle of a summer’s day and you’ll find it busy with sunbathers enjoying some lazy relaxation in the sun, but head there at dawn and you’ll likely find it all but deserted - perfect for a calming stroll. This shallow beach and the sheltered bay also make it popular with families looking for a dip - speaking of which there are lifeguards at all times from early July to the start of September. And there’s even a seasonal splash water park during the summers.
Address: Minato, Minamiizu-cho, Kamo-gun 415-0152, Shizuoka Prefecture
Website: Yumigahama Beach
Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 14.08 USD (parking)
27. Inhale the fragrance of narcissus fields at Tsumekizaki
If you were intrigued by some of the earlier floral wonders on this list, then you’ll definitely want to pay attention now. Shimoda is home to a spectacular Narcissus Festival every year. And when I say spectacular, I mean it. The wild narcissus fields at Tsumekizaki burst into life during the peak blooming season - typically early January to mid-February - thanks to the petals of more than three million individual flowers! This mass spectacle is accompanied by local community events, although if you just want to wander among the fragrant blooms, breathe deeply, and maybe grab some snapshots - you’ll find that equally rewarding.
The narcissus fields at Tsumekizaki
Address: Suzaki, Shimoda, Shizuoka, Japan
Website: The narcissus fields at Tsumekizaki
Opening hours: Dec 20 - Feb 10 (in bloom)
28. Catch a sea lion show at Shimodakaichu Aquarium
Fans of marine wildlife will likely be in heaven during a visit to the Shimodakaichu Aquarium in Wakanoura Bay. This floating aquarium is home to an array of fascinating animal life - from the dolphins which live behind net cordons in the ocean bay to sea otters, Humboldt penguins and sea lions. There are also tanks full of colourful fish and jellyfish to enjoy. The aquarium also puts on shows involving its trained dolphins and sea lions, as well as with its seals and penguins. Those who want to get up close to some of the animals can also participate in feeding times, and even go snorkelling with them by arrangement.
Address: 22-31 Sanchome, Shimoda, Shizuoka 415-0023, Japan
Website: Shimodakaichu Aquarium
Opening hours: 8.30am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 10 - 20 USD per head
29. Pay a visit to Admiral Perry's Arrival Memorial Stone
A key figure in Japan’s history, United States admiral Matthew C Perry played a pivotal role in ending the country’s 250-year isolation from the outside world. The ruling shogunate had resisted numerous attempts by western powers to access the country for trade. Admiral Perry - after putting the Japanese under military pressure - successfully signed the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854, which initially opened up the ports of Hokkaido and Shimoda to outside trade, and signalled the beginning of a more outward-looking Japanese leadership. Perry’s landing in Shimoda is marked by this bust in Perry Landing Memorial Park.
Admiral Perry's Arrival Memorial Stone
Address: 6-6 Sanchome, Shimoda, Shizuoka 415-0023, Japan
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
30. Trek the rugged coastline of Irozaki Cape
Memorable coastal landscapes await those who brave a hike along Irozaki Cape. Located at the southernmost tip of the peninsula, the cape features jagged but picturesque cliffs that rise up to 100 metres (328 feet) above the waves in places and will likely delight fans of nature and photographers alike. Those romantics among you who walk right to the tip of the cape along a steep path will also find a small Shinto shrine built into the rock - the Irozaki Kumano Shrine - which not only enjoys fine views but also honours the god of marriage and is said to ‘fulfil love’.
Address: Irozaki, Minamiizu, Kamo District, Shizuoka 415-0156, Japan
Website: Irozaki Cape
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
What do you want to do first?
From wonderful wildlife and floral spectacles to soothing onsen waters, memorable waterfalls and spectacular coastline locales, the Izu peninsula is crammed with a dizzying array of fantastic things to see and do. Whether you simply want to relax on white sandy beaches or seek more energetic pursuits like a heart-pumping hike amid beautiful surroundings - there’s something to suit any and every travel itinerary.
Get Trip101 in your inbox