Izu in Shizuoka Prefecture is a well-known tourist destination that can be visited any time of the year. It’s proximity to Tokyo and stunning beaches and mountains make it a popular getaway. But if you’re visiting Izu in winter, you’ll have the chance to witness some unique attractions. Soothe your soul in the Capybara Hot Springs at Izu Shaboten Zoo or enjoy the fragrance of daffodils at Tsumekizaki. The breathtaking views from the shores of Matsukawa Lake are sure to delight. If you feel chilly during your sightseeing on cold days, warm up in hot spring resorts in Atami and Shuzenji. Here are the top tourist spots to visit in Izu in winter.
1. Capybara Bath at Izu Shaboten Zoo, Ito
Izu Shaboten Zoo is a park where you can see medium-sized animals and tropical plants in the greenhouse. The area where you can interact with capybaras is particularly popular.
Especially in winter, they hold the annual event called the Original Capybara Open-Air Bath. Watching capybaras leisurely soaking in the bath is a soothing experience in itself.
Izu Shaboten Zoo
Address: 1317-13 Futo, Itō, Shizuoka 413-0231, Japan
Website: Izu Shaboten Zoo
Opening hours: 9.30am - 5pm (daily)
Price: From 5.20 USD
2. Tsumekizaki Daffodils, Shimoda City
Located at the southeastern tip of Susaki Peninsula, the scenic spot of Tsumekizaki boasts a cluster of wild daffodils. During the annual daffodil festival held from December 20th to January 31st, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the flowers, the beautiful sea, and the aloe plants. There are numerous picturesque spots perfect for Instagram-worthy photos.
The recommended visiting period is usually late January, but in milder winters, the daffodils can be seen even in February. For detailed blooming conditions, please refer to the tourism association’s website.
3. Lake Matsukawa, Ito
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
The area around the observation square of Lake Matsukawa that has been created by the Okuno Dam, is abundantly planted with winter daphne flowers. The best viewing time is from late December, making it perfect for year-end and New Year trips.
You can also enjoy it together with Ito Onsen and the tourist spots of Izu Kogen. If you’re aiming for Instagram-worthy photos, sunny days when even the pale yellow small flowers stand out are recommended.
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4. Dougashima Sea Cave Skylight, Nishiizu
Dougashima Sea Cave Skylight is a highly popular tourist spot. Inside the dark cave, a mystical light from the ceiling shines into the sea, creating a spectacular sight. It is often compared to Blue Grotto in Italy. You can explore the cave by taking a sightseeing boat cruise. Don’t miss this captivating attraction in Nishiizu.
Dougashima Sea Cave Skylight
Address: Japan, 〒410-3514 Shizuoka, Kamo District, Nishiizu, Nishina, 字堂ヶ島
Website: Dougashima Sea Cave Skylight
Opening hours: 8am - 6pm (daily)
5. Izu Panorama Park, Izukuni
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
Izu Panorama Park is known for its breathtaking views of Mount Fuji and Suruga Bay. On clear winter days, you can enjoy exceptionally clear vistas. The park offers various attractions for couples and families, such as the relaxing Ao Terrace and the fun-filled Athletic Square where children can play to their heart’s content.
On New Year Day, the ropeway operates early in the morning, allowing you to witness the first sunrise from the mountaintop and visit the power spot, Kuzuki Shrine, for the first shrine visit of the year.
Izu Panorama Park
Address: 260-1 Nagaoka, Izunokuni, Shizuoka 410-2211, Japan
Website: Izu Panorama Park
Opening hours: 9am - 5.30pm (daily)
Atami Onsen Sakuraya Ryokan, located at the entrance to Izu, is a popular tourist destination that attracts visitors throughout the year.
Winter to early spring is a particularly exciting time to visit, as there are many highlights to explore. The renowned power spot, Kinomiya Shrine, is highly recommended for New Year’s visits. Early-blooming plum blossoms and cherry blossoms are also popular attractions, with the Atami Plum Garden Festival and the Atami Sakura Ito River Cherry Blossom Festival held from January to February.
7. Izu Nagaoka Strawberry Picking Center, Izunokuni
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
From January to March, Izu Nagaoka Strawberry Picking Center offers all-you-can-eat sessions of Shōhime and Beni Hoppe, sweet and juicy strawberries available in Shizuoka Prefecture. The greenhouse is designed with high trellises, allowing you to pick strawberries while standing. There’s no need to bend over, making it suitable even for those with weak legs. The wide pathways also accommodate wheelchair users. It’s a great activity for families, including elderly individuals and young children.
8. Shimoda Undersea Aquarium, Shimoda
Posted by on Friday, September 23, 2022
Shimoda Undersea Aquarium, located in the natural inlet of Shimoda Bay, is a popular attraction featuring adorable marine creatures such as penguins, seals, and dolphins. It offers entertaining shows and various events. During the winter season, they have special exhibition tanks themed around Christmas and conduct feeding shows where Santa Claus presents food to the fish.
Shimoda Undersea Aquarium
Address: 22-31 Sanchome, Shimoda, Shizuoka 415-0023, Japan
Website: Shimoda Undersea Aquarium
Opening hours: 9.30am - 4.30pm (daily)
Price: 15.37 USD
9. Shuzenji, Izu
Shuzenji is said to be the oldest among the many hot spring resort towns in Izu. Due to its nostalgic streets, it is also known as Little Kyoto of Izu.
Shuzenji Temple" and Bamboo Forest Path located in the heart of the town are also must-see spots. After exploring the town during the cold winter, warm up and relax at the historic hot springs.
10. Nishiizu Skyline, Izu
Running from Toda Pass to Dohi Pass in Izu, Nishiizu Skyline is a popular road for driving and touring. It runs along the ridge line, offering magnificent views of Mt. Fuji and Suruga Bay. During winter, when there is less sea mist and haze, you can enjoy exceptionally clear scenery.
Enjoy winter sightseeing in Izu
While Izu enjoys a mild climate, winters can still be cold, and coastal areas can experience strong winds. Don’t forget to bundle up and take precautions for road freezing if you’re planning a drive or tour. Enjoy the unique winter journey in Izu!
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