Ito Marine Town is located in Ito in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. It is a roadside station where you can dine, shop, take a sightseeing boat, and even relax in a hot spring. In recent years, these roadside stations, known as Michi-no-Eki, are becoming more popular in Japan, especially along roads where many tourists pass by in tour buses and cars. This is where you can get your hands on experiences from the local area that you are traveling to. Many Michi-no-Eki usually only provide places to eat and shop, but because Ito Marine Town is located in the famous hot spring area, this Michi-no-Eki is particularly popular and special because you get to hop into a hot spring.
Enjoy local food at Ito Marine Town
Most people use a roadside station between their travel destinations to dine, and this is exactly what most people visit Ito Marine Town for. Since Shizuoka Prefecture is known for its rich ocean life, you get to eat a lot of great local seafood at this location. If you are visiting Japan for food, particularly good seafood, this is one of the locations where you’ll want to try good seafood for sure. You will not regret it! Of course, for those who just want to snack, there are also sweets and snack options as well, thus you do not need to eat a full meal, but could leave enough space to have a big feast at the hotel you are staying at.
Relax and stretch your legs at the Seaside Spa
One of the biggest attractions at Ito Marine Town is the hot spring facility called “Seaside Spa.” The bath area is not as large as other one day hot spring locations, but for those traveling for hours between destinations, it is a good stop to dip into a relaxing hot spring for a little bit before continuing driving. The price for regular hours is 1000 JPY (8.8 USD) for adults, but the price changes during peak times to 1500 JPY (13 USD) on Japanese national holidays, so you may want to check the price before you enter. There is a sauna as well as a few different baths, and for those who are interested, you can pay extra to get a spa treatment as well.
If you do not need to get a full hot spring experience, there is also an outdoor hot spring section for feet. It is called “ashiyu,” and is a hot spring for feet. This outdoor foot hot spring is free and open to anybody who visits, so you could at least get your feet free and relax. Just be warned though that you may see some dogs bathing at some areas of this ashiyu spots, and indeed, there is a section where dogs can enjoy ashiyu with people at Ito Marine Town.
Find Shizuoka’s best produce as your souvenirs
In the middle of Ito Marine Town, you can find a lot of vendors, selling Shizuoka’s own produce. As well as rich ocean life, Shizuoka is known for its clean water, thus is famous for good wasabi. Wasabi, most people are likely to be familiar with it from sushi, can only be grown where there is clean water, and Shizuoka is famous for its wasabi. Here, you can find souvenirs, like wasabi rice powders, that you can take home if you want to bring true wasabi from Shizuoka to your home country.
Of course, for those who enjoy Japanese sake, this is also a great place to find the local specialties. If you travel around Japan, you realize that each place has its own unique sake and this is also where you can find sake from the Ito area. Of course, if you happen to be driving, please do not test the sake, but let your companions try it for you. If you are traveling on a train or a bus, you can definitely sip a little and test it to find what may suit your taste.
Take a walk and enjoy a Japanese marine town
If you happen to have time, you may like to walk around Ito after visiting Ito Marine Town. From the center of Ito, Ito Marine Town is about 15 or so minutes on foot, and if the weather is lovely, it is a nice quick walk along the Japanese beach. There are a lot of great hotels and ryokans where they do one day hot spring passes, so you may like to try a few hot springs around the town. In addition, for those who enjoy traditional Japanese wooden architecture, there is this historical building called “Tokaikan”, which you can visit to view the beautiful architecture inside and out and is only 200 JPY (1.76 USD) for adults and 100 JPY (0.88 USD) or children to visit. Tokaikan is also where a Japanese comic, which later became a series of movies, Thermae Romae, was modeled after. It is a story of Japanese and Roman bath culture and Tokaikan was modeled for a crucial scene of the story. Since then, it has attracted comic fans to this historical site.
Enjoy your choice of Ito local specialties
Ito Marine Town is a good place to visit before and after your adventure in Ito. If you visit before your adventure, you get to learn all the things special to Ito, so that when you visit the rest of the area, you know what to eat, try, and experience. If you visit after your adventure in Ito, you can purchase souvenirs that you missed during your adventure and also try the last bit of Shizuoka before you travel back to where you started. In addition, for those who want to do little more than eating and shopping, you can always get on a boat to explore a little more of this area out in the ocean or relax at a hot spring to treat yourself. From young to old, you can find at least an activity or two at Ito Marine Town before you move onto your next travel destination.
Of course, the parking is free. The parking lot can accommodate 273 cars and 9 large buses so there is plenty of space to park. If you are visiting from Ito train station, it is 15 minutes or so on foot along National Road 135 to the west from the station.
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