The history of Ito’s onsen dates back well over a thousand years. According to legend, the onsen were discovered during the Nara period…
If you’re looking to explore Japan and take a break from the crowds in Tokyo and Kyoto, Izu may be just the place you’re looking for. This peninsula located in the eastern part of Shizuoka Prefecture and is packed with natural beauty, history, and culture, making it a great option for tourists seeking an off the beaten path destination.
Everything about Japanese culture can be traced back to its rural villages. Japanese language, behavior, rituals, and diet can be traced back to a small village tucked away in a remote mountain valley.
How can that be? Let’s look at one lesson from language.
One of the first words a foreigner learns when studying Japanese is “gaijin,” 外人 which means ‘outsider.’ The more polite and socially accepted version of this word is “gaikokujin,” 外国人 which means ‘person from a foreign country.’ The word “gaijin” is strongly connected to the important concepts of “uchi” 内 and “soto” 外 in Japanese.
Local geologists describe Mt. Ōmuro as a scoria cone volcano – aka a cinder cone. “Cinder cones are the most common type of volcano in the world. They are small in comparison to the other types of volcanoes. In fact, they’re only tens to hundreds of meters in size. But at the same time, they’re very steep typically with a bowl-shaped crater at the summit.”
Izu’s geology is perhaps its most unique feature. For example, this peninsula is the only land mass in Japan that sits on the Philippine Sea Plate.
Because of its violent geological past, Izu has steep mountains that rise up from the sea. It was easier to reach Izu by boat than by land for most of its history. So much of Izu’s culture is a result of its geology.