Atami: Gateway to Izu. Atami means ‘warm ocean’ in Japanese. Hot springs are abundant in Atami and even gush forth from the ocean. Atami’s fame as a hot springs destination dates back to the 8th century. At it’s peak in the 1960’s, Atami was known for its resorts and entertainment, including onsen geisha. These days, Atami is still a popular tourist destination and also a bedroom community for people commuting to work in Tokyo/Yokohama.
Ito: Along with Atami and Beppu in southwestern Japan, Ito is one of the top three most abundant sources of hot springs water in Japan. A little further ‘off the beaten path’ than Atami, Ito is the place to leisurely soak in onsen culture. There are over 150 inns, hotels and resorts with hot springs in Ito. Rich in history, Ito also features beautiful natural settings, a variety of eccentric museums, a bicycle racing stadium, and lots of annual festivals and events.
Higashi Izu: Higashi Izu town is famous for its kinmedai fish and handmade fabric dolls. Kinmedae is a variety of snapper that is usually served braised in a soy sauce base. The dolls are a unique version of the dolls used to celebrate Girl’s Day in Japan (March 3). Traditionally, sitting dolls are lined up on a tiered display at home. The dolls made in Higashi Izu are strung together and hung from the ceiling. It’s a craft passed on from generation to generation. Higashi Izu is also noted for its city owned wind farm and a mountain meadow called Hosono Kougen, which offers spectacular views of the seven Izu islands.
Kawazu: Eastern gateway to the interior mountains and Izu’s famous nanadaru (seven waterfalls).
Shimoda: Famous for the site of America’s first treaty with Japan and its first consulate office.
Minami Izu: known for beautiful ocean views, ocean kayaking, and diving with hammerhead sharks of Mikimoto Island.
Izu no Kuni: