South Izu - Ocean Getaway from Tokyo


Our family dreamed of crystal clear blue sea and nice sea food for our three-day getaway, but it must be easily accessible from Tokyo. It seemed like an impossible dream, but it is something that can actually come true. Although lesser-known, southern part of Izu peninsula (Minami Izu) is blessed with pristine nature with a subtropical ambience. The coastline is particularly scenic, both cobalt blue and white beaches and rugged idyllic coastline.


As a family with two kids living in urban Tokyo, family-friendly nature activities are must-do for our trip so that kids can learn something about our planet.

First, we did a light hiking beside Kawazu Nanadaru, seven waterfalls located along the upper course of Kawazu river. It takes just 20-30 minutes to reach Kamadaru, the one situated at the highest point. Each of seven waterfalls is unique and water creates mysterious color.

Though I am not an expert, trip around Izu stimulates our curiosity for geology. Volcanic activities in the past contributed to develop geographically unique features, such as columnar joint rocks considered to have been created via cooling of the host rock mass. We saw such rocks in Izu peninsula including Kawazu Nanadaru.


Then we moved to the shore side. Our kids enjoyed searching for creatures living in a rocky shallow shore. We found crabs, sea urchins and fish, which was a great education for kids to learn firsthand about rich ecosystem in the shore.


Irozaki, famous for the white lighthouse situated at the tip of Izu peninsula, has spectacular view of Pacific Ocean. It is amazing that two small shrines were built on the rugged cliff.

As for the other tourist attractions than scenic beauty, Shimoda has a few historical monuments since Shimoda was one of the two ports which opened in 1854 when Japan's first treaty with the United States was signed, bringing Japan's long self isolation policy to an end.


We stayed in Izu for two nights. The first night was spent in a family-owned minshuku-type inn for the first night. Though you cannot expect the same level of cleanness of facility and comfort as hotels or ryokan, it is interesting to include a minshuku experience at around 8000 yen per person ("save and splurge" in Izu). The food was fresh and great, since the inn was owned by fishermen's family.

Next day, we stayed in Toutei, which was the highlight of our trip. I cannot think of a place with nicer cobalt blue ocean view than Toutei. We are lucky to have a nice weather, contributing to create beautiful blue ocean color.

The fresh seafood was excellent. Raw robster (Ise-ebi), cooked red snapper and deep-fried shrimp are all beyond our expectation. If you like fresh fish and seafood, a nice ryokan in Izu is a paradice.

South izu is accessible either by train or driving. By train, it takes about 2.5 hours from Tokyo to Shimoda, the major city in South Izu area. If you want to move around, car is more convenient, though you have to be aware that driving time from Tokyo to Izu can be very long in peak seasons or weekend.