Atami is what the Japanese refer fondly to as a city stuck in ‘yester-year’.
Upon stepping foot into this city that operated at its peak for only a transient period, you’ll notice its unique beauty. Much like the Amalfi Coast in Italy, beautiful structures spread out along the coast. They stand tall and in deep contrast to the rolling mountains the background and gentle lull of the ocean in the foreground.
However, don’t presume that these tall resort buildings means that there is a constant bustle of visitors. For all its unique beauty and easy access from Tokyo, it’s surprisingly calm and de-void of large crowds and noise.
Still, it is known that Atami is one of the top places to visit for hot springs in the country. Located along the north-eastern coast of Shizuoka, it offers the unique experience of bathing along the water rather than in the mountains.
It’s a popular one amongst the locals for its location as well as versatility in being a wonderfully fun and relaxing getaway across all seasons of the year. Make it a weekend trip, an overnight trip, or even a day trip!
How to get to Atami?
Atami’s location on Shizuoka’s coast makes it easily serviced by Shinkansen and local trains.
From Tokyo, simply take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen and hop off at Atami. This trip will take just under an hour and cost 4,000-yen one way.
If you’re looking for a more cost-effective method and don’t mind the longer travel time, local trains also service this route. They will generally cost around half the price (2,000 yen), and can take up to 120 minutes.
Where to stay in Atami?
The ryokan Watei Kazekomichi is located higher up in the mountains and boasting sweeping views of the city is an absolute treat. It takes all the elements of a traditional Japanese inn and synonymously weaves them in with modern day creature comforts such as free private parking, on-site restaurant, free Wi-Fi, and even a flat-screen TV!
Its location is close to the station as well as multiple other local attractions such as Kinomiya Shrine, MOA Museum of Art, and Nagahama Beach.
All Japanese style rooms come with a stunning open-air onsen – depending on which one you select, you will either get tranquil views of the lush mountains or expansive views of the city and ocean.
Book It Now: Watei Kazekomichi
From the outside, Onsen Sakuraya Ryokan embodies the look and feel of an ancient ryokan in the forest. Towering trees, rock formations, winding branches and trunks, and wooden structures everywhere you look – this ryokan is certainly unique!
Don’t let the traditional look fool you though – everything you need will be at your fingertips here. It offers air-conditioning to all guest rooms, free Wi-Fi, private bathrooms, private parking, a flat-screen TV, and even spa and wellness services.
There is a hot spring bath and a sauna on-site for all guests to use freely as well.
Book It Now: Atami Onsen Sakuraya Ryokan
For a more wallet-friendly alternative, the funky Guest House MARUYA is what hipster dreams are made of! Think feature walls with fun prints, chilled out shared lounge spaces, an onsite cafe, and overall relaxing vibes.
Guest House MARUYA offers comfortable and cosy capsule-style rooms for guests with fluffy Japanese futon bedding. This may be a far cry from the spacious ryokan rooms mentioned above, but you can’t beat the location of this guest house – it’s smack bang in the middle of the city.
If you’re looking for a basic and comfy place to sleep whilst you’re out exploring, this is the place to be!
Book It Now: Guest House MARUYA
The 10 Best Things To Do In Atami
Here’s our top 10 activities you should not miss when you travel to Atami:
- Enjoy early Sakura at Itogawa River
- Sun Beach
- Atami Castle
- MOA Museum of Art
- Try the local food
- Nikkotei Oyu Onsen
- Kinomiya Shrine
- Atami Plum Garden
- Ocean Spa Fuua Atami
- Atami Nakamise Shotengai
1. Enjoy early Sakura at Itogawa River
If you’re looking for a place where sakura flowers bloom a little earlier than usual, check out the Itogawa River. There is an annual cherry blossom festival that happens there between mid-January until mid February every year which celebrates the gorgeous blossoming of these flowers.
During this festival, the paths leading around the river are lit up and present a stunning vision. This is an especially perfect location for those who want to enjoy the cherry blossoms without the massive crowds usually experienced in Tokyo.
Watch how it looks like here:
2. Sun Beach
Sun Beach is reminiscent of a tropical paradise you’d expect to see in Hawaii or Bali. With its swaying palm trees and extensive sandy bays, it’s the perfect location for a summer getaway with the family.
The atmosphere is super relaxing here, so you can pretty much do whatever you want to your heart’s content. Sunbake, play volleyball, go swimming (during July – August), nap, read a book – you do you.
At night, the beach is lit up so that it creates a fun vibe for those looking to take some stunning pictures.
3. Atami Castle
Atami Castle looks every bit a beautiful historical Japanese castle, but don’t be fooled – it’s not!
Instead, it’s a stunning castle that was actually built circa mid-1950s when there was a massive tourist boom in the area. Whilst it does have information inside pertaining to the history of the Edo and Sengoku period in Japan, you can say that it’s more of an amusement park.
There’s some samurai weaponry that you can check out, a floor dedicated to graphic shunga, and even an arcade in the basement of the castle!
These are all fun to explore, however the number one reason why people head to Atami Castle would be for the observatory. This lookout provides an expansive breathtaking view of the whole of Atami.
- Address: 1993 Atami, Shizuoka 413-0033, Japan
- Price: 1,000 yen
- Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm
4. MOA Museum of Art
This extensive museum of art boasts a collection of around 3,500 items! If you’re one to enjoy languidly perusing museums, reading up on artifacts and history and observing paintings, this is the perfect place for you.
The collection at MOA Museum of Art is a perfect blend of national treasures and cultural properties, including paintings, sculptures, calligraphy and other crafts.
The museum itself is situated on an elevated part of the mountain and commands a stunning view of Atami. The Japanese-style garden makes for a peaceful stroll when you’re in between exploring. If you want the full experience, settle down for some relaxing tea at the Golden Tea Room which is located onsite.
- Address: 26-2 Momoyamacho, Atami, Shizuoka 413-8511, Japan
- Cost: 1,600 yen
- Hours: 9:30am – 4:30pm (closed Thursdays)
5. Try Atami local food
Given the location of Atami (right by the waters), you can imagine just how fresh and abundant the seafood is here! If you’re visiting, you absolutely need to stop by a local restaurant to sample their catch of the day and freshly caught findings from the sea.
A popular choice at Atami would Maguroya, a restaurant that is famous for its fresh seafood dishes. Its most popular dish would be the Maguro-don, or tuna rice bowl. Made of fluffy white rice topped with nori, generous sized slides of tuna sashimi and wasabi, it’s amazing that this bowl is only 500 yen!
- Address: Japan, 〒413-0011 Shizuoka, Atami, Tawarahoncho
- Hours: 11:00am – 3:00pm, 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Another popular choice is Shogyo. Shogyo is located at the lower end of Ajiro Bay. Whilst it doesn’t have one ‘best’ dish per se, the seafood here is praised as being some of the best prepared in the entire area. It’s a favourite amongst the locals!
- Address: 55-8 Ajiro, Atami, Shizuoka 413-0103, Japan
- Hours: 11:00am – 3:00pm, 5:00pm – 9:00pm (closed Wednesdays)
6. Nikkotei Oyu Onsen
This onsen place is the perfect spot for those looking to experience an indulgent hot spring bath without traveling too far from Tokyo. Nikkotei Oyu Onsen is a popular inn that welcomes one-day tourists to experience its hot spring baths.
The baths are built surrounded by bamboo trees and lots of greenery, giving off a relaxing vibe. If you’d like to book private rooms, they also have a room that can accommodate up to 5 people, which is great if you’re traveling with a family or small group of friends.
- Address: 5-26 Kamijukucho, Atami, Shizuoka 413-0018, Japan
- Cost: 1,000 yen per person
- Hours: 9:00am – 8:00pm
7. Kinomiya Shrine
This shrine has a special place in the hearts of the Atami population, as it has long been believed to be the home of the guardian deity of Atami. Located right next to the main hall, there is an ancient antediluvian tree known as Ogusu that’s existed for over two millennia. What an amazing feat!
If you’re visiting towards the end of the day, stick around for the light up of the tree, it’s gorgeous!
- Address: 43-1 Nishiyamacho, Atami, Shizuoka 413-0034, Japan
- Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm
8. Atami Plum Garden
This special plum garden has been around since 1886, and is one of the most beautiful plum gardens across the country.
Boasting a whooping 464 apricot trees from 58 different species planted across the garden, it attracts visitors from as early as mid-December.
There are apricot festivals held from early January to early March, with peak times during late January to early February. If you’re visiting during this period, make sure you grab a warm up of amazake whilst going for the stroll around the park!
9. Ocean Spa Fuua Atami
Ocean Spa Fuua is the epitome of a luxury 5-star wellness complex. Fuua is located within the Atami Bay Resort and is jaw-dropping inside and out. From its staggering eight different lounges and terraces to relax in, to the multiple detox and sauna rooms, it’s the all-inclusive dedicated wellness centre you didn’t know you needed.
And this is without mentioning its star attraction.
Fuua Ocean Spa actually boasts the biggest outdoor standing hot spring bath in all of Japan.
This stunning attraction offers magnificent views that overlook the ocean. It offers quite the experience!
Fuua Ocean Spa also boasts three salons that offer relaxation and beauty treatment services as well.
You’d be crazy not to pay a visit to this place! Best of all, it’s open to all one-day trippers!
- Address: 10-1 Wadahamaminamicho, Atami, Shizuoka 413-8626, Japan
- Cost: Adult: 2,500 yen, Child: 1,800 yen
- Hours: 10:00am – 11:00pm (entry closes at 10:00pm)
10. Atami Nakamise Shotengai
Lastly, you cannot leave a wonderful place like Atami without first scouring the place for some souvenirs. What better place to go looking for this stuff than the dedicated shopping strips!
The Atami Nakamise Shotengai streets are close to Atami Station and offer an amazing array of eating and drinking options for people of all ages.
If you’re looking for an Atami special, don’t look past the Atami staple souvenir: onsen manju. The literal translation of this means manju (Japanese dough balls filled with bean) which have been steamed over an onsen. However, in Atami, it’s a widely used term for most manju sold.
Explore to your heart’s content.
Address: 6-2 Tawarahoncho, Atami, Shizuoka 413-0011, Japan (just outside Atami station)
With most day trips, you’d probably only go once and move on to new destinations. However, the pull back to relaxing and chilled-out Atami is one that some can’t ignore.
From relaxing in beautiful onsen facilities to dining on incredibly fresh fish, there isn’t much else you need for a memorable day-trip.
Only 45-minutes away from Tokyo lies this slice of seaside paradise that will charm even the most cynic of travellers.