The Izu Peninsula is located on the gorgeous coastline southwest of Tokyo. Located only a few measly hours away by train, this is one of the most popular getaways for Tokyoites throughout the year, but especially in summer.
The Izu Peninsula is characterised by beautiful traditional hot springs, stunning coastlines, multiple beaches, and mountainous scenery. What makes it the perfect getaway throughout the year is that its climate is always on the mild side, and thus you won’t feel the extremes of summer or winter here.
Ito Onsen Town is located along the eastern side of the Izu Peninsula. It’s flanked by Atami and Shimoda, and together they make up the most developed cities across the peninsula. Because of this, you can expect there to be many activities (however laidback they are) to participate in and relax here.
Whilst Ito does offer developments that make it easy to access and find accommodation, it’s the mix of Old Japan through historic ryokans and untouched hilly terrain that make it a standout destination.
Read on as we detail all that Ito has to offer! But first, let’s have a look at what Ito looks like in this virtual tour:
How To Get To Ito Onsen
Ito can be accessed directly from Tokyo station. Simply hop on the JR Odoriko limited express train for 1.5 hours and you’re there! This method will cost only 4,500 yen one-way.
If you are traveling from the nearby Atami, there are multiple trains leaving the station that will only take 20-minutes and cost 330 yen one way.
Both train rides are fully covered by the JR Pass (as well as the JR Tokyo Wide Pass, JR East Nagano Pass, JR East Tohoku Pass, and JR East South Hokkaido Pass).
Where To Stay In Ito Onsen
Believe it or not, K’s House Ito Onsen is actually one of the reasons why people even consider visiting Ito. This historic ryokan feels like it’s been brought alive from a beautiful Japanese animation!
Located only a 7-minute walk from JR Ito Station, this place boasts communal hot spring baths and private hot spring baths free of charge. You can relax in the comfort of free Wi-Fi, three separate lounging areas, a fully-equipped kitchen, and even a mini library! Those with tattoos, fear not, for this is a completely tattoo-friendly place.
Just staying here feels like an experience in itself!
Book It Now: K’s House Ito Onsen – Historical Ryokan Hostel
This 4-star hotel is one of the top picks of the Ito Onsen district. Its distinct modern design is evident across the exterior and interior, but look out for the obvious demonstrations of Japanese design throughout.
There is a scrumptious on-site Asian restaurant, private onsen baths in certain rooms, a communal onsen for all guests, and it boasts a fantastic location – only a 10-minute walk from Ito Station and minutes from the convenient stores and supermarkets.
It may be described as a modern hotel but the distinct Japanese aesthetics throughout will make you feel like you’re in a cross between Old and New Japan. From tatami mat floors, exquisite Japanese cuisine, traditional hot springs, and beautiful Japanese decor, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Book It Now: Laforet Itoonsen Yunoniwa
The 8 Best Things To Do In Ito Onsen
Make sure you don’t miss these 8 activities while you visit Ito city and its surroundings:
- Mt Omuro
- Lake Ippeki
- Jogasaki Coast
- Yunohana Shopping Street
- Try Himono, a local specialty
- Relax in an outdoor onsen at Ito Onsen Otonashi no Moiri Ryokufuen
- Ito Orange Beach
1. Mount Omuro
Mount Omuro could almost be called the pride of Ito. This now-extinct volcano is located along the eastern coast of the Izu Peninsula and is one of the closest attractions to Ito.
There are many reasons why Mount Omuro is so popular – but the number one reason has got to be its unique appearance! It is shaped oddly like an inverted rice bowl, and its beautiful curves can be seen from miles away.
Mount Omuro is about 580m high and has a crater with a diameter of about 300m. It makes for a great half day trip. You must take a chair lift to get to the top of the mountain to walk around the crater.
From there, you can see views of Mount Fuji and Oshima Island (on a clear day!), and walking around the diameter of the crater will take around 20-30 minutes.
For the more adventurous, you can even try archery or paragliding whilst up there!
- Address: Ike, Itō, Shizuoka 413-0234, Japan
- Directions: From Ito Station, take a Shaboten Koen bound bus and alight at the final stop. It will take 40-minutes and cost 720 yen.
- Hours (chairlift): 9:00am – 7:15pm
- Cost: 700 yen.
After your visit, don’t forget to get a Momiji manju, you deserve it! 🙂
2. Lake Ippeki
Located only 6km south of Ito is Lake Ippeki, the largest lake in the Izu Peninsula. Given its size, you’d be surprised to find that exploring this lake is quite a peaceful experience.
Surrounding the lake are 12 looming islands and mountains which reflect beautifully in the waters on a quiet day. This reflection image is known to locals as ‘the eye of Izu’.
For those who want a no-frills, chill way to explore Ito, check out Lake Ippeki. You can bike ride, boat ride, and even fish here!
- Address: Yoshida, Itō, Shizuoka 414-0051, Japan
- Direction: From Ito Station, take the bus to Shaboten Park and alight at Lake Ippeki.
3. Jogasaki Coast
The jagged coastline of the Jogasaki Coast is a must explore when visiting Ito. It’s one of the most beautiful coastlines in all of Japan.
The hiking trail along the Jogasaki Coast is approximately 10km long and offers breathtaking views of the jagged cliffs and rock formations. You can walk this entire route or you can do certain sections of the route; the latter is more popular.
The most sought-after part of the trail is easily the 23m long Kadowakizaki Suspension Bridge, situated 48m above the sea. It sits right on the cliff edge so on one side, you have the vast ocean and on the other, you see luscious greenery.
Close by to the bridge, you can also access a lighthouse with an observation deck for free where you can see another perspective of the coastline as well as Oshima Island (on a clear day!).
- Address: Futo, Itō, Shizuoka 413-0231, Japan
- Directions: From Izu Kogen Station, take a bus bound for Kaiyo Koen and alight at Izu Kaiyo Koen. This will take 10-minutes and cost 250 yen. Alternatively, you can walk from Jogasaki Kaigan Station and reach the Jogasaki Coastline in 20-30 minutes.
4. Tokaikan Former Ryokan
Tokaikan is an old ryokan (built in 1928) that sits in the centre of Ito City. It was built during the exclusive Showa period and is one of the few still-standing ones from that era.
It was still operating as a ryokan up until 1997, when it went through some refurbishments and came through the other side as a historical and cultural sightseeing spot.
Nowadays, the three-story structure is a wonderful place to discover the intricacy of former ryokan rooms with their distinct wood carvings and designs. There are also exhibition rooms and even a tea room where visitors can relax with rea and wagashi.
The baths of Tokaikan are open for bathing on weekends and public holidays.
- Address: 12-10 Higashimatsubaracho, Itō, Shizuoka 414-0022, Japan
- Directions: It is a 7-minute walk from Ito Station.
- Hours: 9:00am – 9:00pm
- Cost: 200 yen
5. Yunohana Shopping Street
If you’re looking to break-up your sightseeing itinerary with a little shopping, check out the little Yunohana shopping street, located just outside the station.
This small shopping strip is made of narrow alleys flanked by cute shop fronts.
From convenience stores to generation-owned restaurants selling all sorts of Japanese cuisine, to souvenir stores selling trinkets and such, you’ll find everything you need at Yunohana shopping street.
We recommend loading up on some food before you begin your exploring!
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6. Try Himono, a local specialty!
As with most little Japanese towns, there is a specialty dish here, and that is himono! Himono is essentially butterflied and air-dried seafood (specifically fish!). Given its proximity to the ocean, this should not come as a surprise!
The method of drying out the seafood is particular; you can either use a machine to dry it out, or you can use the sun-drying method, which is what some of the older restaurants still do.
There are many restaurants in Ito selling himono, with some shops even displaying funky displays of himono at the front of their shops! Lots of local hotels and ryokan also offer himono as part of their breakfast sets as well.
One of the oldest and most revered himono shops is Yamakuni Himono Shop. You can even purchase some to take back home!
- Address: 2 Chome-1-16 Yukawa, Itō, Shizuoka 414-0002, Japan
- Hours: 8:00am – 5:00pm
- Recommendations: squid salted fish, pacific saury mirin, horse mackerel
7. Relax in an outdoor onsen at Ito Onsen Otonashi no Moiri Ryokufuen
The outdoor onsen of Ryokufuen is one of the most popular onsen spot in Ito. Not only does this place offer a well-rounded, peaceful experience of bathing outdoors, but the stunning traditional wooden architecture of the entire building, from the corridor, stairs, all the way to the guestrooms, is sure to please everyone.
Whilst this place is also a ryokan to stay overnight in, it’s a popular day-trip for those just looking for an unforgettable onsen experience and nothing more. You want find a lot of tourists here so you will really get an authentic onsen experience with mostly locals only.
- Address: 3-1 Otonashicho, Itō, Shizuoka 414-0032, Japan
- Directions: From Ito Station, it is about a 12-minute walk.
- Price: 1,890/50 minutes for a private onsen bath
8. Ito Orange Beach
Of course, we can’t complete a list of Ito without at least one mention of a beach!
Ito Orange beach is actually one of the best beaches in the area for swimming. It’s right by close to the town and thus is super accessible. It offers beautiful views of the ocean and great picture opportunities of the waters and surrounding mountains.
Given that it’s close to a volcanic area, the sand isn’t pure white but you’d be surprised by just how soft it is!
- Address: 4 Yukawa, Itō, Shizuoka 414-0002, Japan
- Directions: It’s a 6-minute walk from Ito station.
How To Get Around In Ito Onsen
The attractions around Ito are generally not too far away from the main city or even each other, and thus either walking or catching a local bus will suffice.
To make the most of your time and money, we recommend purchasing a special 1-day pass offered by Tokai Bus. This pass will allow you to travel through central Ito, Izu Kogen and across Jogasaki Coast. You can purchase this at Ito Station.
You can visit Omuro-san, Ippeki Lake, and explore the Jogasaki coast with this pass. The trip from Ito Station to Tokaikan is also fully covered by this pass.
The Izu Peninsula has so much to offer, and being only a few hours out from Tokyo, it should definitely be on everyone’s list to visit!
A day trip will suffice the most basic traveller, but for those who are after a real taste of the seaside life in Japan, we highly recommend a weekend trip here.
With gorgeous coastlines, unique local cuisine, stunning mountain scenery, and super easy transportation methods, what more could you want of a little getaway from Tokyo?
If you want to explore more places in Izu peninsula, you can also check out Shuzenji Onsen Town!