15 Things To Do in Atami: Shizuoka

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Source: Izu Navi

Atami is a seaside city located on the picturesque Izu Peninsula. Part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, the city is home to many hot springs, being a popular tourist attraction. Check out this list of 15 things to do in this amazing city!

1. Visit the MOA Museum of Art

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Source: Uemura

The MOA Museum of Art exhibits a big collection of Japanese and East Asian art, such as paintings, sculptures, scrolls, porcelains and lacquer work. Some of the items are designated as National Treasures, like the “Red and White Ume Blossoms” by Ogata Korin. The museum is also excellently located above Atami, offering amazing views of the city and the ocean below. There are benches along the garden where visitors can sit and enjoy the landscape.

Information

  • Price: 1600 yen
  • Access:  a 7 minute ride on Izu Tokai Bus bound for MOA Museum of Art from Atami Station
  • Opening hour: 09:30
  • Closing hour: 16:30
  • Holiday: Every Thursday and the year end holidays
  • Website: http://www.moaart.or.jp/en/

2. Stay at a ryokan

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Source: Robert Young

A ryokan is a Japanese traditional inn. It is different from usual hotels, being furnished with traditional items such as paper screens, low tables, and futon bedding. The service is excellent with body massages, Japanese meals and sometimes dance performances. Most   ryokans have their own hot spring baths that can be enjoyed for a fee. Staying at this kind of inn is the perfect way of fully experiencing Japanese cuisine and customs.

3. Relax in a hot spring bath

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Source: Kzaral

Atami is one of the most famous hot spring resorts in Japan. Even the town’s name refers to this, as “Atami” means “hot ocean”. The water is high in salt content, having many benefits for diseases such as neuralgia. It is also very good for the skin, attracting many people who want to tone their bodies. Documents show that the first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate used to come to Atami to relax. He even went as far as having the water transported to his residence in Edo. Definitely enjoy these special waters!

4. Visit Atami Castle

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Source: Wikimedia

Atami Castle was built especially as a tourist attraction, even though the town did not originally have a castle. The building stands on the top of a mountain, offering excellent views of Atami, the ocean, and the surrounding hills. Visitors can dress up in Edo costumes or have fun solving Japanese riddles. The castle’s basement houses a game center and an ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) exhibition.  The area is very popular with tourists during the cherry blossom flowering time.

Information

  • Price: 900 yen
  • Access: a 5 minute walk from  Atami Ropeway Station
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour:  17:00
  • Holiday: none
  • Website: http://www.atamijyo.com/about_en

5. Enjoy diving

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Source: Jenny Mealing

Atami’s beautiful waters offer the perfect conditions for diving. With rocky formations, corals, sponges and a large number of sea creatures, the views are simply stunning. Sometimes larger fishes can be brought by currents from deeper waters, offering unique sights. Popular dive sites are: Chisen, Sodaine, Bitagane, Kosogadokutsu and the harbor area. Each site has its own specifics and levels of difficulty. Changing and shower facilities are located close to the diving sites.

6. Visit Kinomiya Shrine

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Source: Tanaka Juuyoh

Kinomiya Shrine in Atami is best known for its 2000 years camphor tree. Called “Great Camphor”, the tree has a circumference of 24 meters and it was designated as a national natural treasure. It is said that if you walk the pathway around the tree, you will live one year longer. The Great Camphor is associated with spiritual powers and many people come to pray in front of it. The tree is lit during the night, which creates a special atmosphere.

Information

  • Access: a 5 minute walk from Kinomiya Shrine bus station (take the bus bound for Nishiyama from Atami train station)
  • Opening hour: 08:30
  • Closing hour: 17:00
  • Holiday: none
  • Website: http://www.kinomiya.or.jp/

7. Attend a firework festival

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Source: veroyama

Firework festivals are held in Atami many times during the year. Nothing beats laying on the beach or relaxing on the top of a hill while watching the colorful explosions. The events are usually held in Atami Bay and the effect is even prettier as the fireworks reflect in the ocean’s water. The festivals take place every year in April, May, July, August, September, October, and December. The best views can be enjoyed from Atami Sun Beach and Atami Castle.

8. Visit the Atami Plum Garden

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Source: Art Poskanzer

The Atami Plum Garden is an attractive park with over 450 plum trees of 60 varieties. The trees in the garden begin blooming from early January, making it one of the first spots in Japan to see plum flowers every year. During the flowering season, there are many events being held, like instrument performances and dances. There are also many food stalls lining the park’s alley, selling delicious street food. You do not have to worry even if you miss the blooming period – the garden also shows its beauty in summer with many varieties of flowers, while autumn brings the wonderful colors of the maple trees.

9. Go to Izu Oshima Island

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Source: Guilhelm Vellut

Izu Oshima is the largest island of the Izu group and is connected to Atami by high-speed ferry. The ferries depart once a day, take one hour to get to the island and a one-way ticket costs about 5000 yen. There are many beautiful attractions to enjoy on the island, like Mount Mihara, stunning volcanic cliffs, Miharayama Onsen, Habu Town, Odoriko no Sato Museum and Habu Port Observation Deck. The highlight of the island is the caldera of Mount Mihatra. Visitors can climb to the top of the mountain and see the up close the caldera of the volcano that erupted in 1990.

10. See a show at the Atami Geigi Kenban Kaburenjo

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Source: Jon Rawlinson

The Geigi Kenban Kaburenjo is a theater specially built for geisha dances. A geisha is a Japanese entertainer that is specialized in various forms of art. In old Japan, they acted as hostess to entertain male guests.  At the Atami theater visitors can watch professional geisha dance, something that is rarely seen in other parts of Japan. Performances of the“Yumemachi flower dance”  are held every Saturday and Sunday.

Information

  • Access: a 10 minute walk from Kinomiya Station
  • Opening hour: 11:00
  • Closing hour: 11:40
  • Holiday: weekdays
  • Website: http://www.atami-geigi.jp/

11. Relax on Atami Sun Beach

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Source: Izu Navi

Atami Sun Beach is the main relaxation area in the city. Many people come for sunbathing, swimming or for enjoying various water sports. There is also an alley lined with palm trees where visitors can take a leisure walk. There are a number of hotels on the beach which offer beautiful views of the ocean. Beach equipment can be rented from the hotels or from specialized stores.

12. Eat local food

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Source: Jeremy Keith

The city is packed with restaurant offering all kinds of delicious dishes like tempura (battered and fried seafood or vegetables), sashimi, sushi rolls, barbecued chicken, shabu shabu (thinly sliced beef cooked with vegetables), curry or yakiniku (meat that is basted with a sauce then grilled). But the highlight of the city is seafood, with many restaurants  where you can enjoy various types of fresh seafood: shrimp, octopus, crab, squid, etc.

13. Visit the Izusan Jinja Shrine

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Source: Wikimedia

Izusan Jinja is a Shinto shrine in the forested hills of Atami. In ancient Japan, the volcanic activity and hot springs coming out of the ground were considered something done by gods, so a shrine was built to venerate those gods. The shrine is now known as a place to pray for marriage, attracting many couples or single persons who wish to marry. Visitors can also enjoy nice views of the ocean from the shrine’s grounds.

Information

  • Access: just outside Izusan Jinja bus station (take the bus from Atami train station)

14. Enjoy flowers at the Akao Herb and Rose Garden

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Source: Tony Alter

The Akao Herb and Rose Garden is a large park that overlooks Sagami Bay. The park features 12 themed gardens from around the world and has over 100.000 plants and 5.000 rose bushes. Besides the plants and roses, another point that makes it worth visiting is a very interesting tree in the Japanese garden that is said to be the biggest bonsai in the whole country. There is also a tea room which serves rose flavored drinks. Visitors can attend a workshop where they are taught to create flower themed objects from clay.

Information

  • Price: 1000 yen
  • Access: just outside Akao herb & Rose garden Station (take a bus bound for  Ajiro Asahicho from Atami train station)
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour:  17:00
  • Holiday: none
  • Website: http://www.i-akao.com/harb-rosegarden/

15. Go to Hatsushima Island

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Source: John Carkeet

Hatsushima is a small island just 10 kilometers north-west from Atami. It can be reached by a ferry which travels between the two places in 25 minutes.  Attractions on the island include Shima no Yu, a large bath with heated sea water, Island Camp Villa, a camping facility that offers amazing views of the ocean and R-Asia, a garden that boasts many tropical plants. It is also enjoyable to walk on the narrow road that surrounds the island.

Enjoy beautiful Atami!

Have a good trip and travel!

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Asia, Chubu Region, Japan, Shizuoka Prefecture