Road Trip on Izu KyukoLine (Part 1)
This week, join us as we travel on the Izukyu Line, which runs along the east coast of Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture.
This week, join us as we travel on the Izukyu Line, which runs along the east coast of Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture. It began operating in 1961 as a sightseeing line and is still popular among tourists as there are several hot springs along the route. It spans 45.7km and has 16 stations, from Izukyu-Shimoda to Ito. We begin our journey of enquiry and discovery from Izukyu-Shimoda Station. We buy a ticket which allows us to make unlimited stops along the line over two days.
We board the 9.35am train and our first stop is the next station Rendaiji, about five minutes away. We plan to take either the 10.20am or 10.45am train from here later. A man we come across tells us about a place which enshrines Dainichi Buddha and where there is a 117-step stairway. We make our way there and get to see the Dainichi Buddha Sitting Statue, which has been designated as a National Important Cultural Property. It used to be enshrined at Rendaiji Temple, which existed in this area during the Nara period. The temple “disappeared” as time passed, leaving only this statue.
We have missed our train so we take the next available one and head to Kawazu Station. At 11.45am, we arrive at Kawazu, known for its Kawazu-zakura cherry blossoms and other beautiful flowers which bloom throughout the year. We speak to a taxi driver who suggests we check out the Carnation Exhibition Garden. It boasts more than 360 kinds of carnations, numbering 14,000 in total.
After visiting the garden, we are hungry so ask around about restaurants. A resident we speak to mentions Umihiro, which specialises in raw fish. It has been around for about seven years and serves a variety of fish caught in the waters of Izu. We order the sashimi platter, which includes horse mackerel, flounder, amberjack, tuna and squid. It is served with fresh wasabi, a local product of Kawazu.
At 1.40pm, we take the train from Kawazu to Imaihama-Kaigan Station. There, we speak to a gardener who recommends an open-air bath called Funado no Banya, which opened around four years ago. It offers a superb view of the Sagami Sea and there is also a foot bath. In the dining area, one can enjoy a barbecue of turban shells, dried seafood and local vegetables.
Next, we take the 3.05pm train to Izu-Inatori Station. This time, we travel on the Black Ship, a resort train which operates twice a day. It has “panorama” seats and large windows which allow passengers to fully enjoy the sea view. The ride lasts five minutes and at Izu-Inatori, we drop by a souvenir shop in front of the station. The owner tells us about the Boys’ Festival, which is usually held on May 5 at Hinano Yakata, located within the Cultural Park. We walk to the site, where we see nearly 160 hanging doll decorations. They have been a tradition in this area since the Edo period. Each handmade doll has a different meaning and represents a wish for one’s child to be happy and healthy.
After visiting the Cultural Park, we look for a place to stay. Inatori Onsen, a hot spring district located at the cape of Izu Peninsula, has seven hotels. We decide to spend the night at Senoumi, which is recommended by a local resident.
1) Some local lines have railway passes which allow unlimited train rides along the route
2) The town of Kawazu is known for its early-blooming cherry blossoms