Izu Peninsula – Rugged Coastline

I’m back in eastern Japan after about 5 weeks of traveling around like it was my job (what a job that would be!). After meeting up with some Japanese friends (whom I met during the Cialthon event I did) yesterday at their university in Kyoto for lunch, I hopped on a shinkansen (bullet train) heading east for the Izu Peninsula (izu hantou).

Izu Peninsula is a (you guessed it) peninsula that juts out about 100 km south of the Tokyo region. It’s not particularly well-known to foreign tourists, and is even seen as something of an old-people’s area amongst the Japanese (the friends I mentioned above kept asking me why I was going to Izu Peninsula). Well, this is why:

Cape Irozaki at the southern tip of the peninsula

Cape Irozaki at the southern tip of the peninsula

Izu Peninsula, especially the southern end, has vast stretches of relatively unspoiled coastline. Rocky cliffs stoop over the churning waters of the Pacific, and on clear days (like today, thank god) it offers spectacular panaromas.

First thing though, my hostel is in Ito, a city on the eastern coast of the peninsula. I woke up early today since I had some traveling to do to the southern tip, and took a quick dip in my hostel’s onsen before heading off. From Ito, it’s a 1-hour train ride to Shimoda followed by a 40-minute bus to Cape Irozaki.

Bus taking the scenic route

Bus taking the scenic route

The bus drops you off at the bottom of the cape, and after receiving directions from the helpful bus driver, I walked the remaining 15 minutes up the side of the cliff. There are a few vantage points overlooking the cape, the most famous (well, not really famous) of which houses the Irozaki Lighthouse.

Walking up to the cliff

Walking up to the cliff

After a relatively steep walk, I could suddenly catch glimpses of the rocks and waves below, before the path cleared of trees and opened up onto the view I had been waiting for (and why I scurried down the Izu coastline).

Irozaki Lighthouse and the ocean in the background

Irozaki Lighthouse and the ocean in the background

The lighthouse itself was closed, but it didn’t matter since the small rock observatory right below it was the perfect spot to see out.

The rock observatory

The rock observatory

I could see the Izu Peninsula to my left, the Izu Islands straight ahead, and many more cliffs veering off to my right. It was a little chilly and windy, but I had no complaints since it was sunny.

Can't get enough of the cliffs in shadow

Can’t get enough of the cliffs in shadow

After puttering around the observatory for 45 minutes, I headed back down, walking together with an elderly Japanese couple whose photo I had just taken. They were such kind people, and even offered me a ride back to Shimoda since they were driving there next. Since I had already bought my round-trip bus ticket, I had to say no but it’s amazing how nice some people in the world are, and the small periods in which you meet them.

All in all, it was a successful sightseeing day, but more meaningful to me was the spontaneous meetings you have with complete strangers. The husband of the couple kept telling me how impressive it is for me to have studied Japanese in the US and then travel throughout Japan. He said he could never have done that. I was definitely grateful to their kindness, and am glad I am meeting such people through these 10 weeks.

Edge of the observatory

Edge of the observatory

Anyway, that’s it for now. Thanks as always for reading.

Here are a few more pics:

The view opening up as I climbed the cape

The view opening up as I climbed the cape

Closeup of the Irozaki Lighthouse

Closeup of the Irozaki Lighthouse

Walkway down from the lighthouse

Walkway down from the lighthouse

Rocks jutting out of the ocean

Rocks jutting out of the ocean

There was also a small shrine at the top of ththe cape

There was also a small shrine at the top of the cape

Looking back to the walkway down to the rock observatory

Looking back to the walkway down to the rock observatory

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5 responses to “Izu Peninsula – Rugged Coastline

  1. Beautiful, simply beautiful, the rock observatory. Of course,
    the path towards the observatory, bit difficult for a person
    like me. The view opening up as you climbed the cape is awesome.
    Rocks jutting out of the ocean simply marvelous. Keep going
    dear Bittudada.

  2. Hi Bittu,
    Izu is stunning!! Lovely pics!! The rock observatory is so beautiful. Really enjoying your journey with you. Keep the posts coming…..
    God bless…..

  3. Absolutely amazing scenic views you have captured with your eyes and shared with us. I am so grateful to you for sharing your experience with me for the past 7 weeks. Waiting for your next blog! Take care. JSK JSJS

  4. Simply breath taking pics & very thought provoking writing but more imp is ur humble nature that always shines out thru ur blog. Very proud of ur achievements Bittu & God Bless…JSK 🙏
    Luv always ❤️
    Mom.

  5. Lovely & stunning pictures of the Izu peninsula. I can feel your thoughts on being there, on reading your blog.
    Sanjay

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