Izukogen is located on the eastern coast of Izu Peninsula in Ito City, Shizuoka Prefecture. It is a popular resort area for Tokyoites because it is not far from Tokyo. There are many beaches, hot springs and sightseeing spots around the peninsula.
Jogasaki has an intricate coastline with lava. The lava was flowed from Mount Omuro which made a big eruption about 4,000 years ago. The lava coastline spreads about 9 km and there is a hiking trail along the coast. It is a comfortable walking course with some nice view spots on the way.
The most popular part of the coast is the area around the Kadowakizaki Lighthouse. You can walk on the black lava and look down the ocean with crushing waves. There is a suspension bridge on the ocean from one lava cape to another. It is very thrilling walking above the ocean. Many movies and TV dramas have been filmed there.
Mount Omuro is an active volcano with the height of 580 meters. It has a beautiful cone-shape. It was created by the eruption about 4,000 years ago. It is said that the eruption lasted about 10 years. The lava from the mountain made the unique coast line of Jogasaki. There is a crater on the summit with the diameter of 250 meters and the depth of 40 meters. They burn the grasses on the slope every year on the second Sunday of February. It started about 700 years ago to grow good pampers grass.
You can go up to the top by the chair lift. It takes 6 minutes. Then you can walk around the creator while enjoying a magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean and Izu-Oshima Island. On a clear day, you may see a few of the Izu Seven Islands. You can see Mt. Fuji on the other side.
Around the mountain is called Sakura-no-Sato. The main season of cherry blossom is from late March to early April, but there are 40 species of cherry trees and you can enjoy the flower from September to June.
Izu Shaboten Dobutsu Koen (Cactus and Animal Park)
Izu Shaboten Dobutsu Koen is a theme park of cactus and animals opened in 1959. You find it close to the Mount Omuro. There are five greenhouses of cactus. They are South American Pavilion, African Pavilion, Madagascar Pavilion, Mexican Pavilion and Forest Cactus Pavilion respectively. They exhibit many types of unique cactus all the year round by keeping the best environment for the cactus.
Other than the cactus, they showcase several animals, such as chimpanzees, lamas, ling-tailed lemurs, squirrel monkeys, etc. Among them the most popular animal is capibara. They have become very famous because they take bath in a hot spring in winter.
There are restaurants and souvenir shops in the park.
Lake Ippeki is a beautiful lake near Izu Kogen. It is a small crater lake with the size of 0.23 km2. It is shallow, the average depth is only 2.2 meters and the maximum depth is 7 meters. It was created by the hydrovolcanic explosion about 103,000 year ago.
It is nicknamed as the Eye of Izu. You can walk around the lake which is about 3.7 km. In the lake live bluegills which are released by the Emeritus Emperor more than 70 years ago when he was a Crown Prince.
Cherry Blossom Street
There are many cherry blossom viewing spots in Izu Kogen including Mount Omuro. Among them, the most famous place is called Sakuranamiki which is a three-kilometer sloping road. There are about 600 cherry trees on both sides of the road and when the season arrives in late March or early April, it becomes like a long cherry tunnel.
There are some coffee shops and souvenir shops along the road.
Second Houses and Retirement Houses
Izu area has a moderate climate and people can enjoy the nature and the nice view of the ocean. So, the area attracts a lot of tourists. At the same time people own second houses or some people move to Izu after their retirement. Izu Kogen may be the most popular area for them because of its proximity to Tokyo and the convenience of transportation and many shops, supermarkets and restaurants in the area.
Hot Spring (hotels and day use facilities)
Another reason why they choose Izu Kogen is because of hot spring. There are many hot spring hotels and day use facilities. Also you can introduce hot spring water to your houses and bathe in it every day. Japanese people really love hot spring.
You can enjoy fresh sea food. There is a fish market close to Izukogen. So there are many sea food restaurants. Amanokoya offers very good food and atmosphere. They built a restaurant on the ocean, so you will feel as if you are in the middle of the ocean. One of their specialties is a sea food miso soup served in a huge cup.
From Tokyo Station: Take JR Odoriko-go Express. It goes directly to Izukogen Station. It takes about 2 hours 15 minutes.