The Other Side of Izu
The Izu Peninsula makes up the eastern quarter of Shizuoka Prefecture. While Tokyo surfers flock to the busy east coast of the peninsula, the quiescent western side is known for swimming, SCUBA diving, and hot spring resorts.
In the northwest, the town of Heda features a sandspit beach and sumptuous taka-ashi-gani, giant crabs hauled up from the depths of Suruga Bay. Halfway down the coast, the town of Toi offers a variety of hot spring hotels, while further south in Dogashima, ferries regularly tour the caves hidden among the rocky cliffs. Matsuzaki, the last large town in the southwest, offers excellent pasta and pizza—the latter only if you can catch it, as the Pizza Bus tours the peninsula with its built-in stone oven. Beyond Matsuzaki is Iwachi beach, a semicircle of golden sand beneath sepia cliffs enclosing lagoon-like waters.
All of western Izu can be accessed by bus from Shuzenji Station, the last stop on the Izu-Hakone Line out of Mishima (¥500, 33 min). From Shuzenji, take Bus 6 for Heda (¥1000, 48 min), or Bus 3 for Toi, Dogashima, and Matsuzaki (¥1280/51 min, ¥1970/92 min, ¥2090/100 min respectively). Iwachi can be reached by taking Bus 6 from Matsuzaki (¥330, 11 min). On a clear day, regular ferries from Numazu and Shizuoka offer a stunning view of Mt. Fuji floating above the waters of Suruga Bay. Those who miss the last bus out can look for space in the Matsuzaki Youth Hostel.
Published November 2008. Photo (c) 2003 Michael Kanert.