Ito is a great little Onsen town on the Izu peninsula. Situated 20 minutes further south from Atami, it holds a little more magic than its beach & onsen partner town. We were pleasantly surprised with the stillness of the town even with the summer fireworks happening and the matsuri on the bridge.
In truth, there is very little to do there, but on this visit, we appreciated it a lot. Even the matsuri (the summer festival) wasn't too crowded nor big in size. As always, it was decorated beautifully, in this case with summer lanterns, hand written by the local children.
We were fortunate enough to stay at K's house, a hostel priced hotel with a traditional Japanese feel to it. We loved it so much and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone. (See next blog post or go straight to their website - http://kshouse.jp/index_e.html)
The beach at Ito itself was longer than Atami's sun beach. The water was clear but the sand was still dark and volcanic and not necessarily the most inviting. We enjoyed a stroll up to the marina where we indulged in some great food and coffee and watched the bus loads of tourist alight to collect souvenirs (there were many, many shops there) and to take the dumb ass dolphin boat out. I had read about this boat from another blog, although this kind of tourist trap doesn't work on me. In any case, as you stand at the bay, you have the chance to witness some lovely fish swimming in the clear water beneath you. These are the same fish the boat takes you out to see. Don't say you haven't been warned!
|Orange beach, Ito|
|Strolling along the river|
Ito is a great destination for just being pure mellow. Expect a few walks on the beach, an onsen here and there, enjoy a walk a long the river, or even a hike as far as the Jogasaki coastline (we didn't have that much energy...)
Access to Ito is simple. If you are lucky enough to catch the 534pm train from Tokyo, you can enjoy the Tokkaido line train straight to Ito with no changes (Can you tell that's what we did!) Otherwise, just change at Atami and you will still get to Ito in time for dinner. No need to waste money on the Shinkansen, if you ask me!! Just remember, it is an easy escape for Tokyoites come rain, shine or snow -(mmmm, onsen in the winter!) - so, expect a few crowds and elbow in the ribs as you travel back.