Izu & West Izu 101
-Geography & History
Seen on the UNESCO Global Geopark list, the Izu Peninsula is one of the world’s treasures. It has unique geographical features, and the residents embrace the conservation of biodiversity, local history, and culture.
The geographical history of the Izu Peninsula started about 20 million years ago. It was a group of submarine volcanoes until about 600 thousand years ago when the movement of the Philippine Sea Plate caused those volcanoes to collide with Japan’s Honshu mainland. Thanks to these ancient volcanic activities, we are able to see many unique geographic features on display in the Izu Peninsula. We can appreciate beautiful scenery, relax in onsen (hot springs), taste delicacies, and enjoy outdoor activities. Isn’t it exciting to experience how nature blesses us with magnificent things?
West Izu is especially famous for its dynamic coastline that enables you to enjoy scenic walking, sunset viewing, relaxing by the ocean, tasting local delicacies, and soaking in an onsen. If you are curious about local culture and history, it will also be interesting to explore 17th century buildings made with Namako walls as well as Ishibu rice terraces.
You can really see and experience the gifts of the volcanoes here in West Izu.
To get a brief summary of West Izu, please click here.
-Access To Western Izu
West Izu is a true hidden gem among hidden gems in terms of its natural wonders and access! If you can drive, it is convenient to rent a car at Shuzenji or Mishima. If you prefer to use local transportation, there are two main ways to reach West Izu.
By train and bus:
If you use the JR Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train, get off at JR Mishima Station (south exit), then catch the Tokai Bus Nishiizu Limited Express bus which runs twice a day. As of December, 2022, the first and second buses depart from the No. 4 bus stop at Mishima Station at 10:15 and 13:15 respectively. From there, it will take less than two hours to reach the Dogashima bus stop. No reservation required!
By ferry and bus:
To take the ferry, you should get off the JR Tokaido Shinkansen at Shizuoka Station and transfer to the local JR train to Shimizu Station. Once you reach Shimizu Station, head to the Minato Exit (East exit), then hop on a free shuttle to Shimizu Port. While on the 70-minute ferry journey, just relax and enjoy the sea breeze and beautiful scenery. Please remember that the ferry operation is weather dependent.
When you arrive at Toi Port (Toi-ko) of the Izu Peninsula, you are almost there. Get on a Tokai Bus from Toi-ko and ride for about 30 minutes to Dogashima. It’s a good idea to check the bus times beforehand just to be sure!
Activity Highlights – Soak in Nature!
This tour is a great fit for those who want to explore off the beaten path of Japan and have a uniquely tailored travel experience.
It starts and ends at the Nishiizu Town Tourism Association Office which is near the Dogashima bus stop. It’s approximately a 3.4 km (2.1mile) tour which includes bus and hiking. It’ll take about three hours.
On this tour, you’ll discover beautiful natural blessings from the volcanoes as well as local history, plants, and wildlife with your experienced local guide.
To begin, you will see Tago Fishing Port, which once prospered with bonito fishing. In the Tago Bay, you will find the unique landscape of reefs that were created as a result of volcanic eruptions. You will hike on the Tomyogasaki Promenade, where you’ll see the remains of the lighthouse from the 17th century and various rock formations such as sea caves, strata (rock layers), and underwater sediment flows one after another. They are truly natural works of art. Weather permitting, you can also see the Southern Alps and Mt. Fuji in the distance.
In the past, marine transportation in this area was extremely difficult and dangerous at night due to the many scattered reefs and complicated coastline. Therefore, the lighthouse was built to ensure safety. Local people stayed there at night and kept burning fish oil to warn the shipping vessels passing by.
At the end point on the Ukishima coast, a spectacular view and a group of dikes will welcome you. A dike is a unique rock formation that was once magma which seeped into other rock layers. You can observe the dikes alongside a tunnel, which was the former path of magma from the submarine volcano. Each of the strangely shaped rocks towering over the coast was once a route of the magma.
This activity level is moderate. We recommend the tour for anyone who is able to comfortably climb stairs and is content to walk on unpaved and rocky roads.
Tips – Maximize Your Experience!
West Izu boasts beautiful sunsets and we were really touched to see the one pictured here. If you have enough time, we recommend that you stay overnight in this area!
How To Book
The tour needs to be booked one week in advance. If you would like to make a booking or learn more about the tour, please click here.
This tour is operated by the Izu Peninsula Geoguide Association. If you are interested in exploring other regions of the Izu Peninsula with a guide, please check this page.