Blessed with a warm climate, Higashi-Izu town, located in the middle east of the Izu Peninsula
is well known for hot springs
The town consists a total of 6 hot spring spots. These Onsen
spots are: Okawa, Hokkawa, Atagawa, Katase, Shirata, and Inatori.
Also, surrounded by magnificent ocean, rich wind is one of the important power supply we rely on as a wind power generation; you may see wind turbines along the ocean while traveling.
Various kinds of activities including golf, paragliding, and scuba diving are also very popular here. With the climate being slightly different than the usual four seasons that the rest of Japan experiences, those activities will make your journey even more enjoyable and definitely memorable one, especially if you love summer.
On a sheer mountain rising from the sea and an intricate coastline, the area Higashi Izu stands on commands an incredible distant view of Oshima Island on clear days.
Higashi Izu (East Izu), facing the Sagami Sea, has a sheer mountain rising from the sea as well, and fishing ports such as Inatori, Hokkawa, and Katase located along its intricate coastline.
It has an abundance of hot springs, and the Atagawa, Inatori, Katase and Okawa hot spring resorts have developed there.
The abundant and historical Atagawa-Onsen Hot Spring is one of the representative hot springs in Higashi Izu. It is said to have been found by Dokan Ota, a warlord in the 15th century while he was out hunting.
It is a quiet hot spring resort that would take you less than an hour to tour around, and attracts visitors all the year round.
Attractions include: a statue of Oyukake Benzaiten, a goddess believed to bring good fortune if you make a wish while pouring hot water over the statue; Takaisonoyu, an open-air bath from which you can enjoy the view of the sea; Atagawa Banana and Crocodile Park that has 200 crocodiles, some 20 different species in all; and the Tropical Botanical Garden.
So to put it simply, the Inatori-onsen Hot Spring is a resort area that covers the whole of Cape Inatori, sharing the area which sticks out on to the Pacific Ocean, and as mentioned above, on sunny days you can see the distant Oshima Island, which is one of the seven Izu islands.
Other attractions include: The Izu Bio Park is a zoo at Inatori-kogen Highlands that houses 300 wild animals from 50 different species, and 60 species of 160 birds, many of which are allowed to roam freely.
Atagawa is famous for the Alligator Garden and I remember seeing lots of alligators moving on top of each other during my last visit many years ago, but this time we did not go there.
We choose to enjoy simply by relaxing in the hot spring and of course, the fresh seafood. This hot spring was discovered by a mid 15th century samurai called Oota Doukan, who is famous for building Edo Castle.
Apparently he saw that a monkey was having a bath in a pond and found that it was a hot spring
, and he named this area Atagawa; which means “hot river” because the river was warm.
You can see the hot steams coming out of the ground here and there, which gives great atmosphere almost unique only to this place. Also the sea view was very beautiful. Although it was cold, due to the rain, we managed to enjoy blue skies for awhile, too.
One more thing, outdoor Onsen
is best enjoyed in the rain or snow. The feeling in indescribable and you have to experience it to feel it and believe you’re alive.
(Unless you want to hear me moaning on blogger…Uhhh ahhhh ahh…!*)
When you wish something and pour hot water from the hot spring on to the statue of Benzaiten in Izu Atagawa, your dream of striking it rich will come true.
That is what they say at this little shrine called Oyukake Benzaiten.
The reason is written on the board over there.
When the owner of this land was a captain of a commercial ship, the Goddess Benzaiten appeared in his dream and told him “Dig this land in Atagawa, then you will find a rich hot spring and make a statue of me. When you pour the water on to me, the land will prosper and all the wishes will come true”. So, he gave up the sailing the sea and started digging here. Then, the HOT water of 100 degrees spouted out from 200m below the earth’s surface.
Unfortunately, this captain died before he managed to make a statue. When the volunteers made the current statue, it was only in July 1985.
Now, this “miracle ritual” has evolved. Things are done very differently.
There is now a device that pumps the sulfurous water out from the earth’s surface, streaming it into a rectangular bucket with big scoop ladles – similar to those you see at the entrance of Japanese temples & shrines. So, usually at Japanese Temples / Shrines, you’d wash your hands before entering right?
Well…here, you wash your money!!
Scoop the water from the buckets using the ladle provided, and simply pour them over your valuable banknotes.
You’ll become a millionaire soon and when you do, please don’t forget me.
Remember to share it with the one who told you! 😉
After all, sharing is caring!! Hehe!
If you’ve notice these pictures, the “magical water” has hardened, coating the rocks, covering it with gold!
You can see the flow of the water by following the trail of gold on these rocks.
Unfortunately for you though, your money will NOT turn into gold as these “golden plated” rocks took MANY years of constant flowing to form so unless you’re gonna spend the next 30 years or more standing with your note in hand, placed on the waterfall…washing your notes seems like the next best thing to do!
While crime syndicates “wash” their money through companies, I “wash” my money here!
History of Higashi Izu
From the Nara and Heian period (8th-12th century), Izu was a place of exile, exiles of all kinda, from all walks of life and the place for many exiled nobles, monks and warriors.
When the great warrior Minamoto Yoritomo was exiled to Hirugakojima, he formed close relationships with powerful families such as Ito and Kawazu. It is said that Minamoto Yoritomo once visited the Hachiman shrine in Inatori.
During the Edo period (17th -19th century), the Inatori seaport prospered thanks to the progression of marine transportation.
When the Edo castle was being built, the stones to surround the castle were taken from Izu and Okawa, and shipped to Edo
During the Meiji period (late 19th to early 20th century), Higashi-Izu town belonged to Nirayama and Ashigara prefecture.
And finally in 1876, it became a part of Shizuoka prefecture, that was the beginning of the town’s modernization.
In 1961, the Izu Kyuko Line was opened to traffic, making it possible for tourists to visit.
Make sure to drop by and visit this quaint little town if you’re in the region, you’ll be sure to love it!
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