My boyfriend and I are going to Japan for a week next week for a cherry blossom/onsen holiday.
We%26#39;d like to see some of the countryside, so our plan is to spend 3.5 days traveling around the Izu Peninsula. Here%26#39;s our tentative itinerary:
26 March, Thurs
- First thing in the morning, take the Shinkansen or the JR Odoriko express from Tokyo to Shimoda. Get to Shimoda by lunch time.
Spend a couple of hours in Shimoda
Then take a bus along the Margaret line to Matsuzaki. Spend the afternoon there. Then head to Osawa Onsen Hotel for the night.
27 March, Fri
- spend the morning in the Osawa Onsen/Matsuzaki area
- Go up to Dogashima for the cliff side rotemburo (outdoor onsen)and perhaps take boat ride to the shoreline cave.
- Spend the night there.
28 March, Sat
- Take bus to Shuzenji in the morning. It takes 1.5 hr, so we should be there by lunch time. Spend rest of the day and night in Shuzenji.
29 March, Sun
- Travel around Shuzenji if there are more things to see, or travel up to Mishima, and eventually take Shikansen back to Tokyo late afternoon.
I would really appreciate some tips and advice on the following:
- Is this itinerary is feasible given that we have to rely on buses and trains to get from place to place? We had wanted to rent a car, but found that that we can%26#39;t as neither or us has an international driver%26#39;s license.
- Our focus is the West Coast of Izu as we read that it%26#39;s the most scenic and least touristy. Is there any towns other than what I listed that are worth visiting?
- Any comments on the towns listed in my itinerary?
- Should we buy the Izu Free Q Kippu Pass? (http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_006.html) Is that the most cost effective way to travel around Izu? Is it cheaper to buy it before we go to Japan?
Thanks very much in advance for your help!!
Izu Peninsula advice
Not a comment on your itinerary, but an international driver%26#39;s license is a very easy piece of paper to get, at least in America...and I think in other places as well. When I got one some time ago I just walked into AAA and paid a small fee, and walked out with the thing. Check with your national Automobile Association or Drivers licensing office and see what it would take to get one.
I apologize if you have already checked into it, I don%26#39;t mean to be patronizing.
Izu Peninsula advice
I%26#39;d add Jogasaki. It%26#39;s a beautiful area. It%26#39;s world famous among rock climbers, but the dark gray/black cliffs are beautiful, and the walking is easy. On the opposite side of the penninsula is a nice hill calld Joyama; it used to offer great views of Fuji, but I haven%26#39;t been in years and can%26#39;t speak to the quality of the trail these days. I also haven%26#39;t been by train so if you%26#39;re interested I%26#39;d have to research how to get there.
Why don%26#39;t you rent a car? If you have your home country driver%26#39;s license (US or HK), you can obtain an International Driver%26#39;s Permit (a translation of your home license) from AAA in America (for around US$10) or Hong Kong%26#39;s Transport Department at Admiralty (HK$80). You just need two passport photos and the whole process takes perhaps 15 minutes.
Note that you don%26#39;t need an International Driver%26#39;s License. The IDP is sufficient and if you see any websites trying to sell you an IDL, it%26#39;s a scam.
Otherwise, your itinerary looks ok in my opinion. But as John said, add Jogosaki Coast which is a good scenic trip. The suspension bridge is slightly overrated but cute, the scenery is nice though.
I did not stay at Osawa onsen. I stayed near Atami at a place with a full seaview and it was beautiful.
Overall, I think Izu is a good two day trip to explore the country side. The sights are just ok but not spectacular. You should be able to see good cherry blossoms though.
By the way, visiting Izu can easily be combined with Hakone and Fuji Five Lakes since they are in the same direction from Tokyo. If you rent a car, I highly recommend you take the train from Tokyo and rent from Odawara to avoid the traffic. Rental outlets are right outside the station.
Recommended car rental agent:
Thanks for your tip on the International Driver%26#39;s Permit!
Between my boyfriend and I, we have a US driver%26#39;s license and a German one,but are currently living in HK. I had thought the only thing the Hong Kong Transportation Department can do is issue the International Driver%26#39;s permit to holders of Hong Kong driver%26#39;s license. But if they can indeed take our foreign licenses and translate them for Japan, that%26#39;ll be perfect.