|The Izu Peninsula is a gorgeous natural wonderland surrounded by lush mountains and blue seas. Whether you’re taking a dip in the warm waters, diving in the open sea, or trekking through the distinctive hilly landscape, another fun adventure always awaits. There’s so much to discover that no two trips are ever the same. The varied natural settings have made this area a hotbed for geoscientific study, and the rarity of its features led UNESCO to designate it a Global Geopark ※1 in April 2018. Travel to the Izu Peninsula yourself and see what all the buzz is about!|
A wonderland of unique, unspoiled landscapes
The Izu Peninsula juts south into the ocean for about 60 kilometers off the eastern tip of Shizuoka Prefecture—which marks the outermost base of Mt. Fuji. With 318 kilometers of coastline, it is also dotted with some of the most beautiful world-class beaches in Japan.
The shores of the Izu Peninsula offer different attractions to the north and south. The northern coasts feature numerous coves that tend to create more mellow wave action. This makes them a great place for families with children to swim in the sea or observe and gather the tiny crabs, shellfish and minnows that gather there.
Farther to the south, the waves are larger—making these beaches perfect for those who love to surf and bodyboard.
Regardless of where you are along the coast, the Izu Peninsula is a popular snorkeling and diving destination. People flock here not only for the clear water, but also because its location nearly in the center of Japan makes it possible to observe both the coldwater fish of the country’s northern reaches and the warm-water fish of its southern shores.
Put simply, the Izu Peninsula is known as an endless playground of ocean activities—from casual family beach outings to serious surfing or bodyboarding and diving among diverse marine habitats. The biggest challenge you have here is figuring out which one to do first! Incidentally, the best time of year to enjoy the waters around the Izu Peninsula is between July and September.
There are actually several more fun ocean activities that await you along the Izu Peninsula. The Geosite Cruise takes you out into the dynamic open seas, while a sea kayak will allow you to get up close to cliff formations that are nearly impossible to access from land.
There is also a tour led by certified Izu Peninsula geopark guides that gives you access to various features of the landscape. The Ryugu ocean cave features a huge opening some 50 meters in diameter. The mysterious sight of the light filtering down into the crevice is simply unforgettable. Your guide will explain the key geological formations here, giving you a deeper experience of the geopark to complement your fun-in-the-sun ocean activities.
Summer showcases the best of the Izu Peninsula’s charms
There is more to the Izu Peninsula than beach vacations and watersports—you should make a point to enjoy inland activities here as well. The mountains plunge straight into the sea in some areas, giving the landscape its distinctive look and making it easy to have fun both on land and in the water.
Another tour led by certified Izu Peninsula geopark guides takes you into the mountains as well as out to the ocean. Take a trekking tour and see the strange “inverted spring” that flows up towards the mountain, the virgin forests of evergreen oaks and himeshara (tall stewartia), or massive Japanese beeches thought to be 700 years old.
If you hike the trails leading to the 1,045-meter summit of Mt. Amagi, you’re sure to encounter some fascinating aspects of nature. Surround yourself in vast Japanese beech groves and peer into the fault lines that are home to forest green tree frogs (an official natural monument of Japan)—you’ll find diversity and richness here as far as the eye can see.
Because the Izu Peninsula has such varied elevation, it actually has multiple climates and an exceptional diversity of plant and animal species. Being able to experience these many faces of nature is one of the most exciting things about taking an inland tour.
Once you’ve had your fill of land and sea activities, it’s time to head to the hot springs for some relaxation and refreshment. The Izusan Hot Spring, for instance, was discovered more than a thousand years ago, while the Atami Hot Spring village is renowned across Japan.
The Izu Peninsula offers a rich variety of fun water and land activities that make the most of its distinctive landscape—a landscape so magical and unique that it has been designated as an official Global Geopark. You’ll definitely want to take your time to play and explore here, so the area is ideal for longer trips. And if you can, come in summer when every possible outdoor activity is available to enjoy.
Izu Peninsula Geopark website
*1 UNESCO Global Geoparks are areas designed to teach the world about the links between people and the natural environment while also being utilized for education, research, tourism, and other activities. They preserve geological strata, rock formations, volcanoes, fault lines, or other geological assets. They present special opportunities for environmental education and disaster readiness education while also serving to promote local sustainable development as new tourist resources. At present, there are 140 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 38 countries. Japan is home to nine UNESCO Global Geoparks, including the Izu Peninsula.