Shuzenji & Central Izu

Ever since Saint Kobo found a hot spring in the bed of the Katsura River and then founded Shuzenji Temple some 1,200 years ago, the area has developed as a temple town as well as being a hot spring resort.  The old temples, shrines, and traditional buildings of the prestige hotels along the river set a refined atmosphere, which has attracted visitors including famous writers and artists.  The central part of the town can be explored on foot in half a day stopping at historic sites, going over red arched bridges, and strolling through the bamboo forest path.
Even more charms of Mid Izu scattered around Shuzenji.  Check the following to make your own itinerary.

Highlights

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We recommend this restaurant particularly for those who have a strong interest in Japanese cuisine, art, history, and traditions, and who want to relax in a quiet rural setting.  

Reservation can be made only one group per day.  The restaurant is hard to find where it is, but has quietly been loved among the epicures for more than 20 years.  Pick up service to and from Shuzenji Station is available.

For details on the tour including this restaurant, click here.

Wasabi Farm (Ikadaba)

The Izu Peninsula is one of Japan's largest producers of wasabi.  The great reaches of the terraced wasabi paddies prove the rich nature of Izu as the plant can only grow in clean water with shade of lush green trees.   If you do not know how real wasabi looks like and tastes like, come and find out.  (Approximately 30 minutes taxi ride from Shuzenji Station.)

Joren Falls

Formed by the spilling lava of Mt. Hachikubo when it erupted approximately 17,000 years ago.  The waterfalls with the background of the columnar joints of the rocks and lush green Chain Ferns, designated as a protected species, are refreshing to look at.  The spring water seeps out from the gaps of the rocks create an ideal environment for the Wasabi cultivated beside the river to grow as the water temperature is at around 12-13 degree celsius throughout the year.

Hiking Amagi Pass & Old Amagi Tunnel

The Old Amagi Tunnel is the longest stone tunnel in Japan (446m or 488 yd) constructed in 1905 and was designated as a Japan's important cultural property in 2001.  The winding road along the Hontani River from the car park up to the tunnel, is counted as one of the 100 best roads of Japan.  The road features geologically unique aspects of Izu Peninsula, and is also famous for being mentioned in the first sentences of "The Izu Dancer," novel written by a Nobel Prize-winning writer, Yasunari Kawabata.  

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Green Terrace Cafe

This is where you can sit down and totally refresh yourself over a cup of Matcha green tea, coffee, or tea with homemade Japanese fresh sweets listening to the flow of the river, songs of the birds, and the whispering trees.

​Japanese sweets making class is available.  For details, click here.

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Shuzenji Temple

The symbol of the town founded by Saint Kobo in 807, now belongs to Zen sect.  Open 8:30-16:00 (16:30 Apr-Sep).  A pair of statures of protector deities (Kongo Rikishi) welcome the visitors at the gate.  The purification fountain uses hot spring water.  During Kamakura Period (1185-1333), the temple witnessed the rise and the fall of the Shogun family.  The treasures stored in the museum includes said-to-be the carved death mask of Yori-i-e, the 2nd Shogun of Kamakura Period, who was assassinated in Shuzenji.

A meditation meeting is held on ​Tuesdays (starts at 9:30 a.m., free of charge, reservation needed).

Darumayama Highlands

One of the best spots in Izu to view Mt. Fuji over Suruga Bay.  Approximately 30 minutes drive from Shuzenji Station.  As Mt. Fuji is not always visible depending on the weather, we can wait and see until the last minute before deciding to include this place by adjusting your private tour itinerary.  

We tends to have clear drys in mid winter.  

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"Kamikiri (paper cutout)" is a Japanese performance art which involves cutting silhouette images out of a plain piece of paper.  A Shuzenji local kakmikiri artist takes your requests to perform an amazing show.  For details, click here.

The portrait on the left depicts the heroine in "The Izu Dancer," a novel by a Nobel Prize winner, Yasunari Kawabata.

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"Shigetsu-Den," Sutra Library

The oldest wooden building in Izu (12C) donated by Masako Hojo, mother of Yori-i-e, the 2nd Shogun of Kamakura Period.  Yori-i-e was confined in Shuzenji Temple and later assassinated in the midst of the power struggle among the family.  Masako, who was complicit in killing her own son, also donated a number of sutra scrolls to pray for her son's repose.

Next to this building is the grave of Yori-i-e, from where the main hall of Shuzenji Temple can be overlooked.

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Bamboo Forest Path

​The path stretches along the river from Katsura Bridge to Kaede Bridge.  The pretty bamboo forest is not only being instagrammable, but its quietness may make you think of a Kabuki play, "The Mask Maker's Story," which was written in the early 20th century inspired by the carved death mask of Yori-i-e, the 2nd Shogun of Kamakura Period (12C).  In the story, Katsura and Kaede were depicted as two daughters of the famous mask maker.  

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Foot Spa of Kawara-yu

After a long walk, visitors can relax taking a nice foot bath listening to the chatter of the Katsura River at the foot spa called "Kawara-yu" just beside Tokko-no-yu, the very place where Saint Kobo is said to have miraculously found Shuzenji's first hot spring by hitting the rock on the bank of the river with his "Tokko (Buddhist ritual object)" some 1,200 years ago.​  

Free of charge.

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Why not stroll in the historic hot spring town of Shuzenji dressed up in kimono for a day?  The rental kimono shop, Machi-Navi-Yururi, helps you choose and wear kimono or yukata (a casual style of kimono made of cotton).  As soon as your makeover is complete, go out into the streets for a few hours of sightseeing.   Pose for photos in front of Shuzenji Temple or in the bamboo forest!   For details, click here.

Eco-Farmers' Market

An eco-farmers' market in Amagi Mountain Range, where the locals shop for fresh fruits & vegetables sold at reasonable prices.  To find out what are the in-season farm products, we want to get there when it opens at 9:00 a.m..  This visit can be combined with our cooking class held in Takyou.

Bonsai Garden

An Izu local Bonsai master's garden, where a number of bonsai trees are displayed, approximately 20 minutes drive from Shuzenji Station.

​A Bonsai class is available for a small number of group.   The class includes a lecture on the basics of growing bosai and some demonstration.  For checking availability and detailed information, please contact us.

Beer Brewery

Baird Beer is definitely one of Izu's proud specialities produced through a sustainable brewing. A wide variety of both year-round and seasonal flavours are available including unique flavours such as wasabi and yuzu ales. Try and enjoy the excellent balance of flavours of malt, organic hops, and yeast in the beautiful & natural setting beside the Kano River.  Brewery tours are available in weekends and on national holidays (30-45 minutes, free of charge with no tasting).

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