Situated on the steep volcanic hills on northeastern base of the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture is a town called Atami (熱海). Atami is a small town with a population of around 40,000 people making it a pleasant, non-crowded tourist destination. Located just 1-2 hours away from Tokyo (depending on which train you take), it is an easy destination to add to your list of places to go while in Japan.
What to Do and See in Atami
Atami means “hot sea” in Japanese and this name is fitting since the town is dotted with many hot springs and is known as one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts. For over 1,000 years people have been enjoying the natural benefits of the waters in Atami. One of Japan’s most famous shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, ordered barrels of water from the hot springs of Atami to be shipped back to Tokyo. Taking a dip in the natural hot water and enjoying the wonderful effects it has on the human body is a must when you visit this onsen (hot spring) resort.
One place you can enjoy hot springs is at the Chikurin-an-mizuno hot spring resort where you can pay just 1,000 yen to relax in the hot waters while surrounded by natural beauty. If you want a more private option, you can reserve a private tub for two which costs 1,500 yen per hour. If you call to make a reservation, you must ask for a “rotenburo no yubune” since calls can only be made in Japanese.
Address: 627-363 Ajiro, Atami-shi, Shizuoka
Phone number: 0557-67-2643
Open 1pm-7pm every day. Be sure to call first to check if they are open since they close 2 days a month.
Another place where you can enjoy a dip in the hot springs is at the Hotel Toujikan Soyokaze. They offer the traditional hot baths as well as a special treatment called “bedrock bathing” (also called a stone sauna) where you lie on a slab of rock which is heated naturally and covered with a towel. This treatment costs 2,500 yen for 90 minutes. You can also relax on a bed of mineral hokutolite which invigorates the body.
Hotel Toujikan Soyokaze
Address: 4-16 Tahara-honcho, Atami-shi, Shizuoka
Phone number: 0557-81-1331
Open 10am-7pm every day.
The MOA Museum of Art was opened in 1982 and it houses an extensive collection of Japanese and East Asian art. With over 3,500 ancient works of art from various Asian countries, it includes a variety of Oriental paintings, calligraphy, sculptures, and crafts. The museum gets its name from an art collector named Okada Mokichi who curated this impressive collection (MOA stands for “Mokichi Okada Association”). Three works in this museum have been named as National Treasures and 65 have been designated as Important Cultural Property.
You will enjoy taking a relaxing stroll around the beautiful grounds of the museum which are a work of art in themselves. Be sure to check out the Golden Tea Room as well. The MOA Museum of Art is easily accessible via a 10-minute bus ride from Atami Station. Admission is 1,600 yen for adults but if you purchase an advance admission ticket the price is 1,300 yen. For those 65 and over, the price is 1,400.
MOA Museum of Art
Address: 26-2 Momoyama-cho, Atami-shi, Shizuoka
Phone number: 0557-84-2511
Open 9:30am-4:30pm, closed on Thursdays except when it is a national holiday. It is closed also on New Year’s. For the last tour of the day, you must enter 30 minutes before closing time.
Atami’s Hihokan (adult museum) is a quirky museum only available to those 18 and over. With hi-tech exhibits, many featuring the use of holograms, the tour is guaranteed to make for an interesting experience. Admission is 1,700 yen.
Adult Museum Atami
Address: 8-15 Wadahama-minamicho, Atami-shi, Shizuoka
Open 9:30am-5pm every day
Other Places to Go
Akao Herb and Rose Garden: Featuring around 100,000 herb plants and 5,000 rose plants, the 12 differently themed gardens are sure to impress. The cost for entry is 1,000 yen for adults and it is open from 9am to 5pm every day.
Address: 1024-1 Kamitaka, Atami-shi, Shizuoka
Atami Castle: Built in Momoyama architectural style, the castle has an observation deck where you can soak in the rich views of the ocean and countryside. The most popular time to go is in the spring, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, and in the summer when you can enjoy the fireworks. The entry cost is 900 yen for adults and 450 yen for elementary and junior high students. The castle is open from 9am to 5pm every day.
Address: 1993 Sogayama, Atami-shi, Shizuoka
Shogyo(笑ぎょ): When you go to Atami, you must try its delicious, fresh seafood both raw and cooked. At Shogyo restaurant, you can enjoy the freshest fish while looking out over the bay.
Address: 55-8 Ajiro, Atami-shi, Shizuoka
Cost range: from 3,000 yen to 3,900 yen
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