After visiting Japan for a few time, popular places such as Kyoto, Osaka or Tokyo are no longer my top destination when it comes to domestic travel. Instead, I tend to search for less popular cities so that I can explore more about Japan (and also to avoid the crowds during summer holiday).
My first choice was Ito/ Atami in Shizuoka prefecture.
You can reach Ito just by 2 hours on local trains or 70 minutes on JR Odoriko super view train from Tokyo. Do not fall asleep if you could because the closer you get to Atami/ Ito, the more beautiful the view becomes.
(I took an early train and fell asleep so the photo was taken on the way back)
There was not much things you could do in Ito’s center except for enjoying the beautiful beach and onsen, and of course, yummy food.
You will find many wagashi stores and ice-cream shops (Japanese traditional sweet) near Ito station. I’m a big fan of matcha so this was my first desert choice
If you have time, I highly recommended buying the Ito Free pass and visit all the destination/ attractions along the way.
But if you did not have time like me, please enjoy the clear blue sky and Orange beach.
There are many great onsen around Ito, but luckily, my guest house has its own onsen so I did not need to travel to get into one (and get all sweaty 10 mins later on the way back)
K’s house Ito onsen, an historical guest house with very convenient location and great onsen.
After a night in Ito, I stopped by Atami on the way back and was stunned by its beach. The city is more lively then Ito, with many Japanese tourists during summer.
Atami Sun beach
Omiya no Matsu
A fictional character from Konjiki-yasha, one of the best stories of Ozaki Koyo
Read more here (http://www.shizuoka-guide.com/foreign_search/detail/1/6004)
Similar to Ito,there are many Japanese traditional sweet sold in Atami. Manjuu steamed with onsen water is the most popular among others. The udon was also tasty and quite different from those sold in Tokyo.
Ito/ Atami is a wonderful way explore more about Japan and a great escape from the busy city-life.
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