From Kinosaki we headed back east to the Izu Peninsula, which is south of Tokyo. We were headed for the seaside town of Ito. It has a real vacation by the beach vibe to it, and is known for its seafood. It is also near to a geopark with some interesting geology that needed to be seen.
The hotel we stayed at had a fancy onsen on the ground floor, but even better it had an in room mineral bath. It was a hybrid room – there were Western style beds along with a separate tatami mat room where futons could be laid out for a larger group. As I’ve mentioned before if the room is of any size the toilet will be in a separate room, usually with a hand basin near by. The shower/tub is in a different room. There is a door – usually glass, with a gasket to seal it and a ledge to step over, making a waterproof room. On one side is the shower area where one gets clean. And then there is the tub. In this hotel instead of a regular bath tub there was a large square wooden tub with a stream of hot water bubbling in from the corner. After a good shower and scrub we could hop in the tub for a soak in the mineralized water. It was very nice.
But that wasn’t why we were in Ito, nice as it was. We arranged to have our luggage shipped ahead of us to Tokyo and set out for the day’s adventure. (This freed us from backtracking to get our luggage for the onward journey – and manhandling it on the train. As it happens we beat our luggage to Tokyo, but it caught up to us!)
We took a local bus to visit Mt Omuroyama. Taking busses can be a bit nerve wracking as I always worry that I won’t hear the stop or will somehow foul things up. Since the route began at the train station and ended at the mountain that turned out not to be an issue on this excursion.
Is this not the most amazing volcano? Does it not look like a dessert?
At one point this area was very active in the volcanic department, but these volcanoes are now extinct. From the top we could see four other extinct cones. Mt Omuroyama was active as recently as 4000 years ago. It is the only one kept so beautifully manicured. Every winter they burn off the dried grass and keep it bright and vibrant. There is a ski lift to the top and a path around the top. Of course we went up!
And the crater itself is in use – there’s an archery range in the bottom!
We didn’t go down to partake – it was a long way down and then back up again!
The views were spectacular in all directions, even with a heavy haze from the ocean.
Can you see the faint smudge that is the top of Mount Fuji just above the land form – at about the 11:00 position?
We had a marvelous time wandering along the crater edge, peering down into the valleys below, looking for the offshore islands lurking in the mist.
And when we came down from the mountain we stumbled across a tiny little cafe serving a most amazing lunch:
Appetizer plate with green salad, potato salad, fried fish, seaweed salad and other things that were very tasty.
The main course, which was a bowl of rice and a serving of whitebait, a tiny white fish boiled and served whole. So good! Were instructed to eat half of it and then take the flask of dashi stock and add it to the bowl to make a soup for the second half of the meal.
And to finish – matcha tea, pudding and a wee chocolate cake. For the grand sum of $14.00 per person! So good!
And with that the rambling portion of our trip is a wrap. We took a taxi to the train station south of Ito and caught a rapid express train to Tokyo Station, where we started our adventures a week ago. We arrived at our hotel in Asakusa – same one we stayed at last year and our happily settled into the same room.
So much to tell you about Tokyo!