After seeing the capybara zoo and the capybara illuminations of Izu, I decided to make my way to the coastal city of Atami and do some exploring around the beach and local area. I chose to stay at this district during my backpacking trip through Shizuoka because it is centrally located and has a lot of nice seafood restaurants and floral parks you can visit. My accommodation was at Megumi Guesthouse because it has an onsen and was only 3500 yen per night when I booked it. Not bad at all!
Here are some of my favorite discoveries that I found during my two-day stay in Atami:
Idematsu Sun Beach
One of the best things about Atami is that the beach is only 5 minutes walking from the station! When I woke up and went for my morning run, this was the very first place that I visited. It was very serene and quiet, which is rare for a beach near the city. Despite it being February, the temperature was extremely mild too. It almost felt like a private beach to me. In the summer, Atami holds a fireworks festival that many people attend. I would like to come back during that time and see how the atmosphere changes!
BonBon Berry House & Maruya Terrace
If you love strawberries… well you’re absolutely going to love BonBon Berry! This confectionery is full of fruits and desserts of high quality. I first tried the original strawberry stick with manjuu and a small piece of strawberry cake. It was so delicious, I came back the following day to try more~ I next ordered the strawberry shu cream that looks like a giant glazed strawberry but is actually a giant creampuff. I traveled here in February, yet the strawberries were so fresh I felt like it was summer!
For lunch I decided to stop at Maruya Terrace near the central shopping street. This restaurant will let you choose your favorite fish from the seafood store across the street and grill it for you on a seasoned sandwich. I chose their famous mackerel sandwhich:
I couldn’t believe this sandwich was only 700 yen! Seafood in Hokkaido and Kanazawa are much more expensive. Atami is definitely one of the cheapest places to eat quality fish and I would like to try many kinds in the future!
Atami Ropeway & Kinomiya Shrine
Atami Ropeway definitely gives you access to one of the best views in the city! For only 600 yen (roundtrip), you can take a cable car to the top of a mountain and see the city and surrounding seaside area. As expected, the view was breathtaking~ I was happy that I brought my GoPro here.
Next I walked to the nearby Kinomiya Shrine because it’s one of the most famous in Atami. I loved the green foilage and the leaves that were made into the shape of a heart:
If you’re looking for a hotspring, I recommend going to the nearby Nikkoutei Ooyu. It is only around 1000 yen to go for the day and has a beautiful view of the surrounding nature.
Atami Plum Garden & Akao Herb and Rose Garden
Though February is usually not the prime season for flowers, I decided to check these gardens out anyway since I was in the area. I was surprised to find beautiful buds when I first went running through the Atami Plum Garden. According to the official website, this area has the fastest blooming plums in Japan:
This garden is divided into several areas; they have a Japanese garden, a Korean garden, an art museum, and dozens of plum trees that you can photograph pretty much year round. I was surprised to find a miniature cave and waterfall here too. This is much prettier than a lot of gardens that I’ve been to so I’m happy I came. The entrance fee is only 300 yen.
Finally, I went to Akao Herb and Rose Garden, which actually is a garden up in the mountains! From the bus stop, a free van will take you to the top (or you can choose to walk to the entrance). When this garden is in full bloom, it truly looks like heaven. Unfortunately I could not capture many flowers in bloom, but I got an awesome picture of me in my Orient T-Shirt on the swing. I did manage to capture the photo below:
What I liked about this garden is that there were hammocks and benches where you could relax and see the seaside. In addition to the swing, they also had a trampoline! There were many fragrances you could try for free as well. This was one of the best views I have ever seen from a flower park, and I regret that I could not take more pictures of the roses. All the more reason to come back here in the summer!
Entrance here is only 1000 yen.
I love Atami because everything you need is either walking distance or just a short bus ride away: the ocean, mountain, hotsprings, restaurants, and beautiful gardens. It’s very easy to relax and find inner peace here. In addition to the capybaras, I loved the nature and food. I’m so glad I discovered yet another floral beach paradise in Asia and I recommend that everyone else come and experience it for themselves.
Getting to Atami
From Tokyo Station, take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen towards Shin Osaka. Atami Station is only 37 minutes away, which is closer than getting from one end of Tokyo to the other! The cost is 4300 yen which is about the same as going to Nikko or Hakone. It’s definitely worth the cost.