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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Relaxation

Atami Onsen 熱海温泉

Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu loved this hot spring resort's waters so much he brought them home

The bubbling waters of Atami have been luring bathers as far back as the Nara period (710-94). Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616) was so enamored of their healing properties that he tried to re-create the onsen back in Edo. The various onsen in Atami—there's not just one—have also drawn many of the rich and famous of the modern era. Izusan Onsen, one of Japan's most ancient, was discovered 13 centuries ago.

Don't Miss

  • Trying both open air and indoor baths
  • The seafood—Atami is a fishing town
  • A visit to Atami Castle, for the views and more

How to Get There

The Tokaido Shinkansen and Tokaido and Ito lines all go to JR Atami Station, and many buses go there as well.

To get from Tokyo to Atami, you can take the Kodama Tokaido Shinkansen, the limited express Odoriko, regular Tokaido trains, or the bus. The Shinkansen is the fastest way at 50 minutes. The highway bus is much cheaper but takes two and a half to three hours depending on traffic.

Quick Facts

Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu brought Atami's waters back to Edo to soak in

Atami has long been a favorite destination for couples

Atami's saltwater hot spring fame is reflected in its name, which means "hot sea"

Ieyasu-no-yu footbath

What's all this hot water good for, anyway?

The high-temperature water with its high salt content has excellent insulation properties, helping with neuralgia, and excessive sensitivity to cold. The water also tightens up the skin and tones the body.

This will heat you up

Atami has a timeless reputation as a romantic getaway, and checking into one of the town's many onsen ryokan, traditional Japanese inns, is still one of the most romantic options around. The usual plan is one night, two meals, and luxurious bathing until you're wrinkled. While a stay isn't likely to be cheap, it will be memorable, and there are reasonable options available.

Onsen hotels are another option, and offer more in the way of entertainment, including karaoke, regular pools, games, and so on. Prices are cheaper than ryokan as well.

romantic evening view of the Atami waterfront

The best options for day-trippers

Although day trips and onsen don't usually fit together—since relaxation is the whole point—there are several places near Atami Station that offer baths both open air and indoors designed for bathing contemplation. There are private baths available to rent. There is even a footbath called Ieyasu no Yu in front of Atami Station named for the famous shogun.

Sweets for onsen lovers

The onsen manju, a kind of sweet dumpling, is probably the signature sweet people think about when they look for a gift to take back from Atami. The core ingredient is sweet bean paste. There are plenty of variations to choose from, including ones that incorporate bitter orange peel, barley flour, Japanese yams, brown sugar, tea, and even perilla leaves.

What to do when you're through soaking

Visit Atami Castle for great views of the town and the Pacific Ocean, get your art fix at the MOA Museum of Art, and visit the Akao Herb and Rose Garden with its 12 themed gardens. The latter has a DIY workshop where you can make flower-themed items. The MOA museum has some magnificent works of art spread across a beautiful hill-top site overlooking the ocean.

Atami Castle, for all its glorious appearance, is really there for the view. It was built in 1959 as a tourist attraction. The ropeway is the easiest way to get there from the main onsen area at the base of the mountain and down by the seaside. There is a museum inside that tells stories about various castles around Japan, too. But most importantly, the view from the mountaintop, where the castle is built, is glorious.

view from Atami Castle

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