Around 40 Minutes From Tokyo! Sightseeing Guide to Atami, Kanto Region’s Representative Hot Spring District
Atami in Shizuoka Prefecture is a place that boasts excellent access from Tokyo - as it only takes approximately 40 minutes to get there by train - and high-quality hot spring water. As an area that flourished as a hot spring resort in the olden days, this hot spring district has long been loved by many Japanese writers and artists. Read on to learn about the charms of Atami!
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History of Atami
Atami City is located at the eastern part of Shizuoka Prefecture, facing Sagami Bay. It is said that this area became widely recognized as a hot spring district after Tokugawa Ieyasu - a famous military commander who is known as one of the people who built the foundations of Japan - came for a hot spring cure and brought its hot spring water back to Edo Castle. Thereafter, people of culture often went to this area during the Edo period (1603 – 1867), leaving behind travel journals that they wrote about this place. By the turn of the Meiji period (around the 1850s – 1912), the imperial family, leading figures in politics and business, eminent writers and artists, and many other famous people, built private villas and homes here, thereby turning it into a major vacation and tourist destination.
※Photo is for illustration purposes
Now, here are the ways to get to Atami by train from the major cities in Japan.
Get on the Tokaido Shinkansen. You will arrive to Atami Station in about 35 minutes if you take the Hikari, and in about 50 minutes if you ride on the Kodama.
Get on the Tokaido Shinkansen. You will arrive at Atami Station in about 1 hour and 20 minutes if you take the Hikari, and in about 2 hours if you ride on the Kodama.
Get on the Tokaido Shinkansen. You will arrive to Atami Station in about 2 hours and 15 minutes if you take the Hikari, and in about 3 hours and 10 minutes if you ride on the Kodama.
What is “Hashiriyu”?
Situated in a place overlooking the waters of Sagami Bay, “Hashiriyu” is a horizontal tunnel-type hot spring source that is rarely seen even in Japan. It is one of the three oldest hot spring sources in the country. It was discovered roughly 1,300 years ago, and is said to have acquired its name from the way the hot water coming from within the mountains would race down or run (“hashiru” in Japanese) to the coast like it was flying. It was also apparently an object of worship as the Kamiyu (water god) of Izusan Shrine during ancient times. The sight of around 7,000 tons of water with a temperature of 70 degrees gushing out of a cave with a depth of 5m still fills this area with an aura of mystery. Visitors may enter and explore the cave, but you need to be very careful, because this is not a bathing facility. There are footbaths nearby that draw water from this source, which you may enjoy for free.
What is “Atami Nanayu”?
There are many more hot spring sources that gush out to Atami Hot Spring compared to other regions, and their total output is known to be massive. “Atami Nanayu” is the collective term for these seven hot spring water sources (such as Oyu Geyser and Nonaka-no-Yu) that are scattered in the Atami Ginza area. Although the water does not gush out anymore today, it naturally came out during the Taisho era (1912 – 1926). There is a monument that brought back to life the hot spring facility from those days, and visitors are encouraged to drop by and check it out.
Too Many Attractions! Tourist Spots in Atami
Atami is a place where you can soak in the hot spring water of bathing facilities to your heart’s content, be it on a day trip or an overnight escapade. However, that is not just what Atami is all about, as it is also filled with a lot of charming and must-see spots. One such spot is Atami Castle, which is perched on top of a mountain. Apart from the 360-degree panoramic view from the castle tower, it is famous for the annexed facility where visitors can take photos while clad in a feudal lord or princess costume. Atami also houses many other spots that visitors are sure to enjoy, such as the Atami Geigi Miban Kaburenjo where you can watch traditional dance performed by Atami geishas, famous shrines and temples, resort facilities, and fishing spots.
As a famous sightseeing destination, Atami is a place that is dotted with many restaurants and drinking spots. You can drop by a sushi joint where you will be served freshly caught local fish, or dine in a fancy Italian restaurant, an orthodox Japanese restaurant, or even a casual ramen shop! Take the time to thoroughly enjoy Atami’s countless delicious delights!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.