-･- From My Everyday Life to Japanese Culture -･- Why don't you see the real Japan, not the typical foreigners' version.
Our destination of the trip was Atami City (熱海市, Atami literally means "hot ocean" in Japanese) located in about 100 kilometers southwest of Tokyo.
Overlooking Sagami Bay (相模湾) and surrounded by mountains of Izu (伊豆) region, the city is a place of scenic beauty.
A Spa Town
Atami area is one of the best-known hot spring resorts in Japan, which includes several major spas: Atami, Izu-taga (伊豆多賀), Ajiro (網代), and Izusan (伊豆山). According to Atami Hot Spring Ryokan and Hotel Association, its history as a spa town dates back about 1,000 years. Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康, 1543-1616), Japan’s most famous shogun, liked to visit Atami. He was so impressed by the quality of the hot spring that he ordered barrels of water to be hauled back to Edo (present day Tokyo).
Fresh seafood from Sagami Bay is also the pleasure of visiting.
The photo shows whitebait (しらす: juvenile sardines) caught in the sea around Ajiro that is also a famous fishing town.
Atami is the most easily accessible resort from Tokyo. It takes about 50 minutes to get there by Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo station. If you want to save transportation costs, catch a regular train. It takes just an hour and a half. Most of ryokans and hotels are within 10 minutes' drive from Atami station, and another spas in the area are conveniently located, too.
Though it’s still Japan’s leading spa town, it’s been struggling with a hangover from the economic bubble. Especially, ryokans and hotels that expanded the scale of facilities for tour groups have faced difficult administrative times.
However, it’s not always a bad thing. The good thing is that the accommodation rate has gone way down.
I used to visit the resort with my family when I was a child. Even now, I constantly stop over at spas in the area. It's quite nice!
I’d like to write about the trip in several batches.