My friend, SY, asked me to write about our Izu Peninsula road trip, part of our 201503 Tokyo-Izu trip. In her words – “That was a great one. I loved it. Our trip was perfect.”
Izu Peninsula Road Trip
The Izu Peninsula road trip was part of our Cherry Blossom viewing trip to Japan in Mar 2015 (my 7th trip to Japan). I had timed it so that we could catch the Cherry Blossom at its peak.
Initially we thought of taking the train and bus around Izu Peninsula. The trains only covered the east side of Izu Peninsula down to Shimoda. To get to the west side and central parts, buses were the only affordable options. However, after researching into the bus schedules, we realised that it would be quite a task. Bus frequency was either hourly or every other hour, which meant we needed to be very mindful of the bus schedule. Missing the bus could mean spending the night in the middle of nowhere. It also meant we had to drag our luggage everywhere with us as we sightsee; not quite a handsfree and relaxing travel. We could only visit places accessible by the limited public transport and not utilise our time there effectively.
After considering all that inconvenience, I asked SY, how about we rent a car and drive around Izu Peninsula? It was to be not only our first drive trip but also our very first trip together to Japan. (The first of many more trips to Japan with SY. We had travelled to Bhutan previously and were comfortable travelling together.) SY hadn’t drove for many many years. While my last drive was in April 2014 when I visited my uncle and aunt in Perth. We thought long and hard about it but decided to go ahead with the car rental so we could do a proper trip visiting Izu Peninsula. (Come to think of it, SY must really trust me and my driving to go on my first drive trip in Japan!)
Looking back, I’m so glad we decided on the car rental option as it allowed us to visit many places in Izu Peninsula. It also gave me my first drive trip experience in Japan and the confidence to do other road trips after.
201503 Tokyo-Izu Peninsula Trip
Our trip started on 24 Mar 2015 with an overnight ANA flight to Haneda Airport; returning on an overnight ANA flight reaching Singapore on 5 April 2015. The first 4 days and the last 2 days were spent in Tokyo. We travelled around Izu Peninsula for 5 days from 29 Mar (Sun) to 2 Apr (Thu).
There was a reason why I timed the Izu Peninsula road trip on those days. I wanted to avoid the weekend crowds as the Japanese like to take short weekend trips to nearby places. Also, ryokan stays during weekends tend to be more expensive too.
Our plan was to take a train down to Atami, pick up our rental car and drive down the east side of Izu Peninsula. We would loop round to the west side and back to Atami to return the car, before taking a train back to Tokyo. It is possible to drive from Tokyo down to Izu Peninsula and back to Tokyo, which is what many Japanese do. However, I had experienced Tokyo’s traffic previously on a Business trip and would not want to drive in Tokyo, especially my first drive in Japan.
I’m happy our Izu Peninsula road trip itinerary even inspired a friend to plan his first road trip in Japan. His family had an enjoyable time too.
Some of the photos on this trip are from SY and will be credited to her. I had issues with my mobile phone and couldn’t take most of the food photos.