October is by far the best month for exploring and hiking in Japan. Southern Izu is also still warm enough to enjoy the ocean and yet cool enough to appreciate the onsens. On October 27th I started my day with a swim early in the morning then had a quick shower and made my way to Shimoda station for a train bound for Jogasaki Kaigan. If you plan to explore Izu, be sure to bring along your passport! Those of us who don’t have Japanese citizenship can purchase an Izu Rail pass which will provide savings even on a one way journey! A One-Day Izu Rail pass cost me ¥1200 which can be used anywhere along the Izukyu Railway between Ito and Izukyu-Shimoda. (FYI, there are also 2 and 3 day passes on offer). The one way trip to Jogasaki usually costs ¥1200 so essentially it got me back home for free.
The journey from Izukyu-Shimoda to Jogasaki-kaigan took about 40 minutes. There are buses from the station to the coast but I was there to hike so I walked the 1.7 kilometers to the most famous part of the trail where you can check out the lighthouse and Jogasaki Suspension Bridge. I have actually been there before but enjoyed the experience again before heading off down the trail south along the coast. The rugged coast line has spectacular views along the way. Trails are well marked with maps and info about the area. I highly recommend stopping to read the signs as you will learn not along about the geological formations that Izu is famous for but also a bit of interesting cultural tidbits, and also about the trees and flowers that grow there. Before you reach the fishing village at the end of the trail you will also pass some temples, 2 suspension bridges, a waterfall, and a (paid) garden with a restaurant selling lunch and ice-cream. It took 2 to 3 hours to reach the fishing village where I headed back up towards the main road (which was the steepest and hardest part of the hike). I had lunch in the area before making my way to Izu-kogen Station. The Station has a few restaurants and souvenir shops where you can recharge and kill some time before boarding. Once I returned home I checked my iphone’s health app which told me I had taken over 21,000 steps, climbed 100 floors and completed 15.7 kms. Well worth it!