My visit to Izu Nagaoka was quite a random, last minute choice for a day trip. Located in Shizuoka prefecture, it is a town that I had been through by train on my way to Shuzenji Onsen, so I decided to get off and see what I could find. Overall it was an interesting day, but there were some “if only” moments along the way.
Arriving at Izu Nagaoka around 10:15, I headed straight to the little tourist information centre next to the station to find out my options for onsen. My criteria were somewhere in nature, definitely a rotenburo (outside bath) and how about a view of Mt Fuji from the bath as well!!
I was in luck! New Hakkein, is ryokan located up on a hill, and on a good day, provides a view of Mt Fuji. Even better, there was a bus pass that combined the bus fare and entrance to the onsen at the ryokan for only 740yen. This was a great deal considering the normal entrance price for the onsen was 2000 yen on the weekend (including towels/yukata). I have been noticing it defintely does pay to call into the information centres as the tourism regions actively promote these types of deals and provide various discount coupons.
Izunokuni Panorama Park
Hakkeien is about a 15 minute bus ride from Izu Nagaoka station. I had a little time to kill prior to the bath opening from 12pm, so I went for a wander and discovered there was a ropeway nearby that takes you up to the summit of Mt Kasuragi which provides 360 degree spectacular views over Suruga Bay, Hakone Mountains, Amagi Mountains and Mt Fuji!! My heart went from “yippeeee!” to disappointent in 1 second flat when I discovered that the ropeway was closed for maintenance for the week…..! I had to make do with wandering through a gift shop area and seeing some local citrus produce. Looking at a flyer had to suffice as my view….
Following my detour, I headed to Hakkeien, up quite a steep hill to the entrance way. It was quite a large hotel/ryokan and slightly dated and old fashioned in the way they did things. Once I was “processed” at the front desk and armed with my towel and yukata, I was shown up to the 5th floor where the bathing facilities were. As it was midday, it was lovely and quiet – it really is the best time to enjoy onsen at ryokan or hotels as it is between checkout and check in for the regular hotel guests.
As I undressed, I looked out the window across the hills and wondered if I was going to be lucky enough to get a view of Mt Fuji. It was looking quite cloudy so I was guessing I might be pushing my luck….
There were 2 major bathing areas – indoor and outdoor. I headed straight outdoors as there were also washing areas out there, and I hoped to catch a glimpse of Mt Fuji, but it turned into another “if only” moment…..Nevertheless, the facilities were lovely with an area for laying in shallower water whilst gazing up at the sky or looking across at the hills. There were also a few smaller baths including a mizuburo, which is a cold bath to take intermittently between the hot bath or sauna facilities.
Despite missing out on the view, the onsen quality was very good, and I was grateful for soaking in all of the goodness .
From Tokyo, take the Shinkansen (Kodama) to Mishima and change to the Izuhakone Tetsudo Sunzu line. ( approximately 1 hour 40 minutes)