There are many hot spring resort towns scattered throughout Japan. One of the oldest and most famous of these hot springs is Shuzenji Onsen on the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka . The peaceful scenery is popular among Japanese people and tourists. Built along the Katsura River, there are hot springs, restaurants, small shops, museums, Shuzenji temple, and little walking paths for all your exploring needs. Shuzenji is doable as a day trip from Tokyo. However if you are coming from Nagoya or Kyoto/Osaka, you should spend at least one night in a nearby town. Mishima, Atami, or Numazu are a few convenient places to set up camp. In this post, I’ll give you a mini overview and guide to Shuzenji Onsen.
Mini guide to Shuzenji Onsen – Getting there
To get to Shuzenji, take the Tokaido Shinkansen or the Tokaido Main Line to Mishima Station in Shizuoka. From Mishima Station, change to the Izu-Hakone Line, which will take you to Shuzenji Station in 30 minutes. From there, you should take a bus into the hot spring area of the town. When my husband and I went, we decided to walk from the station into town instead of take the bus (’cause sometimes we are just too cheap). This probably wasn’t the best decision because it is about a 30-40 minute walk. We did, however, get this lovely view of the Kano River.
What can you do in Shuzenji?
Since Shuzenji is an onsen town, a nice activity to do here is to soak your feet in the natural, open-air hot spring in the middle of the town. This foot onsen is called Tokko-no-yu, and it’s where the hot springs were first discovered. Make sure you have a small towel with you, unless you want to put your wet feet back into your socks. Yuck. If you want to experience a full onsen, the indoor onsens will cost money to get in, and you’ll hafta get nakey.
Take a stroll over the red bridges and see the houses built over the canal. In the centre of the town is Shuzenji Temple and Hie Shrine. You’ll find some cute and strange statues and rock carvings. There’s also a mini path leading through a small bamboo grove. It’s not as expansive as Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto, but it’s also not as crowded. So that’s nice. And there are lots of mysterious lanes and back alleys to explore if you want to get off the main road.
Shuzenji is not a big town. It doesn’t take long to walk the entire town several times. But there is enough to for fun day of exploring. You could even come back at different times of the year and see it during different seasons.
Where can you stay in Shuzenji?
Since Shuzenji is a hot spring town, there are several Japanese ryokans, including one named after the hot spring itself. These accommodations should have a tatami room, futons, and complementary yukatas to borrow. Also very nice Japanese meals, and an on-site hot spring. Of course, quality of these all is dependent on your budget. You will more than likely need to have made a reservation in advance, especially if you are going during a weekend or holiday. And be prepared to fork over a bit of cash. I can’t recommend any hotels in Shuzenji from personal experience because I didn’t stay here.
My husband and I didn’t spend the night in Shuzenji (I already mentioned we were cheap). So at the end of our day we headed back to Numazu, my old stomping ground from 2005-2006, to look for a hotel. If you are coming on a Japanese holiday, you should have a reservation at a regular hotel. We came during Golden Week with no reservations had a hard time finding a hotel with vacancy in Numazu. All that was available was a love hotel. 😉
Conclusion – Mini guide to Shuzenji Onsen
Walking around Shuzenji makes for a fun and relaxing afternoon, especially if you are trying to get away from the bustle of a Japanese city. It is wise to do a bit of planning before visiting, particularly regarding accommodations. Though even if you come for just a day trip, it is nice to see a slower and older side of Japan.
If you are finished exploring Shuzenji and have a car, a fun thing to do next is drive around the coast of the Izu Peninsula. I did this quite a few years ago, and the scenery on the Jogasaki Coast is awesome. It’s all rocky cliffs with waves crashing over them.
I hope you enjoyed this mini guide to Shuzenji Onsen. I told you it was mini. If you are staying in Tokyo, check my list of 101 things to do in Tokyo.
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