What is Shuzenji?
There are many hot spring resort towns scattered throughout Japan. One of the oldest and most famous of these hot springs is Shuzenji Onsen. It is on he Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka prefecture. The peaceful scenery is popular among Japanese people. 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, but if you are coming from Nagoya or Kyoto/Osaka, you will want to spend at least one night in a nearby town, like Mishima, Atami, or Numazu.
How do I get there?
To get to Shuzenji you need to take Tokaido Shinkansen or the Tokaido Main Line to Mishima Station. From Mishima station, you need to 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. 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 I do there?
A nice activity to do here is to soak your feet in the open-air hot spring in the middle of the town. Make sure you have a small towel with you, unless you want to put your wet feet into your socks. This place is Tokko-no-yu, and it’s where the hot springs were first discovered.
There is also Shuzenji Temple in the centre of town. It is a Zen Buddhist temple, and there some interesting statues and rock carvings.
A bamboo grove runs through town, and you can explore mysterious lanes and stairways.
Keep an eye out for sundried squid hanging in the side streets.
I don’t have any restaurants to recommend because I can’t remember what or where I ate…
Where can I stay?
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.
My husband and I didn’t spend the night in Shuzenji (because we were cheap). So at the end of our day we headed back to Numazu to look for a hotel. Although, if you are coming on a Japanese holiday, you should also have a reservation at a regular hotel even in a different part of the prefecture. We had a hard time finding a hotel with vacancy in Numazu – all that was available was a love hotel.
Walking around Shuzenji makes for a 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.
Thanks for reading, and let me know if you have been to Shuzenji or any other hot spring towns in Japan. Or if you have any plans for the future.
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