The coast line that greeted us was a dramatic one, even on an overcast day. Here, the forest and the ancient lava flow met the Pacific Ocean.
The basalt column cliffs were formed from lava flows from Omuroyama, about 4000 years ago. In geological terms, that’s all very recent. The flows went on for miles, and it’s a great place to walk along.
The Jogasaki Coast walk was 9km long, but we didn’t need to walk such a long way to get some great views.
There was even a 60 metre suspension bridge (suspended 18 metres above the sea) from which to appreciate the scene.
We weren’t the only ones enjoying the morning walk. This couple were walking a pair of beagles along the bridge. I must say that our beagle, Bridie, wouldn’t be so daring as these little guys.
After all that food at the onsen, we really needed a walk. Luckily, the onsen had that covered too – the next morning we joined their free guided walk down to the Jogasaki Coast.
The first part of the walk was by a fast-flowing river that ran through some spectacular forest.
It was a temperate rainforest, and there were plenty of details to take in.
We even saw a lovely-looking spider. These guys aren’t deadly, but they do make you pretty sick. Luckily they are pretty tame, unlike some of its Aussie relatives.
We followed the river until it tumbled into the sea.
And then, what did we find?
Breakfast at the onsen ryokan was appropriately lavish. This is Japanese rice porridge with many, many accompaniments.
And dinner was once again kaiseki style.
The dinners here were definitely the best we had in Japan. They utilised plenty of local seasonal produce, and being by the sea, it included plenty of seafood.
So very refined. There was also plenty of ingredients from the land too.
And of course, there were some intricate desserts too.
We were really happy after all that food! And a few kilos heavier too. Perhaps it was time for some exercise?
‘Onsen’ is the Japanese word for ‘hot spring’, and being at the junction of three tectonic plates, there’s a lot of hot water spurting from the ground. Many of the famous hot springs are up in the mountains, but because of Hubby’s geological interest we visited one that was near the ocean.
The Izu peninsula is closer to Tokyo than Kyoto, so we backtracked quite a few kilometers on the Shinkansen. We stayed in the small seaside town of Izu-Kogen, at Ryokan Hanafubuki, an onsen resort.
The ryokan is actually many buildings, some accommodation, others for hot springs, all located on a lush forest/garden.
Each hot spring (there are seven of them) had water piped from underground, an adjacent enclosed private garden and lockable doors, so you can have the place to yourself. This was really a place to relax and enjoy the onsen.
Our rooms were enormous this time, with private gardens and even a sitting room.
In a garden close by, we could see the local (currently dormant) volcano, Omuroyama. There was even a lounge chair from which we could contemplate its form. So Japanese.