Atami is a small seaside city set on volcanic hills on the Izu Peninsula. It’s a popular retreat destination from Tokyo for Japanese people because it is less than an hour away via bullet train, is home to numerous hot springs, and is only a short train ride away from Hakone - a town that is a part of the Hakone-Fuji-Izu National Park. Compared with Hakone, Atami remains relatively unknown to tourists, which helps with it’s allure. The Shinkansen (bullet train) reaches Atami in only 39 or 49 minutes, depending on which train you catch.
Most of the accommodations in Atami are traditional Japanese inns (ryokan). If you haven’t experienced a stay at a traditional ryokan with hot springs, it really should be at the top of your list. I love Atami because, for one, it sits right on the coast. There’s almost nothing more relaxing than waking up to a stunning view of the ocean.
Secondly no matter where you stay, you’re guaranteed to have access to a hot spring. Beyond the fact that hot springs are good for the soul, there are often medicinal mineral properties in the water benefitting your body as equally as your soul.
Atami’s main street is an interesting place to explore on foot. There are two outdoor covered malls near the train station with vendors selling rice crackers, mochi cakes, seafood, tea, and other Japanese snacks.
There are also a few dive bars and izakayas on the lower floors that are good for a visit for a night cap, including a small wine bar with an impressive selection and an owner who speaks some English. Oh, there’s also a bakery there at which I ate the best pastry of my entire life.
If you venture further from the station on the main road you’ll notice that many of the shops are still housed in the original buildings which are now around 100 years old. The steeply sloping road is lined with shops and restaurants like these.
About a 10 minute walk from the station you’ll see a street on your right called Atami Ginza. This road leads to the beach, and is also where you’d go for some of Atami’s night life and bars (though really that’s not what Atami is known for. Don’t come expecting to go out and rage). Most people spend the later evening times in their ryokan relaxing in the hot spring and eating a traditional kaiseki (set) dinner.
From Atami’s pier you also have the option to take a 30 minute ferry to Hatsushima, a resort island. There are small seafood restaurants here serving the catches of the day and a high ropes course. The island is small and takes less than an hour to walk around it’s entirety.
We hope this helps as you plan a day away from Tokyo! Drop us a line to let us know how you experience was there.