The Amazing Jogasaki Coast

Bliss!  Photo by SMS
SMS and I decided to go to Jogasaki this weekend. It’s a piece of the coastline on the Izu peninsula, the next peninsula over from Miura where Yokosuka is located. SMS has been climbing around here a few times and he’s brought back such beautiful photos that I was really hoping to visit at some point. Well, we’re acutely aware that our “at some points” are running out so we figured now was the time.
The best travel partner, ever.

We left at 10 since I had to go to work in the morning. I actually went in fairly early but then got stuck due to a mandatory 830 inpatient meeting. Argh!  I was too efficient for my own good. Except I wasn’t because the computers were down so I couldn’t even do other work while waiting. Instead, I read a little more of The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flannagan which is beautifully written. I don’t think I’ll be able to finish it in time before the e-library book expires but I think I’ll buy a hard copy it’s that good.

We’re coming Jogasaki!  Photo by SMS

So, I got home, showered, packed and headed out. We drove through Zushi and stopped at Beach Muffin, a vegan muffin/coffee shop recommended by a friend of ours.  At this point, we just want to go by when it’s open since we’ve been thwarted the past two times we’ve gone.  Well, this time we almost had it.  The door was open and a tall, thin, white guy was tending to the dried fruit.  Well, he worked there and told us they were running a little behind but they’d be open at 11.  We decided to press on since we thought it might take a little longer than that but someday, we’ll be back.  And then probably wonder why we spent so much effort to go to a place that sells teeny-weeny vegan muffins.  One thing that did sound cool is they have a brewpub in the back and were featuring the debut of four microbrews that day but again, Jogasaki beckoned and we continued on our journey.  Our journey consisted of a lot of stop-and-go traffic but we eventually got to our destination.  We stopped for lunch at a specialty restaurant 小田原市役所 水産海浜課 where a lot of Japanese people were going.  There was a huge line/wait for parking and we eventually found a spot in a open air parking garage with no real markings and a one car wide up/down combo ramp.  It wasn’t the best design.

The is the trip advisor map, where the restaurant 小田原市役所 水産海浜課 isn’t even reviewed.
But seriously, this is where everyone was going.

The main draw seemed to be the grill-your-own seafood restaurant but the line looked huge and we were hungry.  We headed to the second floor where we had delicious sashimi rice bowls.  I had one with local fish that included some of the dreaded whiting/shirusu fish, which I gave to SMS and SMS had a poke-style bowl.  Both were delicious and we were very happy.  On the way out, we each had a grilled oyster from a small stand just inside the door.

I feel this picture is useful because several campsites are noted, which are hard to find on the English-speaking internet.

 

Where we were, the first day
Photo by SMS

First, we went to the Kadowaki Suspension bridge (also called the Hanshiro Otoshi Suspension bridge in the trail photo later in this post).  In the map above, we parked in the Kadowaki Parking Lot, which was Y500/day.  SMS took several photos of the suspension bridge and then we walked approximately 1.5 km to the flower park along the shore trail.  You could also take the forest trail or walk along the road.  The views were incredible and even though this is early in the blog post, I highly recommend hiking the Jogasaki Coast.  It is one of the most beautiful places in Japan.  This section is called the Picnic trail and the trail is manmade from a material similar to the soft surface of newer playgrounds.  There are still several staircases so hiking shoes are recommended although certainly not required as evidenced by some fashionable ladies’ footwear choices.

View from our hotel window
After a nice hike, we drove to our hotel in Atagawa.  The area was pretty fully booked for Saturday night but I managed to book a room at the Atagawa Onsen Hotel Ohruri through Agoda.com.  The room rate was $125 for the night and even though the voucher said dinner and breakfast were included, I thought the website said breakfast only.  Based on our rate, I didn’t see how dinner was included.  Well, it was!  Agoda actually called when we are on the hotel’s front steps about to check in saying the hotel had contacted them and wondered about our check-in time since we were in danger of missing dinner!  I was fairly shocked to hear from Agoda since I (unfairly) thought it was a sketchy middleman even though my bookings in the past have always worked out.  Well, chalk one up to unexpectedly good customer service!
Photo by SMS
SMS and I went up to our hotel, changed into our yukatas and hopi coats and went to dinner, which was buffet-style.  We had sashimi, dumplings, tempura fish, salad and miso soup. There was also free sake/beer/wine.  We had our beers, which were dispensed by a machine that initially tips the glass on the side and then sets it upright to finish filling the beer with the perfect amount of foam.  Japanese beers are served with a pretty full head of foam, in contrast to a lot of American bars.  SMS and I were somewhat overly impressed by that machine as evidenced by one of the waiters thinking our amazement was kind of funny.

After dinner, we went to the onsen which was quite nice after a week of workouts and a day of sitting in the car and hiking.  There was a large indoor onsen and a smaller outside onsen, which provided a nice contrast between the hot water and cool night air.  Afterwards, we met back up in our room, which was a huge tatami room suite with a bedroom, sitting area with table, small sitting area/enclosed balcony, a toilet room and a shower room.  It’s the largest hotel room I’ve had in Japan, apart from a suite in the New Sanno.  We were very impressed with the cleanliness and the amazing value.

The next day, SMS and I headed back to the Jogasaki Coast for our real outdoor adventure day after our hotel buffet breakfast, which was pretty good.  This time, we drove to the Southern end of the trail and parked in the parking lot in the Yawatano Fishing Port for Y1000/day.  We hiked to the area SMS and Isaac rock climbed during their prior visit.  We rapelled down into the large cove with multiple walls and routes.

Rapelling in and part of the climbing area (hint: not the water)

The area was pretty difficult route-wise and SMS did the large majority of the climbing.  I’ve lost a lot of finger strength and skill.  While it’s expected after not climbing for almost a year, it’s still frustrating to my competitive nature.  But any grumpiness at not excelling at something I don’t practice (ha, ha, so ridiculous, right?) was instantly evaporated by looking around and seeing what a gorgeous place we were in.  I feel very lucky to share the benefits of SMS’ awesome hobby since we’ve been to some beautiful places in pursuit of fun climbs.  This one may be my favorite, although as soon as I say that, I think of our awesome California road trip that included rock climbing in Tuolumne Meadows and South Lake Tahoe.

Views from our hike.

After a few hours of climbing and lying on hot rocks, we climbed out of the cove and began our hike along the Jogasaki Nature Study Trail.  The signage is very good along the trail, both for directions and mile markers as well as bilingual (J/E) scientific informational signs.  We learned that the coastline was formed by the Mt Omuro eruption 4000 years ago and the subsequent lava flow into the sea.  The cooling lava formed crusts that cracked and shaped by the still-flowing lava and the forces of the sea.  The hike is 6 km from the trailhead in Yawatano and the Renchakuji Temple.  We went out and back and had the most amazing time.  The coastline is so gorgeous with incredible rock formations, lush vegetation and incredible coastline with volcanic rock and gorgeous blue water with amazing visibility.  I will let the pictures do the talking!

L: Cherry blossoms at the temple R: Sunset
More hiking pictures and the selfie stick!
Photo by SMS

After the hike, we went home and stopped at the Izu Kogen brewery.  The food was delicious, especially after a long day of hiking.  The ride home was traffic-free (hooray!).  We were tired by the time we got home but so happy after an awesome weekend!

Photo by SMS

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