The Ultimate Drive Through the Soothing Natural Beauty of Izu①

special thanks to BMW Japan
  • TEXT
  • Ayako Tajiri
  • Shinsuke Sugino
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  • Who doesn't want to get a little away from the everyday and go on a trip, get in touch with nature, and refresh the soul? When that’s the kind of mood you’re in, we recommend going on a drive around the Izu Peninsula. In addition to being easily accessible from Tokyo, the Izu Peninsula offers seaside vistas and lush natural landscapes that differ completely depending on the area, all in one trip. In addition, there are many scenic destinations found here unlike anything anywhere else, such as rugged crags and islands formed by intense volcanic activity ages ago.

  • The Izu Peninsula can be broadly divided into four areas. The Eastern Izu area encompasses the cities of Atami and Ito, and the Izu Highland. The Southern Izu area includes the city of Shimoda and its beautiful, sprawling coastal scenery. Dogashima, known for its spectacular sunsets, can be found in the Western Izu area. And the Central Izu area, where visitors can enjoy mountains rich in natural beauty, is the location of the former town of Shuzenji and the cities of Numazu and Mishima.

  • In order to fully take in the vivid variations in terrain, sea color, and mountains all found on the Izu Peninsula, we decided to take a short, one-night, two-day weekend trip.

  • My first stop: Mikuni Izukogen, located in Eastern Izu. This Mediterranean restaurant leverages the natural bounties of Izu and was born through a collaboration between chef Kiyomi Mikuni and architect Kengo Kuma. Mikuni Izukogen serves multi-course meals absolutely crammed with the local natural abundances of a complex coast consisting of Suruga Bay and Sagami Bay, a temperate climate, and rich farmland. The restaurant’s location also offers a sweeping view of the Izu Highland and the sea, and here diners will find all five senses stimulated.