Sightseeing in Izu: Kanto's best snorkeling spot Hirizo Beach - Adventures of Anette

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sightseeing in Izu: Kanto's best snorkeling spot Hirizo Beach

Izu (伊豆半島) is a peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture known for among other things its marvellous coastlines, and has for many years been a top destination for Japanese tourists seeking to enjoy water activities such as snorkling. One of the beautiful places in Izu that yet are to be discovered by tourists, or at least by foreigners, is the Hirizo Beach (known as Hirizohama / ヒリゾ浜 in Japanese) at the very tip of the Izu peninsula. This beach is out of reach from the road, and you have to take a boat to get there. The trip by boat takes only a couple of minutes, and there is a ferry boat operating constantly during the summer.
Above: The Hirizo beach seen from the Aiai cape
If you have access to a car this would definitely be the easiest way to get to the boat terminal. There is a parking lot right by the terminal where you can park your car, but the closest parking spots usually starts to get filled up already in the wee hours if you visit during the weekend so you'd have to be early if you want to snatch one of those parking spots. In our case we started the weekend by driving from Tokyo on Friday evening and reached the ferry terminal around 4 hours later. In that way we could both get a parking spot right at the terminal and also ensure a good spot in the queue for the ferry. Here's a short movie that shows how it was like:

The Hirizo Beach is extremely popular, and in the morning the queue to the boat can be particularly long. My group could get on the first boat thanks to our early arrival, but a couple of friends who arrived later apparently had to line up and wait for around 30 minutes before they could get on the ferry boat.
Another good thing about arriving early at the Hirizo Beach is that you'll have the chance to pick your preferred spot for your beach tent. It can get extremely hot at the beach and there's no other options to get some shade so bringing a beach tent is a must. The beach will get extremely crowded during peak season, and a tent can ensure that you get your own little private space as well. Around an hour after we arrived at the beach the whole area was covered by beach tents.
People putting up their tents
The Hirizo Beach is very rocky, so if you are looking for a place to go sunbathing in Izu you might want to visit one of the peninsula's white sandy beaches such as Yumigahama (弓ヶ浜) instead.
One of the reasons Hirizo Beach is so popular is not the beach in itself; rather it is the tropical sea life and all the pretty things to see once you dive into the ocean. Hirizo Beach is known as one of the Kantō region's best snorkeling spots, and in the clear water you can see many types of exotic sea creatures lurking around the corals. Here are some of the photos we took during our day at Hirizohama:
After you've been on the beach for a while you might want to get some food, but here's the deal: There are no places to get food once you reach the beach. Fortunately the 1,500 yen ticket to the boat (500 yen for kids) can be used as many times as you'd like during the day of purchase so most people leave most of their belongings on the beach (another great thing about having a beach tent where you can leave stuff) and take the trip back to the boat terminal to grab lunch at one of the local restaurants there. It can get pretty crowded during lunch hours so my recommendation would be to beat the crowds by taking an early lunch and come back when the other visitors go to the mainland for food.

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below
-Anette

Basic information

Name of Beach Hirizo Beach (ヒリゾ浜)
Address 〒415-0311 Shizuoka-ken, Kamo-gun, Minamiizu-chō, Iruma 南伊豆町中木

Access ①By car (recommended)
② 2 hours & 45 minutes by train from Tokyo to Shimoda Station, then 45 min by local bus from Shimoda Station (下田駅) to Nakagi Station (中木駅) in the direction Izukyu Shimoda Station (伊豆急下田駅)
Boat Departure Hours 8:30 - 16:00 (Departing every 5 minutes during peak season)
Parking 260 cars(Be aware that the parking lots at the terminal get filled up early in the morning)Here's a map of the parking area:
Homepage http://www.nakagi.jp/ (Japanese only)

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About Anette Hansen
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who'd gladly trade a trip to the shoppingmall for a hike in the forest any day.

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Adventures ofAnette


The classical story about a girl who went for a one-year exchange program to Japan, fell in love and got stuck there. Starting out as a student in Kyoto in 2010 I now work full-time in Tokyo as a hotel consultant, and write mostly about my travels, working life in Japan as well as a bunch of random stuff.
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