Atami is a famous seaside getaway, developed around a beach, but this being Japan it is the onsen that most local tourists are here for, and they’ve been visiting this area to bathe for centuries.
Atami’s proximity to Hakone and Mount Fuji mean it too shares those mineral-rich warm waters, and has many hot bathing destinations to choose from. Most are tied into resorts and ryokan but these do offer some incredibly reasonable day tripper deals.
While Atami might not host the best beach on the peninsula, it is an easy day trip from Tokyo even without a car, something that can’t really be said for all of Izu. The sandy beach is artificial, and so is the town in so many ways: ghost hotels and empty towers dot the crowded bay. If this sounds interesting to you, then take a camera. You won’t be disappointed if dilapidated showa beach resorts are your bag.
The beach is fun. Easily accessed, big enough to not feel crowded unless you visit in the peak summer months, and with a gentle bay you can swim comfortably. After swimming you can find a charming seaside restaurant or izakaya or take a steaming bath to wash off the salt. You could even end the day in Hakone and wake up to a mountain sunrise.
Where is Atami?Stationed in the Izu-Hakone national park, Atami is on the west of Sagami Bay. It’s only about 20 km from Hakone, Mt Hakone and the beautiful Lake Hakone, so it can definitely serve as a seaside escape if the mountain onsen start to make your skin wrinkle.
Atami has panoramic great views, taking in the bay, the mountains and of course mount Fuji’s iconic slopes.
How do I get to Atami?
From Tokyo there are a few different ways to get to Atami, and the one you choose really just depends on the size of your budget. If money isn’t an issue or you have a JR Travel Pass, then why not take the Shinkansen (48 minutes, 4360 JPY) from Tokyo Station?
Shinkansen aside, from Shinjuku you need to join up with the Tokaido Line. The fastest way is to take the Odakyu Line to Fujisawa and then change platform to the Tokaido (roughly 2 hours and 1560 JPY).
If you’re not planning an overnight stay be careful to keep on eye on the timetable for last trains or you’ll be marooned on a beach with a carton of sake and a picnic. Could be worse …
For an onsen with ocean views at a reasonable price, we recommend Atami Seaside Resort (熱海シーサイドスパ＆リゾート)While a lot of the onsen are attached to hotels and can become pretty pricey, this one is only 1000 JPY and open to all. It has a range of baths including open air, rock bath and large bathing pools. They also have some rather nice food, hotel rooms and more. Check their website for more. Ten minutes from JR Atami Station.
For a daytime bargain (it closes at 1800) if you don’t mind the 5 minute shuttle bus, try Heartpia Atami (ハートピア熱海). For 2200 JPY you can have lunch and an afternoon of onsen: a daytrip into ryokan living minus the price tag! Last entry is at 1500 but get there early to enjoy an early bedtime in one of their tatami relaxation spaces.
Atami has a fantastic Japanese Castle just to the south along the bay, about 2 kms walk from the station. It’s utterly fake, having been constructed for tourists in 1959, but what it lacks in history it makes up for in kitsch, and has terrific views of Sagami Bay. It’s open 9-5 and costs 900 JPY.
If you miss the last train? There’s a konbini near the beach, pick a spot on the sand and enjoy the sunrise!