Summer at Atami


Reachable by local train (JR Tokaido Line) or special rapid express (Superview Odoriko) from either Yokohama or Tokyo in an hour or so, the town of Atami at Shizuoka Prefecture is synonymous to the idea of Japanese summer- hot spring or beach, take your pick.

Making the most of my summer, I decided to spend a day at Atami to get a glimpse on why the town was the preferred destination for company sponsored trip back in the 90s or what others might call as the decade of the rise of salary man.
atami

If you Google the location β€œAtami”, chances are you will find very limited information, compare let say if you search for Hakone. Even some websites has outdated info claiming that English maps/brochures are scarce, on the contrary there are plenty available at the tourist information desk beside JR Atami station, with some staff can communicate fairly in English.

Doing the same thing as the others day trip visitors, I purchased a the 800 Yen Yu-Yu bus that conveniently travel around town, stopping on tourist spots with a guide volunteer on-board, but the only drawback like any public transportation is the waiting time in between destination.

My first stop is Atami Castle.
If you been to other castles in Japan, this might be worth skipping, though the view of the town at such elevation is quite impressive.
atami
atami

A few minutes walk from the castle is Atami Adult Museum, which ironically showcases two things- sex art works and great ocean view. I am no position to comment on what is inside the museum, I did not attempt to enter and waste my 1,700 Yen for silly stuff.
atami

It may not be the real deal, but Atami Sun Beach is as crowded as any natural beach spot in the country. The desire of the visitors to enjoy summer is so overwhelming, when view from afar the whole beach area resemble a prototype of some vacation resort.
atami
atami
atami
atami
atami
atami

On the other end of the beach area is the Moon Terrace, as the name suggests a perfect place for a stroll at night and some moon viewing.
atami
atami

My trip to any place in Japan will not be complete without visiting a temple or shrine. In the case of Atami, I have dedicated the rest of the afternoon visiting Kinomiya Jinja (Shrine of Wood) and its 2000 years old, giant camphor tree.
atami
atami

It is believed that everytime you walk on the pathway around the tree, your life will be extended by an additional year. Skeptic or not, circulating the pathway is the only way to appreciate the tree massive trunks so consider the additional life as a bonus.
atami
atami

Another recommended stop at Atami is the Museum of Art and its 200m elevation escalator ride. The collection is not as good as the other MoA in the country though it features an outside garden.
atami
atami
atami

To complete a day trip in Atami and to rest the tired feet is the free foot bath close to the station. Omiyage (souvenir) can be bought across the three lane shopping street located adjacent to the station.
atami
atami
atami
atami
atami

Though usually associated with an overnight stay for an Onsen experience/ Geisha performance, the local government of Atami is focusing on reviving a once booming local tourism industry by promoting other places of interest apart from the beach area. If you have limited time on your trip to Japan, I suggest to skip Atami but if you have a spare day or so, the 2,000 years old camphor tree and the sun beach are both worth considering.

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37 thoughts on “Summer at Atami

  1. Thank you for sharing interesting information about Atami. Visiting temples during the trip will make the whole satisfied!!! it happens in my case πŸ™‚

    1. agree..
      some facilities are quite old but still there are numerous people visiting particularly the beach area, which is good!

    1. agree with you!
      the camphor tree is really impressive.i never seen a 2,000 years old tree before (or maybe i just dont know how old the other trees are) πŸ™‚
      thanks!

  2. That is an utterly awesome tree. Forget the beach and the sex museum. I’ll park myself at the shrine and just stare at that tree for a whole day. Happiness.

    1. πŸ™‚
      everytime i visit temples/shrines somehow your name pops into my mind..
      you are the expert on finding amazing templess and i know you will like the camphor tree!

    1. thanks Marina!
      some people might be disappointed with the overwhelming crowd, on the contrary was actually a fun sight and kind of completed the summer vibe.

  3. What a wonderful tree! I can’t begin to imagine what it’s gone through in its life. And I really like that people are encouraged to walk around it, it gives it the respect and appreciation it deserves =)

  4. Thank you thank you thank you for including that photo of the ι‡‘θ‰²ε€œε‰ (2nd to last). I see that image everywhere and no one seems to know what “That image of the guy with the coat kicking the girl in the kimono” was. Now I can research it!

    1. welcome! you are the first one who commented on that specific photo.
      there is an actual statue located at the Atami Sun Beach area, i only realized that I bypassed it once i’m back home.
      quite a love story of Kan-ichi and O-Miya, but does O-Miya deserves to be kicked? looking forward to your blog post about this! πŸ™‚

  5. Thank you, that was very interesting, and you’re right, there isn’t much online about Atami. Glad you enjoyed you trip there.

  6. I’m planning a day trip to Atami from Tokyo this coming May. Would a day be sufficient to do everything that you listed here? πŸ˜€ My friend and I are planning on checking out the adult museum though!

    1. Hi Charlene,
      Sorry for the late reply.
      Yes, i think a day should be sufficient to tour around Atami and the Adult Museum is walking distance away from Atami Castle.
      Enjoy!

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