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3-Day Model Trip Day3

Fuji Hakone and Izu

3-Day Model Trip Day3 / Fuji Hakone and Izu / Shuzenji - sightseeing in the town - sightseeing around Amagi Point - Kawazu - Shimoda

I started my third day from the representative hot spring resort in the Central Izu, Shuzenji. There is a row of elegant hot spring inns along the Katsura-gawa Valley. I first went to Tokko-no-yu, which was the first hot spring in this area. The legend has it that about 1,200 years ago, a prominent high priest Kobo Daishi Kukai saw a scene where a son was bathing his sick father in the river. Kobo Daishi was impressed and hit the riverbed with a tokko, Buddhist's religious iron club, which made hot water gushing out of the riverbed. Abundant hot spring water is still gushing out with steam even today.

I walked on a well-maintained promenade named "Chikurin-no-shokei", or a lane in bamboo forest along the Katsura-gawa River from Tokko-no-yu. A forest of bamboo trees stretches on both side of the stone paved lane, and a red arched bridge spans over a limpid stream. The truly Japanesque scenery somehow reminded me of Kyoto. I sighed out my admiration of the beauty. After I left the promenade, I visited the Shuzenji Temple, which the name of this town derived from. This is an old famous temple built by the high priest Kobo Daishi. I was impressed that as a hot spring gushes out within its precincts, the hot spring was drawn even into the cleansing basin.

I took a bus from Shuzenji Hot Spring to go further down south in the Central Izu. This route is blessed with hot springs, virgin forests, limpid streams and other abundant natural gifts, and attracted many men of letters for relaxation. The most famous example is Yasunari Kawabata, a Nobel Laureate of literature. He visited Amagi area in Izu every year for 10 years since he was 19 years old. One of his masterpieces "The Izu Dancer " staged in the Amagi-toge Point at the center of the Izu Peninsula was written with the inspiration gained from his experiences in those days.

Another feature of this course is the chances to see many famous waterfalls. The first class among them is the Joren-no-taki Fall. I got off the bus at Joren-no-taki, and walked down on the promenade for about 300 meters to the basin of the falls. Its 25-meter head of water with the width of 7 meter in a virgin forest creates mysterious atmosphere. Near the falls, there were fields of horseradishes that can only grow in limpid streams. Izu has another group of fine waterfalls called Kawazu-nanadaru Falls, or 7 falls of Kawazu. Seven falls are dotted along the Kawazu-gawa River within 2 km. There is a well-maintained hiking course to see all seven falls. The largest is a 27-meter tall Odaru Fall. This fall is situated in a land privately owned by an inn nearby. The inn built open-air baths of all sizes and styles around the basin of this fall. Visitors are allowed to enjoy the baths without staying overnight, so I took this wild opportunity to immerse myself in a hot spring while being splashed with the sprays of a magnificent fall. I got back on the bus from Odaru, which passed a double loop bridge. This bridge is 1,100 meter long and part of a motorway. I heard it has become the landmark of Kawazu-onsen Hot Spring since the construction completed in 1981.

I got off the bus at the terminal, Kawazu Station. Then I took Izukyu Line and headed for Shimoda. Shimoda is situated at the southeastern edge of the Izu-hanto Peninsula, and is the starting point for the tours in the southern Izu. It is also known as the town that greatly contributed to opening the country to foreign trades. In 1853, when Japan had maintained the isolation policy, huge American black ships "Kurofune" came over to the offshore of Uraga near Shimoda. In 1854, Japan-US amity treaty was entered at Yokohama, and at the same time the supplementary Shimoda treaty was signed and the first American Consulate was established in Shimoda.

After a 15-minute walk to the south from the station, I arrived at the Zushu-Shimoda Provincial Museum that exhibits the history of Shimoda and materials relating to opening the harbor to foreign countries. The building has especially eye-catching "namako-kabe", walls covered with square tiles jointed with raised plaster. The walls of this style are excellent in prevention of moisture, so they were popular in the humid southern Izu from the late Edo Period to the subsequent Meiji Era. It displayed a photograph of Commodore Perry from the US who commanded the kurofune fleet, articles left behind by a Russian envoy Putchachin, and about 1,000 other materials.

It was the Ryosen-ji Temple not far from the museum where the Japan-US Shimoda Treaty was entered. In the precincts and the approach way to this temple, about 1,000 American jasmine trees are planted. There is the Kurofune Museum, and they say it has the largest collection of materials relating to Commodore Perry in Japan. The lane where Commodore Perry used to walk on his way to the Ryosen-ji Temple is called the "Perry Road". It is a stone paved promenade built along the river lined with willows on the sides. There are rows of homes with namako-kabe and wooden buildings that used to be prostitutes' quarters. The entire atmosphere is quite retrospective. Branching from the Perry Road, stone steps lead to the Choraku-ji Temple, where the Japan-Russo Treaty was entered to start diplomatic relations with Russia several months after signing of the Japan-US Amity Treaty.

I went up to the Shimoda-koen Park located on top of a tall hill that overlooks the Shimoda Bay. The Kaikoku-kinen-hi, a monument for opening the country, is inscribed with the relief of Commodore Perry and the first American Consular Harris and their words; "I have come here as a peace maker: Perry", "My mission was friendly in all aspects: Harris". From this site, I could see Mt. Nesugata-yama, from which an evening moon was rising hazily, and the Pacific Ocean through which those two men returned home after having accomplished their missions.