Nestled within the verdant hills of Japan’s eastern coast lies a hidden gem known as Atami. This idyllic seaside town boasts a plethora of attractions that are sure to leave even the most seasoned travelers awestruck.
Atami’s illustrious history as a hot springs resort town dates back centuries, and the area is steeped in rich cultural traditions that continue to thrive to this day. From its lush gardens to its panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, Atami offers visitors a respite from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
One cannot help but be enchanted by the town’s blend of modernity and tradition, with its historic landmarks and contemporary developments coexisting in harmonious synergy. The streets are lined with quaint shops and cozy cafes, while towering skyscrapers offer glimpses of the city’s thriving business sector.
The true allure of Atami lies in its natural wonders, including the famous hot springs that have been revered for their healing properties for centuries. The surrounding landscape is dotted with breathtaking waterfalls, verdant hills, and winding paths that lead to hidden alcoves and secret beaches.
Whether you seek relaxation, cultural enrichment, or outdoor adventure, Atami offers something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the town’s vibrant atmosphere and discover for yourself why Atami is considered one of Japan’s most treasured destinations.
Atami City Guide: A Brief History Of Atami, Japan
Atami is a seaside resort town located in the eastern part of Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Its history dates back over 1,200 years, to the Nara period (710-794), when it was known as Kiya-hama. During the Heian period (794-1185), Atami became a popular destination for nobles and aristocrats seeking rest and relaxation.
In the Edo period (1603-1868), Atami gained even more popularity as a hot spring resort town. The town’s hot springs were believed to have medicinal properties and were highly valued for their healing properties. The Tokugawa Shogunate, which ruled Japan during this period, also recognized the value of Atami’s hot springs and began promoting the town as a destination for the wealthy and powerful.
During the Meiji period (1868-1912), Atami continued to grow and develop as a resort town. It became a favorite destination for artists and writers, who were drawn to its beautiful scenery and tranquil atmosphere. Some of Japan’s most famous literary figures, including Natsume Soseki and Yasunari Kawabata, spent time in Atami and wrote about the town in their works.
In the postwar period, Atami continued to thrive as a resort town, attracting tourists from both Japan and overseas. Today, Atami remains a popular destination for those seeking relaxation, hot springs, and beautiful ocean views. It is also known for its delicious seafood and traditional Japanese cuisine.
Atami Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in Japan
Teaching English in the Tokyo area and need to get away from the pressures of the city for a weekend? Looking to unwind after a torrid travel schedule? Atami might just be for you, as its mountains, Onsens, and beaches will provide plenty of ways to help you unwind.
Aside from this, there are enough attractions to keep history and culture buffs interested, but even if you don’t go out of your way to see them, you’ll still have a good time during your visit to Atami.
Come check out our Atami travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Atami, Japan.
Start your visit to Atami by first checking out the Kiunkaku. Constructed in 1919 as a private villa for a shipping CEO, it served in that capacity until 1947, when it was handed over to the local government. The authorities here converted it into a ryokan, or a Japanese-style inn, which took guests up until 1999.
In the present day, this luxurious abode serves as one of the most popular tourist attractions in Atami. While touring this structure, don’t miss its Roman-style bath, nor its immaculately-styled garden. After strolling through it, have a seat at this attraction’s on-site cafe and enjoy hot teas and treats within view of its finest features.
Next, appreciate some of the best visual works of art produced in this part of Japan by spending a couple hours at the MOA Museum of Art. Here, you’ll find calligraphy, sculptures, and paintings sourced from across the country and East Asia.
Started from the private collection of a wealthy local by the name of Okada Mokichi, three of the works here are considered national treasures, making this attraction an unmissable one in Atami for anyone who thinks of themselves as a culture vulture.
Like the preceding attraction, there is a tea house and a Japanese garden out back, so don’t be in a rush to leave after viewing the main collection.
Those wanting to take in the primary religious attractions in the Atami area will want to start with the Kinomiya Shrine. The Japanese hold this place in high regard, as they view a particular tree on this site as a life-giving entity.
According to local lore, this 2,000-year-old specimen (which is known as ‘Okusu’) grants those who walk around its circumference an extra year of life. Pilgrims come from all over Japan to pray for deliverance from their ailments and for continued good health.
The shrine itself is over 1,300 years old and while humble, it is a peaceful place that will help diffuse any stresses suffered in the big city.
Izu-san-jinja Shrine is another Shinto landmark visitors to Atami should make an effort to see during their time here. It is one of the oldest shrines of its kind in Japan, as it has existed in this place since the 4th century BC.
While its age makes this place a viable attraction all by itself, it draws tons of domestic visits due to its reputation as a place which lends itself to the fulfillment of romantic desires.
Long ago, an exiled politician met a woman from a powerful family here. They fell in love, but her father forbade her to see him; instead, he set her up with another man of his choosing. Rather than submit to her father’s wishes, though, she risked ostracization by her family by choosing the exiled politician at the last moment.
As a result, locals pray at this temple for their wishes of true love to be realized, but even if that isn’t enough to draw you here, the ocean views in front of it should seal the deal.
Other Cultural Attractions: Trip to Atami, Japan
During your time in Atami, there are a few day trips worth taking – Hatsushima is definitely one of them. An island situated ten kilometres out in Sagami Bay, it is a popular getaway for locals and tourists alike.
Though small, it has a number of attractions that will keep you busy all day. Start with its botanical garden, as it has a respectable collection of tropical and subtropical plants. Explore the depths surrounding this speck in the ocean with any one of a number of dive outfits, and then warm up afterwards at the Onsen.
Finally, there is a wide selection of restaurants along the harbour walk – they can be expensive, but everything is fresh, meaning you are basically assured of having a wonderful meal here.
Back on land, be sure to check out the Akao Herb and Rose Garden if you are into flora. Situated on a hillside with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, you’ll be surrounded by beauty as you make your way through its 12 theme gardens.
April is the best time to come if you like tulips, while rose lovers will want to drop by during the months of May and June.
During the summer months, residents of Tokyo seeking relief from the heat hit the sands of Atami Sun Beach. For this reason, coming in peak season may not be the best idea for claustrophobes, though, the nightly firework displays are quite lovely.
source: Japan by Food on YouTube
Top 10 Things To Do in Atami, Japan For Visitors
Here are the top 10 things to do in Atami:
- Visit Atami Castle: Built in the 1950s, this replica of a traditional Japanese castle is a popular tourist attraction in Atami. Visitors can climb to the top for panoramic views of the city and the sea.
- Relax in Hot Springs: Atami is known for its many hot springs, which offer a relaxing way to unwind after a day of sightseeing. Some of the most popular hot springs in the area include Kinomiya Onsen, Atami Onsen, and Yugawara Onsen.
- Explore MOA Museum of Art: This museum is home to an impressive collection of Japanese art, including paintings, ceramics, and sculptures. The building itself is also a work of art, with stunning views of the ocean from its hilltop location.
- Walk Along Atami Sun Beach: This scenic beach is a popular spot for sunbathing and swimming in the summer months. There are also several beachside cafes and restaurants where visitors can enjoy a meal with a view.
- Visit Akao Herb and Rose Garden: This sprawling garden is home to over 1,000 varieties of herbs and roses, as well as several scenic walking paths and a restaurant serving herb-inspired cuisine.
- Admire the Views from MOA Observatory: Located on the top floor of the MOA Museum of Art, the observatory offers stunning views of Atami and the surrounding coastline. On a clear day, visitors can even see Mount Fuji in the distance.
- Explore Atami Geigi Kenban: This traditional geisha house offers visitors a glimpse into the world of geisha culture, with live performances and workshops on traditional crafts like calligraphy and tea ceremony.
- Take a Boat Tour: Visitors can take a sightseeing boat tour of Atami Bay, which offers stunning views of the coastline and the surrounding mountains.
- Enjoy Local Cuisine: Atami is known for its seafood, especially its famous “sakura shrimp,” which are caught in the waters around the city. Visitors can sample these and other local delicacies at the many seafood restaurants in the area.
- Attend Atami Sea Fireworks Festival: Held annually in August, this spectacular fireworks display over Atami Bay is one of the largest in Japan and draws thousands of visitors each year.
What To Eat and Drink in Atami, Japan
Atami is known for its delicious seafood, and visitors should definitely try some of the local specialties while they are there. Here are some of the must-try foods and drinks in Atami:
- Kaisen-don: This is a bowl of rice topped with various types of fresh seafood such as tuna, salmon, squid, and shrimp.
- Atami seafood: In addition to kaisen-don, there are many other dishes that feature fresh seafood caught off the coast of Atami, including grilled fish, sashimi, and seafood hot pot.
- Wakame seaweed: Atami is known for its high-quality wakame seaweed, which is often used in salads, miso soup, and other dishes.
- Wasabi: Atami is one of the largest producers of wasabi in Japan, and visitors can try fresh wasabi grated at the table with a traditional wooden grater.
- Shochu: This is a Japanese distilled liquor made from various ingredients such as barley, sweet potatoes, and rice. Atami is known for its high-quality shochu, and there are many local varieties to try.
- Green tea: Atami is located near the famous tea-producing region of Shizuoka, and visitors can enjoy high-quality green tea from local tea shops and cafes.
- Amazake: This is a sweet, non-alcoholic drink made from fermented rice. Atami is known for its high-quality amazake, which is often served hot in the winter.
- Tofu: Atami is also known for its high-quality tofu, which is often made with locally sourced soybeans and served in various dishes such as miso soup and salads.
- Tamago-yaki: This is a type of Japanese omelette made with sugar, soy sauce, and dashi (Japanese broth). Atami is known for its delicious tamago-yaki, which can be found in many local restaurants and cafes.
- Local sake: Atami is home to several sake breweries, and visitors can enjoy a variety of high-quality local sake in local bars and restaurants.
Top Restaurants In Atami, Japan
Here are some of the best restaurants to consider in Atami, Japan:
- Wantanya: Asian restaurant in Atami that serves traditional Chinese-style noodles with wontons.
- Terre et Mer: Italian restaurant in Atami that serves lovely and super fresh lunch with a great atmosphere.
- Mugitoro Warabe: Popular restaurant in Atami serving generous portions of various dishes.
- Kimi no Hamayaki: Japanese and seafood restaurant in Atami with a good atmosphere.
- Maruten Atami Station: Deli-style Japanese restaurant with tasty food and large fish cake on a stick.
- Kamatsuru: Japanese seafood restaurant in Atami that serves delicious dried fish and sashimi.
- Umaisushikan Atami: Japanese seafood restaurant in Atami with nice chirashi.
- Terre et Mer: Italian restaurant in Atami that serves lovely and super fresh lunch with a great atmosphere.
- Isomaru Atami Heiwadori: Japanese seafood restaurant worth the visit and the wait.
- Shunyoutei: French restaurant in Atami suitable for a family reunion lunch.
Tours For Visitors To Atami, Japan
Here are some popular tours in Atami:
- Atami Plum Garden & Akao Herb and Rose Garden Tour: This tour takes visitors to two beautiful gardens in Atami – the Atami Plum Garden and the Akao Herb and Rose Garden. Both gardens offer stunning views and are perfect for nature lovers.
- Atami Castle and Kinomiya Shrine Tour: This tour includes a visit to Atami Castle, a historic site that offers panoramic views of the city and the sea, and Kinomiya Shrine, a beautiful Shinto shrine that is over 1,000 years old.
- Atami Onsen Hot Spring Tour: Atami is known for its hot springs, and this tour takes visitors to some of the best onsens in the area. Visitors can relax and soak in the healing waters while enjoying beautiful views of the ocean.
- Atami Seafood Market and Cooking Class Tour: For foodies, this tour is a must. Visitors can explore Atami’s famous seafood market, learn about local ingredients and cuisine, and take a cooking class with a local chef.
- Atami Bay Cruise Tour: This tour takes visitors on a relaxing boat ride around Atami Bay, where they can enjoy the sea breeze and stunning views of the coastline. The cruise also includes a visit to Atami Castle and a stop at a nearby fishing village.
These tours offer visitors a chance to experience the beauty and culture of Atami, and are a great way to explore the city and its surroundings.
Atami Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels
Welcome to the Atami Accommodations Guide! Atami is a beautiful city located in Japan, known for its hot springs, scenic views, and historic landmarks. Whether you’re planning a solo trip, a romantic getaway, or a family vacation, Atami has a wide variety of accommodations to suit your needs. Here are some of the best options:
- Ryokans – These traditional Japanese inns offer a unique cultural experience with tatami floors, futon beds, and communal baths. Some popular options in Atami include Yugawara Ryokan, Hanayagu and Seikanso.
- Onsen Hotels – Atami is famous for its hot springs, and staying at an onsen hotel is the perfect way to experience them. These hotels typically have private hot spring baths in each room, as well as communal baths with different temperatures and minerals. Some top-rated onsen hotels in Atami are Atami Fufu and TAISEIKAN.
- Western-style Hotels – If you prefer a more familiar accommodation style, Atami also has a variety of Western-style hotels. These range from budget-friendly options like Toyoko Inn Atami Ekimae to luxurious resorts like Hotel New Akao and Hotel Grand Bach Atami Crescendo.
- Vacation Rentals – For those who want more space and privacy, vacation rentals are a great option. You can find apartments, houses, and villas available for rent on platforms like Airbnb and Booking.com. Some popular rentals in Atami include Atami Seaside Villa and Atami Onsen Retreat.
No matter which type of accommodation you choose, you’re sure to enjoy your stay in Atami. Happy travels!
Day Trips From Atami, Japan
- Hakone Day Trip: Visit the famous Hakone region, located just a short distance from Atami, and enjoy the natural beauty of Lake Ashi and the stunning views of Mount Fuji. Take a ride on the Hakone Ropeway, explore the Hakone Shrine, and soak in a traditional hot spring onsen.
- Izu Peninsula Day Trip: Explore the scenic Izu Peninsula, which boasts picturesque coastal towns, stunning beaches, and rugged mountains. Visit the famous Jogasaki Coast and marvel at the breathtaking views, enjoy fresh seafood at a local restaurant, and relax in a natural hot spring.
- Odawara Castle Day Trip: Visit the impressive Odawara Castle, a historic landmark dating back to the 15th century. Learn about the castle’s fascinating history, enjoy the panoramic views from the top of the castle tower, and explore the surrounding gardens.
- Shimoda Day Trip: Visit Shimoda, a charming seaside town that played a significant role in Japan’s history. Visit the Ryosenji Temple, where the first American Consulate was established, and learn about the town’s connection to the opening of Japan to the West. Relax on the beaches, hike the nearby trails, and visit the Shimoda Aquarium.
- Tokyo Day Trip: Take a day trip to Tokyo, the vibrant capital of Japan, and explore the city’s many attractions, including the famous Tsukiji Fish Market, the Tokyo Tower, and the Imperial Palace. Enjoy shopping in the trendy Shibuya or Harajuku neighborhoods, and savor the delicious food at a local restaurant.
- Izu Shaboten Zoo: Visit this botanical garden and zoo to see exotic animals, including capybaras, meerkats, and wallabies, as well as a variety of cacti and succulents.
- Numazu Deep Sea Aquarium: Take a trip to this aquarium to see marine life from the deepest parts of the ocean, including giant spider crabs and lanternfish.
- Jogasaki Coast: This scenic coastline is known for its dramatic cliffs, stunning views, and hiking trails that wind through lush forests and along the rugged shoreline.
- Odawara Castle: This historic castle, which dates back to the 15th century, is located just a short train ride from Atami and features a museum with exhibits on samurai culture.
- Hakone Shrine: This Shinto shrine is located on the shores of Lake Ashi in nearby Hakone and is known for its picturesque torii gate and stunning views of Mt. Fuji.
- Kamakura: A coastal city located south of Tokyo. Kamakura is known for its numerous temples and shrines, including the famous Great Buddha of Kamakura.
- Gotemba: A town located at the foot of Mount Fuji. Gotemba Premium Outlets is a popular shopping destination, and there are also several hot springs in the area.
- Yokohama: A city located south of Tokyo, Yokohama is Japan’s second largest city by population. It has a vibrant port area, numerous parks and gardens, and several museums and cultural institutions.
Atami Transportation Guide
Getting to and around Atami is easy with a variety of transportation options available. Here’s a guide to help you navigate your way:
- Train – Atami Station is serviced by the JR Tokaido Shinkansen, making it easily accessible from Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and other major cities. From the station, it’s easy to get around the Atami area by train using the JR Ito Line or the Izukyu Line.
- Bus – The Atami area is also serviced by several bus companies, including the Izu Hakone Bus Company and the Tokai Bus Company. Buses are a convenient way to get around the area and visit nearby attractions.
- Taxi – Taxis are readily available in Atami, and they are a good option for short trips or for traveling to places that are not easily accessible by public transportation.
- Car rental – If you prefer to have your own transportation, car rental is available in Atami. Keep in mind that Japan has strict driving laws and regulations, and you will need an International Driving Permit to drive in Japan.
- Bicycle rental – For a more eco-friendly and active way to explore Atami, consider renting a bicycle. Several rental shops are available in the area, and many hotels also offer bicycle rental services.
No matter which mode of transportation you choose, getting around Atami is easy and convenient.
Where To Visit After Your Trip To Atami?
- Tokyo – Japan’s bustling capital city, Tokyo is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Japan. With a unique blend of old and new, Tokyo offers a plethora of attractions such as the historic Sensoji Temple, modern shopping districts like Shibuya and Shinjuku, and the iconic Tokyo Tower.
- Kyoto – The cultural capital of Japan, Kyoto is home to thousands of temples, shrines, and historic sites. Visitors can experience traditional Japanese architecture, gardens, and cuisine while immersing themselves in the city’s rich history and culture.
- Osaka – Known as the “kitchen of Japan,” Osaka is a food lover’s paradise. With a vibrant street food scene, traditional dishes like okonomiyaki and takoyaki, and some of the best sushi in the country, Osaka is a must-visit for any foodie.
- Hiroshima – Despite its tragic past, Hiroshima has become a symbol of hope and peace. Visitors can pay their respects at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum, explore the historic Hiroshima Castle, and enjoy the city’s beautiful parks and gardens.
- Nara – Just a short train ride from Kyoto, Nara is a charming city known for its friendly deer and historic sites. Visitors can stroll through the beautiful Nara Park, home to over 1,000 deer, and explore the ancient temples and shrines scattered throughout the city.
- Kanazawa – Located on the Sea of Japan, Kanazawa is a beautiful city known for its traditional arts and crafts, historic districts, and delicious seafood. Visitors can explore the stunning Kenrokuen Garden, one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens, and visit the Kanazawa Castle and Higashi Chaya District, a well-preserved geisha district.
- Nikko – A popular day trip from Tokyo, Nikko is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its beautiful temples and stunning natural scenery. Visitors can explore the famous Toshogu Shrine, hike through the Nikko National Park, and relax in the city’s hot springs.
- Takayama – Nestled in the Japanese Alps, Takayama is a picturesque city known for its well-preserved historic district, traditional crafts, and delicious cuisine. Visitors can explore the old town, visit the Hida Folk Village, and sample the local specialty, Hida beef.
- Hakodate – Located on the northern island of Hokkaido, Hakodate is a beautiful port city known for its fresh seafood and stunning views. Visitors can take a cable car up to the top of Mount Hakodate for a panoramic view of the city, explore the historic Motomachi district, and sample the city’s famous seafood cuisine.
- Kamakura – Just a short train ride from Tokyo, Kamakura is a charming seaside town known for its ancient temples and beautiful beaches. Visitors can explore the famous Great Buddha of Kamakura, hike through the city’s lush forests, and relax on the beach.
- Sapporo – The largest city on the northern island of Hokkaido, Sapporo is a vibrant city known for its delicious food, outdoor activities, and stunning winter scenery. Visitors can explore the city’s famous beer gardens, ski or snowboard at one of the nearby resorts, and soak in the city’s hot springs.
- Nagasaki – Located on the southern island of Kyushu, Nagasaki is a city with a fascinating history and beautiful natural scenery. Visitors can explore the city’s historic sites, including the Nagasaki Peace Park and Museum, and enjoy the city’s stunning views of the sea and mountains.
- Shirakawa-go – Located in the Gifu Prefecture, Shirakawago is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses. These unique structures are designed to withstand the heavy snowfall in the region, with their steep thatched roofs resembling the shape of hands in prayer. Visitors can explore the village and learn about the traditional way of life in the area, as well as enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Atami Travel Guide: Final Thoughts
Atami is a charming destination that offers a unique blend of relaxation, natural beauty, and cultural attractions. From its stunning beaches and hot springs to its rich history and picturesque gardens, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Whether you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, explore Japan’s rich culture and history, or simply soak in the natural beauty of the region, Atami is a fantastic choice. With its convenient location just a short trip from Tokyo, it’s the perfect destination for a day trip or weekend getaway.
So why not book your trip to Atami today and discover all that this incredible destination has to offer? With so much to see and do, you’re sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.
Amidst the mountains and the sea, Lies a town, oh so charmingly, With hot springs that flow and heal, And stunning views that truly thrill.
From ancient shrines to modern art, There’s something here to touch your heart, And with each step, you’ll surely find, That Atami is a gem, one of a kind.
So let your worries drift away, And let Atami brighten up your day, For in this town, so full of grace, You’ll find a warm and welcoming embrace.