Make the most of a day out in the charming hot spring resort of Shuzenji Onsen in the Izu Peninsula, located 2.5 hours away from Tokyo by train and bus, with our Shuzenji Onsen Overnight Trip Itinerary.
View of Mt. Fuji from Mt. Kinkan near the Darumayama Kogen Rest House. - image © Florentyna Leow
Located to the southeast of Tokyo, the Izu Peninsula has all the elements for a great adventure – fantastic hiking trails, rugged cliffs, the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean, and dozens of great little towns to explore. While it's theoretically doable as a day trip, it's far better to take a train out and stay overnight in one of the little towns on the peninsula.
Shuzenji Onsen is a lovely option for an overnight trip out of Tokyo. Surrounded by mountains on all sides, this charming hot spring resort town has gorgeous scenery, delicious food, and an abundance of hot spring baths. It’s especially beautiful during spring for the blossoms, and in autumn for the colours. Unsurprisingly, it’s one of the most popular weekend getaways on the peninsula.
Shuzenji Onsen is named for its principal temple, Shuzenji. It’s said that the temple was founded by Kobo Daishi, Japan’s most famous Buddhist monk. It is also believed that the same monk––in the 9th century––struck a rock with his staff and caused hot spring waters to spring forth, blessing the town with its source of onsen water. Regardless of its real origins, it’s true that the baths here are just fabulous. Besides full-body immersions, you can also soak your feet in one of the foot baths dotted around the town center.
Shuzenji Onsen Itinerary Sections
This itinerary contains the following sections:
- Notes Before You Go
- The Full Shuzenji Onsen Overnight Itinerary
- Shuzenji Onsen Overnight Trip Map
- Recommended Accommodation in Shuzenji Onsen
The Katsura River running through Shuzenji Onsen. - image © Florentyna Leow
Notes Before You Go To Shuzenji Onsen
- This itinerary is a guideline. Add or subtract places as you like.
- Itinerary timings are approximate. Shuzenji Onsen is a small onsen town, and the primary draw of this place is to enjoy the ryokan. It’s a very leisurely itinerary. Adjust the timings to suit your schedule.
- It’s always worth checking train and/or bus times to make sure you won’t miss your connecting flights.
- This is a walking itinerary. Visiting the temple also involves a few flights of stairs, though these are short, can be taken slowly and should not prove too onerous. Put a comfortable pair of walking shoes on and give it a shot!
The Full Shuzenji Onsen Overnight Itinerary
The Marunouchi Underground Exit at Tokyo Station. - image © Florentyna Leow
Shuzenji Onsen Itinerary: Day 1
8:30am Start at Tokyo Station
Begin at any of the exits to JR Tokyo Station. You’ll be traveling on the Tokaido shinkansen bullet train to Mishima Station. You can either take the Hikari or Kodama trains, which are covered by the JR Pass. The fastest Nozomi trains skip Mishima Station.
Tickets can be purchased at the Midori no Madoguchi counter or any ticket machine with a “Shinkansen” signboard above. Ticket machines now have options in English, so it’s simply a matter of following the instructions. Trains may be a little busier during peak travel seasons, so you may want to purchase reserved seats for peace of mind. At the time of writing, a reserved-seat one-way trip from Tokyo Station to Mishima Station costs JPY4400.
Signs for the Kodama train. - image © Florentyna Leow
Follow the signs to the Shinkansen bullet trains. Make sure you always have your ticket with you. I boarded the Kodama train departing at 8:56am. For your pick of train times, consult the train timetable here or use a transport app such as Google Maps.
Mishima Station. - image © Florentyna Leow
9:55am Arrive at Mishima Station
Travelling from Tokyo Station to Mishima Station takes just under an hour. From here, you’ll transfer to the Izu-Hakone Railway for onward travel to Shuzenji Station.
Signs for the South Exit. - image © Florentyna Leow
Follow the signs to the South Exit as pictured above.
Shuzenji Station. - image © Florentyna Leow
10:00am Travel to Shuzenji Station by train
Your next step is to travel to Shuzenji Station. While there’s a train departing at 10:04am, don’t sweat it if you don’t make that train. Give yourself time to buy tickets, use the bathroom, and get to the platform. There’s another one departing at 10:17am; trains to Shuzenji Station depart an average of 4 times an hour.
Train timetables at Izu-Hakone Railway Mishima Station. - image © Florentyna Leow
A one-way journey from Mishima Station to Shuzenji Station costs JPY520. Buy this at the ticket machine, which has purchasing options in English.
Bus times at Shuzenji Station. - image © Florentyna Leow
11:00am Travel to Shuzenji Onsen by bus
You’ll arrive at approximately 10:56am. From here, you’ll take a bus to Shuzenji Onsen. The bus stops are located in front of Shuzenji Station; there’s only one exit. Head over to Bus Stop 1. Buses C10 or 修10 will take you there; check the electronic signboard in front of the ticket gates near 7-11 for more information on bus times.
It’s best to leave any suitcases at your inn before exploring town. In this case, you may want to use the travel directions provided by your accommodation. In any case, the bus journey to the centre of Shuzenji Onsen will take approximately 20 minutes.
In front of Shuzenji Temple. - image © Florentyna Leow
11:45am Explore Shuzenji Onsen
Now that you’ve divested yourself of extra baggage, it’s time to explore Shuzenji Onsen. The town itself is quite compact, with most of the attractions and places to see clustered around the river. It’s mainly about enjoying the atmosphere and scenery. Shuzenji Onsen is lovely at any time of the year, but it’s particularly picturesque in autumn when the fall colours are in full red-and-gold mode.
The gates to Hie Shrine. - image © Florentyna Leow
You might begin with Hie Shrine, located just opposite Togetsu Bridge. Hie Shrine is said to have been built by Kobo Daishi––the founder of the “Esoteric” school of Buddhism, known as Kūkai when alive––and was once the tutelary shrine of nearby Shuzenji Temple.
The cedars in Hie Shrine. - image © Florentyna Leow
The most impressive part of the shrine must be the pair of Japanese cedars towering over the shrine grounds. These are Meotosugi and Ichii-gashi respectively, and they are designated national treasures of Shizuoka.
A little craft shop worth stopping by. - image © Florentyna Leow
Exiting Hie Shrine, follow the river upstream. You’ll see the town centre and the staircase to Shuzenji Temple on your right. En route, you’ll pass by this gift shop––a great little place for souvenirs and presents.
The main building at Shuzenji Temple. - image © Florentyna Leow
Shuzenji Temple was supposedly founded by the aforementioned Kobo Daishi in the 9th century. It is associated with Minamoto no Noriyori, a Japanese warlord during the early Kamakura period (1185–1333) known for his victory in the Battle of Ichinotani against the Heike clan.
A lantern at Shuzenji Temple. - image © Florentyna Leow
In 1194, Minamoto no Noriyori was arrested and locked up in the temple by his elder brother after accusations that he was plotting against the shogunate; Noriyori subsequently committed suicide on the grounds of Hie Shrine.
Soak your feet here! - image © Florentyna Leow
You’ll see a wooden pavilion located down a flight of stairs, right on top of the river. This is Tokko-no-yu, a foot bath.
Foot baths are a great way to relax. - image © Florentyna Leow
There’s also Kawara-no-yu on the path nearby. Take off your shoes and soak your feet in the hot waters––your feet will thank you for it! It will be helpful to have a towel handy for putting your shoes back on.
A local craft shop. - image © Florentyna Leow
Cross Kokei Bridge and wander over to the other side, where there are a number of craft shops, restaurants, souvenir stores, and miscellaneous little nooks and crannies to peer into.
There’s all kinds of items inside. - image © Florentyna Leow
For example, you might find an antique knick-knack or two at this shop.
Old slots and pinball-like games. - image © Florentyna Leow
Or, you can try your hand at the old-fashioned games in this shop.
Another foot bath at the Katsura River. - image © Florentyna Leow
There’s also another (unnamed) foot bath overlooking the river.
Beef stew at Shikishi. - image © Florentyna Leow
1:00pm Lunch in Shuzenji Onsen
After some exploring, it’s time for lunch. Shuzenji Onsen has a surprisingly high concentration of soba restaurants, in addition to other eating options. We’ve marked some places to eat on the itinerary map located at the end of this article.
The entrance to Shikishi. - image © Florentyna Leow
A good place for lunch is Sobadokoro Shikishi. You’ll find it on your left as you meander upstream on the left bank of the river. It can be crowded here at lunch hours during peak travel season, so depending on when you show up, you might have to wait a while.
The meat falls apart under your fork. - image © Florentyna Leow
Oddly enough for a soba restaurant, Shikishi is famous for their beef stew. It’s a far cry from buckwheat noodles but they do it well. The large hunks of tender stewed beef in a savoury gravy go beautifully with white rice.
The bamboo path is well-paved and clearly signposted. - image © Florentyna Leow
2:00pm Continue exploring Shuzenji Onsen
Following the river upstream will take you to the little bamboo path. If you didn’t manage to make it to the famous bamboo forest in Kyoto, this is a pleasant (and generally much quieter) alternative.
The view is gorgeous in autumn. - image © Florentyna Leow
Stay as close to the river as possible for all the photo opportunities.
A narrow stone path flanked by tall bamboo. - image © Florentyna Leow
The bamboo path is short but picturesque.
Vibrant maple branches over a flowing river. - image © Florentyna Leow
You’ll arrive at the maple grove, and you get a lovely view of the river from the bridge.
The grave of Minamoto no Noriyori. - image © Florentyna Leow
If you’re so inclined, you can veer away from the river, follow the signs and maps––Shuzenji Onsen is well sign-posted––and take a short climb up the hillside to the grave of Minamoto no Noriyori. While the grave itself may only be of Japanese interest to history buffs, it’s a pleasant walk. Afterwards, you can walk back to town via Akagaeru Park (marked on the map) near the bamboo path.
Mangetsudo is an old-school cafe. - image © Florentyna Leow
If you’re keen on a cafe break, Mangetsudo near Shuzenji Temple is a good option. It’s an old-school cafe run by an elderly couple. Take note: like most kissaten, it allows smoking; there are non-smoking sections but those sensitive to smoke may wish to skip this place.
Tea and cake - image © Florentyna Leow
The tea is strong and they serve generous portions of cake. The chocolate mousse cake was just right for a mid-afternoon snack.
3:30pm Check in to your accommodation
Having spent the afternoon exploring the town, it’s time to head to your inn. You’ll want to spend the rest of the afternoon soaking in the hot springs at your inn or hotel––that’s the whole point of visiting an onsen town, after all! Don’t forget to soak in the baths again after dinner.
If you are staying at a ryokan (Japanese-style inn), you will most likely have breakfast and dinner included in your stay. However, if you’re staying at a hotel, you might not necessarily want to eat there for your evening meal. Much of Shuzenji Onsen shuts down once it gets dark, but there will still be a few places open. We’ve marked some restaurants on the map at the end of this itinerary.
The summit of Mt. Kinkan with Mt. Fuji in the distance. - image © Florentyna Leow
Shuzenji Onsen Itinerary: Day 2
9:00am Bus to Darumayama Kogen Rest House
If you’d rather take things slow, you could just relax at your inn until it’s time to leave Shuzenji Onsen. I’ve outlined a short hiking option for those who prefer a more active holiday; as a bonus, this option gives you fantastic views of Mt. Fuji on a clear day.
A map (in Japanese) showing the walking route to Bus Stop B in Shuzenji Onsen. - image © Florentyna Leow
You’ll begin by taking a bus to Darumayama Kogen Rest House. I’ve marked it on the itinerary map located at the end of this article. It is not the same bus stop as the one you’ll have alighted from yesterday, so beware!
The bus stop you need. - image © Florentyna Leow
You’re at the right place if you see an outdoor bus stop marked “B” located next to a small canal as above.
The timetable for buses heading to Heda. - image © Florentyna Leow
In the above timetable, times for buses bound for Head via Niji-no-sato can be found in the second column. As you can see, buses leave infrequently. The only time available is 9:28am––don’t miss the bus or you’ll have to wait two hours for the next one. Alternatively, you can take the 7:46am bus for an early morning hike. (But you’ll probably miss out on breakfast at the inn.)
Buildings at Niji-no-Sato. - image © Florentyna Leow
If you’re so inclined, you could visit Niji-no-Sato. This is a ‘leisure park’ with Western and Japanese-themed areas. If you’ve ever wanted to visit an English village or a Canadian village modelled on 17th century examples, this is the place to visit––our guess is that it’s targeted at Japanese tourists. On the other hand, the Japanese village showcases local specialties and traditional crafts, and there’s a Japanese garden inside. It might be worth stopping by if you aren’t pressed for time.
The Darumayama Kogen Rest House bus stop. - image © Florentyna Leow
Alight at Darumayama Kogen Rest House. The bus ride here from Shuzenji Onsen costs JPY570. They don’t take IC cards so make sure you have cash on hand, or break a JPY1000 note using the machine at the front of the bus when alighting.
Mt. Fuji from the Rest House observation deck. - image © Florentyna Leow
9:55am Arrive at Darumayama Kougen Rest House
Walk over to the rest house. This overlooks the bay below, and on a clear day you’ll have a magnificent frontal view of Mt. Fuji in the distance.
Part of the hiking trail up to Mt. Kinkan. - image © Florentyna Leow
10:15am Hike to Mt. Kinkan
From here, it’s time to take a hike. I walked up to Mt. Kinkan and back to the rest house, which is the shortest hike you can do in the vicinity. You’ll want comfortable hiking shoes on.
A detailed trail map of the hiking routes in the vicinity. - image © Florentyna Leow
You’ll find the trail map near the public restrooms. The hike to Mt. Kinkan and back takes about 45 minutes one way.
The timetable for buses returning to Shuzenji Onsen from the Rest House. - image © Florentyna Leow
If you’re feeling more energetic, you can hike along the Heda Pass and all the way to Mt. Daruma and back. This is a round-trip hike of approximately 8 kilometres. Make sure you time your hike so that you make the bus back to Shuzenji Onsen, as it doesn’t leave very often from the rest house––it departs at 12:23pm, 2:23pm, and 5:23pm.
Signposts along the trail. - image © Florentyna Leow
The trail is clearly signposted. It’s not particularly strenuous––the trail is gently undulating, with a few steeper sections as you approach Mt. Kinkan.
The view from Mt. Kinkan. - image © Florentyna Leow
The view at the top is gorgeous––more of Mt. Fuji in the distance.
Trees beside the hiking trail. - image © Florentyna Leow
Mt. Kinkan is a nice spot to have lunch. Make sure you have some food if you want to eat on the trail––it’s worth picking up some food from the Family Mart convenience store in Shuzenji Onsen before hopping on the bus. We’ve marked its location on the map at the bottom of this itinerary.
The stop for buses bound for Shuzenji Onsen. - image © Florentyna Leow
2:00pm Head back to Shuzenji Onsen
The stop for buses bound for Shuzenji Onsen is located near this statue at the rest house. If you have a very quick hike, you could theoretically make the 12:23pm bus. But it’s also fine to take your time walking and soaking up the sights. I would suggest not leaving any later than 2:23pm so that you can get back to Tokyo in time for dinner.
Shuzenji Onsen on an autumn evening. - image © Florentyna Leow
Alight at Shuzenji Onsen. Maybe squeeze in one last soak in one of the hot springs before picking up your luggage and making your way back to Tokyo. You’ll head back to Tokyo in reverse order: take the bus to Shuzenji Station, board the Izu-Hakone Railway train to Mishima Station, then change here for a Tokaido line bullet train back to Tokyo.
Shuzenji Onsen Overnight Trip Map
View the full size version of our Shuzenji Onsen map which has each of the places discussed above marked on it.
Recommended Accommodation in Shuzenji Onsen
(View on Booking.com or Agoda.com)
Located right in the centre of Shuzenji Onsen, Arai Ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn widely feted for its multi-course meals and fabulous hot springs. The meals here are a cut above many other inns in the area! It was established in 1872, and has since hosted many Japanese literary and cultural luminaries. The ponds and gardens inside are truly lovely. As a recognised Important Cultural Property, it’s also one of the more luxe options in town.
Arai Ryokan - image © Booking.com
(View on Booking.com or Agoda.com)
If money is no object, Asaba is the place to stay when you’re visiting Shuzenji Onsen. There are just 17 suites at this luxury ryokan––more like private villas––and each is exquisitely designed. The inn is located on the Katsura River, and the views here are glorious. Watch paper lanterns float across the pond in the evening as you dine on a series of exquisite little bites. Retreat to your room and soak in your private hot spring baths. The only downside is having to leave.
Asaba Ryokan - image © Booking.com
Mizu no Sato Marukyu Ryokan
(View on Booking.com or Agoda.com)
Built in 1996, Marukyu is one of the newer ryokan in town. With 6 hot spring baths (including open air baths, stream baths, jacuzzis), saunas, in-room massages, and sumptuous multi-course dinners, this is a great choice in Shuzenji Onsen. There are options for private hot spring baths, and the rooms are en-suite with Western-style toilets. Marukyu looks significantly more modern than some of the other inns, but more importantly, they took special care to make their facilities barrier-free. Notably, there are bathrooms for wheelchair users and the physically disabled.
Mizu no Sato Marukyu Ryokan - image © Booking.com
Onsen Yado Mizuguchi
(View on Booking.com or Agoda.com)
Located near the river that runs through town, this little guesthouse is cozy and welcoming. The Japanese-style rooms are comfortable and spacious enough, and the small shared lounge overlooking the river is a great place to relax, use the free WiFi, or read a book. The hot spring bath is really just large enough for one person at a time––ergo, a private soak for you! Note that the baths aren’t open 24 hours. Oddly enough, there’s an 11:00pm curfew. But given how sleepy the town is, you’ll probably be relaxing in your room with a drink at that hour anyway.
Onsen Yado Mizuguchi - image © Booking.com
Shuzenji Onsen Hotel Takitei
(View on Booking.com or Agoda.com)
This centrally-located onsen hotel has traditional Japanese-style tatami mat rooms, and a communal hot spring bath that’s quite pleasant to soak in. The view from higher floors is quite nice. Facilities are a little dated but well-maintained. It’s no ryokan experience, but it is convenient and reasonably priced if everywhere else is booked out.
Shuzenji Onsen Hotel Takitei - image © Booking.com
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