Situated on the JR Tokaido Line just a few stops past Odawara, JR Yugawara Station is one stop before the border of Atami and Shizuoka Prefecture.
One of Yugawara’s most famous and beautiful landmarks is Makuyama Park. A short bus ride from the station, the park features a river, bolders, wide open space, a mountain, and—covering the base of the mountain—thousands and thousands of plum trees (and a festival) that when in full bloom in February and March have to be seen to be believed. The park is also famous for it hiking and rock climbing.
Yugawara is also famous for its abundance of heathy hot spring spas as well as some traditional inns. The Yugawara Spa, Doppo no Yu Spa (for those who love soothing footbaths), and the Kogome Spa which is know for its beautiful view overlooking the town.
If you have never stayed at a traditional Japanese Inn (ryokan) you don’t know what you are missing, and must put that at the top of your To Do list. Yugawara is famous for its many ryokan, which offer delicious seafood, hot spring baths, and the wonderful service that Japan is so well known for. Ashikari Ryokan Inn and Seiran-so Ryokan Inn are all quite famous in their own right, and justifiably so.
Designated as a prefectural nature park, this beautiful park (nearest Yugawara’s JR Manazuru Station on the Tokaido Line) is full of hiking courses galore, many with views of the sea along the cape. Black pine and camphor trees grow here in abundance, and along with the many species of birds chirping away year round, provide a lush, exotic atmosphere.
This formation of three rocks juts out almost 200 meters into the sea just of the beautiful Cape Manazuru. It is said that the arch of the rocks resembles a traditional Japanese umbrella. During the hours of low tide, it is possible to walk out to the rocks.
Yugawara is easy to reach from Tokyo and is well worth a two or three day stay!