Ito is a quiet town, tranquil and not touristy. Yet the beauty it offers is unbeatable.
Surrounded by mountains and an ocean, Ito is a town full of natural beauty. Hot springs and flowers represent the small town since their presence is ubiquitous. When I was planning my trip to Tokyo, Ito wasn't the first destination that came to my mind. But, somehow, I stumbled upon a picture of Ito, and the moment I laid my eyes on it, I knew I was going to be there.
My first stop in Ito was Kadowakitsuri Bridge, which is a shaky suspension bridge near a coastline with some amazing cliffs. It took a while to hike up to the bridge, but the view along with it was incredible. Soon I was standing on the bridge, feeling the slight caress of the wind on my cheek, the breeze fingering my hair as I looked out at the breath-taking view, stunned by its very nature. The place was tranquil, no noisy tourists flooding there; in fact, there were no people nearby the whole time I was on the bridge. I was left with serenity and solitude. And there I was, spending a good hour walking back and forth on the shaky bridge, engulfed by the enormous deep blue ocean around me and my own thoughts. So if you are looking for a quiet place to lose yourself in, this is the place to go.
What followed the bridge is Jogasaki Coast, the eastern coastline of the Izu Peninsula. The coast is hugged by jagged cliffs and stones, which were formed by the lava from Mount Omuro five hundred years ago. Waves after waves hit the cliffs and I could have spent all day just watching this. The wind blew hard, my hair and dress fluttering in agony, so mind the wind if you plan to go there. In the summer, it would offer a much different view and experience. You can easily spend a half day taking a boat ride, sailing or kayaking along the spectacular coast, all the while taking in the magnificent nature.
Mount Omuro was where I wanted to head to after the solitary hours surrounded by ocean. The volcano is extinct and offers a stunning view of Izu Peninsula. I was full of joy when I arrived at the train station, only to find out that Mount Omuro was under construction for a few days. Perhaps my face had betrayed me. The officer at the information office enthusiastically introduced a few other attractions nearby like Komuroyama Park, Izu Teddy Bear Museum, and Izu Glass and Crafts Museum. Despite my not-knowing-how-to-speak-Japanese, she was keen to explain all the information using little English and flyers, and even with the help of body language. It was what made me fell in love with this small town - the natural beauty, the food, and most importantly, the genuinely friendly and warm-hearted locals.
Albeit a little disappointing, the day spent in Ito was more than fantastic - what it offered had way surpassed my expectations. After several days in the bustling city of Tokyo, a visit to Ito was like an oasis in the desert, a place for recharging and rest, a necessity.