Shizuoka Prefecture Gourmet Guide: Atami City

Atami City: The Hot Springs City of Yore in Shizuoka Prefecture!

All photos taken by Robert-Gilles Martineau

Atami must be the most famous hot springs city in Shizuoka Prefecture and in Japan! And one of the oldest to boot.
It has always been a favorite destination for Tokyoites in particular.
Shizuoka people do visit the city but in markedly smaller numbers.
The main reason for this state of affairs is that Atami is at the eastern extremity of the Prefecture.

The welcoming hot spring just outside the JR Railway Station.

The City counts 7 different hot springs more or less connected to Mount Fuji.
Be careful not to touch the water! It is truly scalding hot!

But you can take a foot bath at a reasonable temperature.
Bear in mind that at 16:00 the bath will be emptied!

If you don’t believe me, take a plunge! You won’t come back alive! It does look hellish, after all!

The city is celebrated for its plum tree flowers especially in February (and March if you are lucky!)!

One main attraction is the MOA Museum. You had better take a day bus ticket to keep expenses low as the city is half along the coast, half perched on top of steep cliffs. Walking is just a bit too tough. Bus is best!

One can enjoy great vistas from the MOA Museum and other sites atop the nearby mountains!

The park around the Museum is worth a leisurely walk in all seasons!

There are some great photos to be taken outside!
Unfortunately the inside is almost completely prohibited to cameras!

Inside the museum lobby.

Do have a look at the vistas from inside!

One of the rare sights allowed to photographers!

A grand view of the Atami Harbor! The locals call it the Japanese Napoli! LOL

The actual entry of the Museum!

They also have plenty of plum trees in their own park stretching over the mountain slopes.

Difficult to right focus!

It is a vast park that provides with plenty of physical exercise!

What did I tell you?

Next we shall visit the local markets!

Botarga/Mullet Roe/Karasumi/カラスミ!

The shopping streets in Atami City are quite old-fashioned. You almost seem to slipped back 30 years when you stroll along them browsing old-fashioned shops of every kind.

Once out of Atami JR station you will find two parallel streets going down sharply on the right. There you will find the epitome of land and sea products of the region.
Will you follow me?

Atami is located at the northern tip of Izu Peninsula, which means an access to an incredible number of fish. Can you believe that Shizuoka produces 50% of all dried and semi-dried fish in Japan?
And of a great quality!

These dried fish are shirasu/白子/sardine whiting. Rare of that size (and not cheap!)!

The himono/干物/dried fish on the left are not cheap either: globefish/fugu/河豚!

One Japanese confectionery typical of Atami is Onsen Manju!

Onsen manju/温泉万寿/means hot spring steamed sweetmeat cake. Many shops are competing with each other!

A great array of fresh fish paste cakes you eat either as they are, or as oden! Very tasty!

A giant Japanese brochette! The sign says to be careful and not to push the display with your hands (apparently some did with a disastrous result!)!

One great thing about Japan is that most (Japanese-style) restaurants display their cuisine as plastic models in their shop windows! At least you have a good idea of what is available!

More seafood left out to dry to become tasty himono! Traceabilty guaranteed!

More, including rare tuna himono (bottom right)!

Now, the beautiful kinmedai/金目鯛 (Top right) is expensive (but not by Tokyo standards!)!

Izu Peninsula and Atami City are also famous for all kinds of citruses!

Golden oranges/貴金柑 (front) are beautiful and expensive!
They tend to come up with a new variety every year in that region!

Now, if you want to eat sushi, you will know that the seafood is fresh!

Although this is a sushi chain of the cheaper kind, they have the merit to explain clearly the varieties and the prices (very reasonable!)!

Now, what are these?

Karasumi/カラスミ/Botarga, or mullet roe! You can find anything more traceable. This is a truly expensive gastronomic marvel, even in Shizuoka!

A last long look at the shops and then we’ll go to another tourist attraction!


Atami resort harbor/marina.

Strolling in Atami City, that is in the downtown area by the sea can be interesting indeed if you know where to look!

Don’t look up but down for directions!

Difficult to get lost!

There are 7 hot springs (including the one in front of the JR station), but I couldn’t find them all…

3rd one. Don’t put your hand inside!

4th one. The temperature was alright!

The 5th one. A little beauty!
I couldn’t find the last two. Pity, when you realize they have been used for hundreds of years!

The other major Atami attraction is the Baien Koen/梅園公園/plum tree Park!
It was created more than 120 years ago and subsequently donated to the city!
Let’ take a stroll!

I forgot to check how many kinds are planted there. I can assure you you need a few visits to exhaust them all!

Now, this is Japan!

Take your time and enjoy the sights!

Flower trees everywhere. You should come on bright sunny day!

A man-made waterfall! Great in summer!

A view from “inside” the waterfall!

Plum tree blooms…

Interesting tree…

Beautiful color!

Can you see the daffodils?
Spring is near and we shall to think and come back again in the summer!

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