Atami is celebrated as one of the finest hot spring resorts in Japan. It is said that not only did Tokugawa Ieyasu visit Atami Onsen for a hot-spring cure, but he also had the restoratively gentle spa water transported to Edo Castle. Conveniently located only 40 minutes from Tokyo by bullet train, the area comes alive with visitors on weekends. Held not only in summer, but more than 10 times annually throughout the entire year, the famous "Atami Fireworks Festival" is an event not to be missed during a visit to Atami.
Atami Onsen has an abundance of thermal spring water, and at seven spots in town, known as the "Seven Hot Springs of Atami," you can see the hot spring water gushing out. There are many facilities in town where visitors can enjoy day-trip bathing, including baths that retain the atmosphere of the Meiji Era and those that have preserved fully tiled bathrooms, allowing visitors to experience bathing in a public bathhouse with a retro atmosphere.
Although there are many eateries in the city, there are very few chain restaurants, and locally established businesses compete to offer the best flavors and service daily. Eating Atami delicacies while gazing at the ocean is an experience that can only be found here.
The Atami Heiwadori Shopping Street is one of the places you should definitely visit on a trip to Atami. Located right next to Atami Station on the JR Tokaido Line, it is a dynamic shopping area. There are many and various stores, including souvenir shops selling Atami, Izu, and Shizuoka specialties such as hot spring buns, as well as restaurants where visitors can taste local foods. The arcade is often showcased in Japanese TV programs and magazines and attracts many visitors to Atami. Walking along the shopping street, one can bask in the atmosphere of a Japanese hot spring town. When you visit the shopping arcade, please take a moment to touch the "Fukufuku-no-yu" fountain, which was created by locals out of a desire to evoke the warmth of the Atami hot springs in visitors’ memories.
In Atami, visitors appreciate nature throughout the four seasons. Around January, visitors can enjoy not only Japan's earliest plum blossoms but also Atami cherry trees, which share with Okinawa's scarlet sakura the title of earliest blooming cherry blossoms in the Japanese archipelago; in May come romantic azaleas and roses; and from June, bougainvillea and jacaranda flower in an explosion of color. From November to December, you can behold late fall changing leaves and enjoy the sight of vividly colored trees along the seashore, by the river, and tucked away in alleys throughout the city. During the same period, visitors can also see the rare "Himalayan Cherry Blossoms" with their beautiful pale pink flowers.
Getting there and around
Take the Tokaido Shinkansen from JR Nagoya Station to Hamamatsu Station.
Take the Tokaido Main Line from JR Nagoya Station to Hamamatsu Station (change trains at Toyohashi Station on the way).
Access by Tokaido Shinkansen from JR Tokyo Station and getting off at Hamamatsu Station.
Atami Sun Beach is a popular tourist spot for families and couples, with its 400m white sand beach lined with palm trees to create a resort-like atmosphere, despite its location in an urban area lined with hotels. In the early morning, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the beach and the town as the sun rises over the horizon, and at night the beach is lit up and transformed into an illuminated wonderland.
Atami Onsen, loved by Tokugawa Ieyasu (1533–1616), is said to be an incomparable hot spring with soft, low alkaline water that is gentle to the skin and has a beautifying effect. The salts in the hot spring water soak into the skin and have an excellent moisturizing effect, making it the perfect bath for people with sensitivity to cold. Recently, the waters have been attracting attention for their skin-tightening and slimming effects.
The tourist facility Atami Castle was built in 1959. Built on the top of Mt. Nishikigaura, the castle tower observatory offers a 360-degree panoramic view of the city of Atami. Inside the castle, there is a museum where armor and swords are on display, an Edo-themed experience corner, where visitors can dress up in the period costumes and feel like they are transported back in that time, and a footbath to relax in while taking in the spectacular view.
Atami Waterfront Fireworks Festival／熱海海上花火大会
The Atami Fireworks Festival is a fireworks display rich in history that began in 1952. It is a specialty of Atami, held more than 10 times annually throughout the entire year, including outside of summer. The topography of the venue, Atami Bay features mountains on three sides, against which the booms of the fireworks reverberate, making you feel as if you are in a big stadium. Fireworks exploding across the night sky, pyrotechnics reflected on the water surface, and the finale "Niagara in the Sky" culminate in such a beautiful sight that one forgets to blink.
Atami Plum Garden, which opened in 1886 and is known for having the earliest plum blossoms in Japan, is where you can find the first plum flowers in late November or early December each year.
The park boasts 469 plum trees in 60 different varieties, including some that are over 100 years old, and the progression from early to late bloomers means the park can be enjoyed for months.
Travel Advice and Tips
Atami, a place rich in nature, is also known as the "Hawaii of Japan" and was once a popular honeymoon destination for Japanese newlyweds. Atami features a myriad of gourmet restaurants where you can enjoy food from the mountains to the sea. Stylish restaurants and stores with that old-time atmosphere line the streets, and there are many long-established restaurants that are dear to literary figures and celebrities with discerning palates. Be sure to enjoy the local delicacies that cannot be found anywhere else.