Monday, August 22, 2016

Atami Onsen area - Hot Spring Day Trip from Tokyo

In November 2015, I traveled to Japan using the JR Pass. While I was staying in Tokyo area, I decided to take a day trip to the Atami Onsen 熱海 温泉 Hot Spring area because Atami is a much less traveled, off the beaten path area when compared to Hakone. I took the Kodama Shinkansen bullet train line from JR Shinagawa station in Tokyo to JR Atami station. The train ride was only 40 minutes and I soon arrived at one of the best coastal hot spring resort area in Japan.
Day trip to Atami Onsen Hot Spring area from Tokyo

- To read about my recommendations of affordable, Reasonable, Convenient hotels in Tokyo, visit: Affordable Cheap Reasonable Hotels in Tokyo
- To read about my recommendations of affordable and reasonable hotels in OSAKA, visit: Osaka Reasonable Affordable Hotel
- To read about my recommendations of reasonable, affordable, and convenient hotels in KYOTO, visit: Kyoto reasonable, affordable, and convenient hotels
- To read about my 2015 JR Pass trip itinerary, visit: Project Shinkansen 2015 - Japan Rail Pass Itinerary Seto Inland Sea
- To read about how to plan your trip to Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe, visit: Planning your trip to Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe in Japan

Special Note: I found some great resemblance of the coastal line between Atami in Japan and Monaco in Europe. The streets are adjacent to the coastline while high rise buildings are on the hills next to each other.
Atami Coastal line, Monaco of Asia

Arriving at JR Atami station, I was greeted by a huge pool of foot onsen ashiyu 足湯 . I took a break by soaking my feet in the hot spring water before my exploration of Atami on foot.
Foot Hot Spring Ashiyu in Atami

Outside of the JR Atami station and across the street was the building where Tourism Information Office was located.
Atami Tourism Information Office

Entrance of the building where Tourism Office Building is located.
Atami Tourism Information Office

Apparently nothing was in English in the Atami tourism pamphlet, but I was able to communicate with the tourism office staff to obtain important information. I asked about the local's favorite restaurants and outdoor open-air onsen hot spring options. The map in the pamphlet was useful even though it was in Japanese.
Atami Tourism Pamphlet from the staff. Lots of coupons for venues in Atami area

Atami Station Ekimae Heiwa Shopping Street 平和通り商店街 was full of restaurants and souvenir shops. The street was right next to the JR Atami station.
Atami Station Ekimae Heiwa Shopping Street

Typical shopping street arcade in Japan. This one is quite similar to the one in Hakone.
Atami Station Ekimae Heiwa Shopping Street

There are still quite many places in Japan where good sushi is still very reasonably affordable.
Reasonable Sushi Price in Atami area

The only restaurant that had a wait list was the one the tourism office staff recommended. "Kichi+" restaurant is famous for its Shirasu しらす baby fish cuisine.
Kichi Plus Restaurant in Atami

Wooden decor interior of the Kichi Plus restaurant.
Interior of Kichi Plus Restaurant in Atami

Simple yet stylish decor.
Interior of Kichi Plus Restaurant in Atami

Shirasu しらす Baby Fish lunch set. I remembered it was about 1200 Japanese yen. Sakura Ebi shrimp was also available on the menu. I did not order Sakura Ebi shrimp because I already had it in Shizuoka Yui area.
Shirasu cuisine lunch set at Kichi Plus Restaurant in Atami

Half were cooked  and half were sashimi style. Same ingredient with two different tastes.
Shirasu Rice Bowl at Kichi Plus Restaurant at Kichi Plus Restaurant

Special miso soup. I  was not sure what the round looking ingredient was.
Miso soup at Kichi Plus Restaurant in Atami

A la carte order of Kichi Plus' vanilla ice cream. I always feel vanilla ice cream in Japan is not as sweet yet richer in its creamy flavor.
Vanilla Ice Cream dessert at Kichi Plus Restaurant in Atami

After lunch, I continued my journey of exploring Atami area and searching for the open air onsen hot spring.
Streets in Atami area near Tokyo

The entire area of Atami is full of Onsen Ryokan with similar signs like the one in the picture.
Onsen Hot Spring Ryokan were everywhere in Atami

I took the road that lead to the beach area of Atami. Palm trees and the sandy beach made me feel that I was in a tropical country rather than in Japan.
Palm trees in Atami near Tokyo

As soon as I saw the view of the Atami coast line. I gave the nickname "Monaco of Asia" to Japan's Atami area 
Atami Sand Beach Coastline

Hotels, luxury apartments and restaurants lined up on the Atami beach coastline. 
High rise buildings line up Atami coastline

Cars were running through the coastline streets of Atami area.
Cars run along the coastline streets of Atami

I visited a modern onsen hot spring resort hotel for its open air rooftop onsen pool. KKR Atami Hotel offers one of the best ocean front view while soaking in their pool. The onsen was of the typical non-private traditional type in which the guests have to get naked.
KKR Atami Hotel

I took a picture of the ocean front view right before I entered into the no-camera area. The view from the pool is similar to the one in this picture. Check out the actual picture of the onsen hot spring on KKR Atami Hotel Official Homepage.
Open air view of Atami Onsen Hot Spring Hotel

Atami coastline is full of ocean front onsen hot spring resort hotels and there was even an ancient Atami castle in the background.
Beautiful coastline with Atami Castle in the background

On the walk back to the JR Atami station, I noticed some more authentic Onsen hot spring ryokan hotels.

Tradition Onsen Hot Spring Ryokan Hotel

Island view from Atami coastline was mesmerizing during sunset.
Beautiful view of Atami Coastline

A merely 40 minute ride on the Kodama Shinkansen bullet train, I was back in the bustling Tokyo area. I felt Atami is a hidden gem for day trips from Tokyo. While most of new travelers only know about Hakone onsen village area, Atami definitely earns my high praise and recommendations as well.
Back in time for dinner in Tokyo Shibuya area after my day trip to Atami

Recommended Atami Onsen Hot Spring Ryokan Hotel
*KKR Hotel Atami
*Hotel Micuras
*Otsuki Hotel Wafuukan
*Atami Seaside Spa & Resort
*Hotel New Akao
*Shin Kadoya

*Hotel Kan-ichi
*Breezbay Seaside Resort Atami
*Hotel Sunmi Club

Recommended Restaurants in Atami

*Kichi Plus Shirasu baby fish special restaurant
*Kobayashi sashimi restaurant
*Wantanya Wonton Ramen Noodle restaurant
*Aibana dessert restaurant
*Irorichaya Japanese cuisine
*Amakara Hompo Ramen Noodle restaurant

INFORMATION (Tripadvisor page or homepage)
Atami Station tourist information center concierge
413-0011 9-1, Tawaramoto-cho, Atami-shi, Shizuoka (first building the first floor)

Atami Station Ekimae Heiwa Shopping Street
Taharahoncho, Atami 413-0011, Shizuoka Prefecture

Kichi+ (Kichi Plus) restaurant
6-11 Taharahoncho, Atami 413-0011, Shizuoka Prefecture

KKR Atami Onsen Hot Spring Hotel
7-39 Kasuga-cho, Atami 413-0005, Shizuoka Prefecture

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