After our trip to Shuzenji and our stay in the hotel overnight, we explored Izu a little more.
First we went to the ropeway which was only about a ten minute walk from our hotel. The area is called, Izunokuni Panorama Park. It was pretty expensive at 2000 yen for a round trip, we got two hundred yen of our tickets from using a discount coupon from our hotel, but I thought that it was still expensive.
The ride up was interesting, it was quite far and steep in places and there was a good view of the surrounding countryside.
At the top, however, the view was amazing. You could see right round from Shimizu port, over to Hakone, with Mt. Fuji right in the middle.
There's a small shrine, a restaurant and a foot hot spring on the peak also.
After coming back down the mountain, I actually thought that it was worth the money after all. If you do want a cheaper option, you can also hike up, but it takes about three hours.
After the mountain, we waited for the bus to go to Awashima marine park. At the bus stop there was an old hotel, a very beautiful one which was selling off all its old stuff because it had recently closed due to being underfunded. It was hoping to have a renewal, so the hotels stuff was being sold to make up some money. We picked up some decent bargains very cheap and had another foot hot spring, situated between the two hotels opposite. The bus from Izunokuni doesn't go all the way to Awashima marine park, but we got off nearby and walked the remainder along the coast. The coast is beautiful, but the main road is pretty busy there.
Once we arrived at the marine park, we saw even more of the anime series, Love Live, there too. It was plastered all over the ticket building and the boat going to the island itself had a wrapping of the anime on it.
The aquarium on the island is pretty old and small. They have some interesting fish there though.
Outside, they have penguins and seals, but the dolphins are gone, their area is being repaired.
We decided to walk round the island after seeing the aquarium, we walked anti-clockwise. The walk is pleasant and doesn't take too long, less than an hour. The path takes you past the big hotel, where we saw the dolphins being kept in one of the less important swimming pools there. The path then goes through a tunnel which is lit up and was another location for the anime.
Coming out of the tunnel, the path runs round the island and you can look out to sea, there are no buildings on this part of the island, until you come to some more penguins and the frog house.
The frog house was the highlight of the island. Lots of different species of frogs from all over the world are housed here. Very interesting and fun trying to find them.
After this we went back to the mainland and waited for the bus to Numazu station, which, when it arrived very late, was completely full, so we couldn't get on. This bus came from the other aquarium near by, the much newer one, Izu Sea Paradise, which is obviously much more popular that the aquarium we had seen.
We decided to take a taxi back to Izu-Nagaoka station. There was a taxi at the ferry place, we thought it was full, because a lot of people were looking in at it, but it was another wrapping anime taxi and the people were anime geeks, so we took the taxi and the driver told us all about the anime and its effect on the area, very interesting.
At the station, we took the train back to Mishima and then the bullet train back to Shizuioka station and home.
This weekend was a very nice weekend and anyone thinking of going to Izu should definitely consider some of the sights in the interior, a little off the tourist path. Its just as interesting as the other more touristy areas, but quieter and nicer for that.