Ito – Ocean & Onsen

We certainly loved Tokyo, but we will be back so it’s time to move on! Whatever you have in your mind about how to describe Japan, it’s true. All of it. The fast trains, the spaceship toilets, everything excessively tiny and cute, good sushi at 7-Eleven (really!).

What I did not expect from Japan was rugged coastline with sapphire blue water and great rock formations. However, our next stop had all this and more. 

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The weather was really hot, but that did not stop us from walking the picturesque coast of Jogasaki. The seascape made us think of a smaller Big Sur but with the added benefit of being able to walk and enjoy the view. If you have been to Big Sur, CA you know how amazing it is, but you have to drive and park along the side to catch the views.

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this house was used as a fish lookout to alert fishermen of mullet schools

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Ito is laid out like a typical beach town complete with many ice cream stands, a good selection of restaurants and some helpful tsunami signs.

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No, you cannot escape a post without food pictures so don’t even ask. If your question is, “Is that a huge chunk of butter in the ramen?” The answer is yes, and also bacon.

Also on my list of expectations for this country was excessively pricey accommodation and food. True, it is not really possible to find a $16/night hotel or dinner for $2, but whatever money you spend is not wasted. By that I mean even though things are more expensive, you are never disappointed.  We booked a place in Ito even though we were not entirely sure about the traditional Japanese beds or the shared bathrooms, but wow, what an experience!

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K’s house on the right, Tokaikan on the left

K’s House is a 100 year old building that was renovated to become a “backpacker’s hostel”. It is situated on a tidal inlet and has 4 floors with traditional Japanese style rooms and Onsen (baths). They had two larger onsen, one for men and one for women and some private onsen that had showers and soaking tubs that filled with hot spring water. Thankfully they had an etiquette guide for the onsen so we didn’t make any onsen faux pas like standing while showering or wearing a bathing suit. A very unique experience and a good introduction to staying at a traditional Ryokan later in our trip.

Connected to K’s house is a National Monument, Tokaikan, which has 3 floors, each one designed by a different competing architect. This is also a guesthouse and very similar to the place we stayed, but with some more finishing touches.

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Tokaikan, next door to where we were staying.
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indoor garden at Tokaikan, our place had a similar one
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We were probably not supposed to join this party (er- display), but it looked so inviting!

We were happy to have access to a kitchen at our place and made ourselves some vegetables (yay!) and enjoyed some Sake with a great view from the common room. The Sake in Japan is very delicious and much more affordable than in the US.

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At 8:30 the town put on a great fireworks display we can only assume was for us as we were celebrating 15 years of togetherness (awww).  Apparently there is a special kimono (Yukata) for fireworks displays which many people were sporting and created a festive atmosphere. Or, perhaps they were just in their onsen robes and stepped away from their bath when they heard the festivities because it’s the same robe for both. We’ll never know!

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They even had a “big size” Yukata! (but not “big size” doors)

♥On a personal note, thank you all so much for reading our blog, it means a lot to us. It can be a lot of work, but it is motivating to know that people other than us are enjoying (?) it. We are so happy we decided to take this trip and grateful to our parents for taking care of our pets for such a long time. After over 4 months in we have already had the trip of a lifetime and have much more planned coming up, so stay tuned if you will!♥

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Gregor loves selfies!

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