"In 2012 we started this project called Venezia x Izu, to help creating a connection not only between Venice and Izu, but also between Izu and the rest of the World. In 2020 Japan will host the Olympic Games and Izu will host the cycling events at Shuzenji Velodrome. A big chance for less known local areas to become more open to foreign tourism and to build worldwide connections. Please feel free to contact us for whatever needs you should have while visiting Japan (including camping, water and electric supply)!"
Izu Peninsula, lesser known destination you must see in Japan (part 22)
Today we came back at work, after one of the longest "golden week" I had since I came back to Japan 8 years ago.
We had 10 days off and much time to spend with our kids and families.
There has been also a hystorical event, the change from the Heisei era to the Reiwa era, which is due to the change from one emperor to another (his son).
It is maybe the first time that an emperor leave before his death.
The new emperor and his wife have only one daughter and this will be a problem in the future, as the Japanese society is still ruled by men and it is unclear if a women could become empress.
Anyway, in these days I had the chance to be with my family everyday and travel around Izu with my daughter as she and I like to.
In the past years I saw this bus in many different places and finally I took the chance to stop by to try their handmade pizza and eat it at the Odoi beach.
For us (Italians) it is not easy to find a good pizza here in Japan, as most of the places are under the influence of the "American piza", stuffed with a lot of ingredients that we don't use in Italy, or they cook the pizza in the Japanese way, which means very small and light that is most like an appetizer than a real meal.
So in these years I made some "research" to find some good pizza here too.
In this case I must say that I expected a little bit more, especially about the price/quality ratio.
1700 yen for a quite small Margherita is too much for me, even if the quality was pretty good and it is one of the best lunch we can have while chilling on the beach.
For this reason I will try it again sometimes, for sure!
For the good quality of the ingredients I put it in my top five pizza I had in the Izu area until now:)
Izu Peninsula, lesser known destination you must see in Japan (part 21, Mishima City)
In these 8 years I've been living in the Izu Peninsula I moved from here to there, but I spent most of the time living in Mishima City.
Together with Numazu, these are the two biggest cities of the Peninsula.
One of the main differences is that the Shinkansen train stops in Mishima and not in Numazu.
This made Mishima grow and be able to modernize itself, even if it still remains the typical small-medium sized Japanese town, with a long history, the famous Mishima Taisha Shrine and some beautiful gardens to visit (Rakujuen Park).
If you're planning to come to visit the Izu Peninsula it is the most convenient station to stop and drop off the shinkansen (besides Atami station).
Be aware that only the Kodama and Hikari shinkansen stop at Mishima (not the Nozomi).
Exit Mishima station from the South Exit and you will find many buses that go south to Shuzenji and Mount Amagi direction.
By exiting from the North side you will face Mount Fuji and you can head up to Susono, Fuji and Gotenba.
Don't expect to find the "Tokyo nightlife", but you can find some fun in the southern part of Mishima too.
Hirokoji district is full of dining places where to drink until late.
RAI4 bar is one of them:
There are not so many hotels to stay so it would be better to do the reservation in advance.
If you'll not be satisfied you can move to Numazu in the evening (15/20 minutes by taxi).
So, if you're coming to Izu, Mishima could be a good place to stay and move around the peninsula (and visit Mount Fuji) starting from there.
Rakujuen Park and Mishima Taisha Shrine (http://shizuoka-guide.com/english/detail/page/detail/3664) are worth a visit too!
Izu Peninsula, lesser known destination you must see in Japan (part 20)
This week's blog is for adults only.
Beers, my favourite alcoholic drink, are very similar but also with some differences all over the world.
The main difference between Japan and Italy is the difference in coldness when it is served.
In Japan they always say that when they drank a beer in Italy it was too warm.
After some years in Japan I understood why they say so.
Here in Japan beers are served extremely cold and in many places they put ice into the glass before pouring the beer inside or the glasses are already been stored for some time into the freezer.
I would say that it is not good for the stomach to drink such cold beers, but on the other side I understand that a cold beer is refreshing, especially after one day at work.
Anyway, if a beer is good, it can be served also not so cold to be enjoyed.
That been said, there are many good beers in Japan.
The most famous are Asahi (now sold also in many places in Italy), Sapporo (named after the biggest city in Hokkaido), Ebisu and Kirin.
Until 1994 you couldn't find other beers than the ones above, but now there are many small beer factories all over Japan, so the choice is becoming wider and wider. This was due to the fact that in 1994 the Japanese government softened the strict laws that governed the granting of brewing licences.
Up until then, to become licensed, a brewey needed to be able to produce 2 million liters of beer each year, but with the change of regulations, breweries needed only to demonstrate a capacity of 60,000 liters.
Yona Yona, Captain Crow, Izu's Izu Kogen Beer, Izu no Kuni Beer, Usami Beer are just a few names of microbreweries.
In Italy, in Europe and in the US is the same. You have major beers, like Moretti, Peroni, Forst, Carlsberg (Denmark), Heineken (from Holland), Becks (Germany) and also smaller local productions, such as Pedavena, Ichnusa (Sardinia), etc.
Beers in Japan are usually with a drier taste than Italy and the most famous ones, to me, has very similar taste and are more easily drinkable than the beers coming from smaller productions.
Local microbreweries have many differences in taste between one another, with many different flavours, so we can enjoy different tasting experiences, but if I'm going to drink more than two beers I prefer "normal" ones as I feel they are less heavy than the others.
However, after a long day at work, when resting at home, when visiting a new country, a good fresh beer is the best drink you can have to relax and have a nice conversation with friends.
So let's enjoy, consciously and mindfully, also to avoid a bad hangover.
Il Carnevale di Venezia（ヴェネツィア・カーニバル）
ヴェネツィア・カーニバル(イタリア語:Carnevale di Venezia)はヴェネツィアで年に一度開催される祭りであり、 2月末から3月初めまでの2週間行われます。
This week I'd like to talk a little bit about the Carnival of Venice, that every year attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world.
This event has a long history and it is one of the oldest one.
Its history goes back hundreds of years ago and after a brief stop when Napoleon conquered Venice, in 1979 it restarted as we know it today.
So, seeing all those masks makes you go back to the ancient mysterious Venice.
If you have never been in the city during the Carnival I suggest to come at least once.
Even if it is even more crowded than usual...
Izu Peninsula, lesser known destination you must see in Japan (part 18)
Last week the Japanese Sakura season has started here in the Izu Peninsula!
The town of Kawazu, located on the south side of Mount Amagi, on the southeastern seaside, is one of the most famous places for cherry blossom all over Japan.
For this reason, in this period a lot of people is coming everyday, from Tokyo, Yokohama, etc.
Traffic jams almost everyday of the week, especially on Sunday, will make the visit to Kawazu a little unpleasant, but once you are there you will forget about it and enjoy a relaxing walk on the riverside, while watching those beautiful pink trees, enjoying local food specialties.
This is the webpage of the Kawazu Sakura events. Unfortunately it is only in Japanese, but by using Google translator maybe it will work...
As you can see in the map above, to reach Kawazu by car you can ride down the east coast from Atami and Ito or go to Mishima and then go straight down through Mount Amagi.
Both ways are very crowded especially in this period, so maybe it would be better to reach it by train:
On the same page you can also find some info regarding the sakura cherry blossom:
On the Kawazu river side you can find many food and drink stands that local people opens just for this occasion, from February to March.
Nearby there is also a big supermarket where you can also find some delicious food.
Of course there are also many other places to visit in Izu during the "sakura season", for example Kannami and Mishima's Nagaizumi Town, but all over Izu you will see these lovely trees.
On more reason to visit this beautiful region of Japan, still not very popular outside Japan, but one of the most visited by Japanese people.