"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 26)
Last Saturday a very strong typhoon, named Hagibis, made landfall in the Izu Peninsula and moved up the east coast up to Tokyo, Ibaraki and Miyagi Prefecture, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
It triggered landslides and floods as it battered the country with wind speeds of 225km/h.
Rivers have breached their banks in at least 14 different places, inundating residential neighbourhoods, leaving at least nine people dead and other people injured or missing.
We, as many residents stocked up on provisions before the typhoon's arrival, leaving supermarkets empty shelves, especially for water.
Two rugby games were cancelled and so were trains and flights from both Narita and Haneda.
As I wrote above, the typhoon came straight into the Izu Peninsula from south, so we were all very scared about it.
Luckily for us the damages here locally have been less than expected and the major problems have been caused by the many rivers than run through the Peninsula.
In Nagaoka and Numazu the Kanogawa River flooded in many points, but in the next two days the situation became normal (or quite normal) already.
If you happen to be in Japan during these kind of events please stay away from rivers and mountains and find a safe place where to get rest and information that can be vital. Since I came to Japan I've understood to never underestimate the nature. Beautiful but also dangerous sometimes.
The day after, to forget about the scary evening of the day before, me and my family went to a new shopping mall based in Numazu and named Lalaport.
As it opened just two weeks ago it is still extremely crowded but it worth a visit, especially if you come with children!
Hopefully it will become more easily accessible in the next months.
It seems clear to everyone that if we don't respect the nature, it will get against us, with more and more of these kind of devastating events. We as citizens can't do as much as our politicians should do, but hopefully we will be able to change things for the better all together.
Izu Peninsula, lesser known destinationn you must see in Japan (part 25)
I've just came back from a brief holiday in my hometown Venice, with my family.
Before leaving Japan I had my last drive in the Izu area with my daughter and we discovered a "new" road we never took before.
It connects the north-western coast (Nishiura) with the Heda Pass.
You can drive for about 45 minutes in the woods without meeting any car. Very relaxing route to drive thru.
We hadn't been lucky enough to see any wild animal that populates the area, which includes squirrels, wild boars and deers, but I hope to see some the next time!
In the middle of the woods there is also a camping area called Shimin no Mori, where you can camp, barbeque and relax with family and kids.
You have to be careful because there are not many signs on the road and many narrow roads are going into the woods, taking you to some remote areas or private mushrooms or fruit cultivations. Better to drive with your Google Maps apply on.
Once on the top of Heda Pass you can then go down to the West Coast to Heda Town or go back to Shuzenji and Izu-Nagaoka on the other side.
Very nice discovery!
Now that we are back in Japan we will start having our Sunday driving journeys again, hoping to find some new, undiscovered paths!
Izu Peninsula, lesser known destination you must see in Japan (part 24)
Recently, because of my two small children, I can't go eat dinner or lunch outside so often as I used to do before.
But I got the chance to have dinner out with my family twice in these days, as we had 4 days off due to the Obon summer holidays.
One of my favourite places to go is a sushi and sashimi local chain restaurant named Uogashi sushi.
The main shop is based in the Numazu's port area and then you can find many shops from Gotenba up north to Mishima and Ohito in Izu no Kuni City.
They're the perfect place to go with little children and with the family. Good quality and price, compared to other cheaper chain restaurants.
Usually, a family with one or two children can be satisfied and spend about 5000 yen in total (about 40 euro). In Italy for the same quantity and quality of raw fish you can spend almost 200 euro each.
The range of fish species goes from the simple tuna (with its many different cuts) and salmon to many different local fishes, whom availability depends also on the different seasons and the condition of the fishery market.
One of the most exciting experiences I had in these years is when I went to a restaurant specialized in Fugu fish cuisine.
It can be lethally poisonous due to its tetrodoxotin and it must be carefully prepared to remove toxic parts and to avoid them to contaminate the transparent and crunchy meat.
Its preparation is strictly controlled by law and the chefs must follow a hard and long training.
It is served as sashimi and chirinabe.
I've also tried whale meat, but honestly wasn't impressed that much. Tastes more like beef than fish to me... worth a try, anyway.
Of course if you're together with some local Japanese people it is worth the chance to go to a higher level fish restaurant, but if you're alone and can't speak a good Japanese I'd suggest to go to a bigger chain restaurant as the staff of small local restaurants usually don't speak a word of English and in some cases can be rude to foreign customers (you'd hear the word "gaijin" a lot https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaijin ).
If you're in the Izu Peninsula you should try fish restaurants first, as there are a lot of delicious dishes and species.
One of these is the Kinmedai, the red fish with golden eyes that I've mentioned in some of my previous blogs.
Then you could also try some meat restaurants, Japanese curry and typical Japanese mixed cuisine.
If you're with your children they probably NEED some western food also, but you shouldn't worry that much as there are some good Italian, Indian and American style restaurants too!
I can guarantee that you won't be disappointed by the food here in the Izu Peninsula.
この時の代表的な食べ物が、Sarde in saor（サルデ・イン・サオル）、通称「サオル」、Bovoeti(ボヴォエティ)という直径2センチほどの小さなカタツムリともちろんスイカです。
Izu Peninsula, lesser known destination you must see in Japan (part 23)
Travelling with small children is not easy.
I do it once a year, every year, going back home in Venice with my family.
Those 20 hours are one of the most stressful time ever. I must entertain the babies for all that long time in such a narrow space...
But even in the ordinary days here in Japan it could be hard to find the best way to please our children.
One of me and my daughter favourite spot is a park in IzuNagaoka, where she can run, climb a little bit and have fun on a small slide.
It is called Yuurakkusu Koen (Park) and there you can also sit and enjoy a foot hot spring and a course to walk barefeet and have a foot massage.
Also in Nagaoka there is the Riverside Park, a little bit bigger and equipped with also a swing.
This is one of the reason to spend somedays in this area if you have children.
There are plenty of green areas in the Izu Peninsula, mostly for sightseeing but also many amusement areas for children are located in some particular spots.
This is a green area that surrounds the Omuroyama Mount, in the Southeastern IzuKogen area.
It is not easy to do a comparison between here and my hometown in Italy.
Venice is a very particular city, where children still play ball everyday outside in many small squares, but there is only one big green area, well equipped with amusement tools.
I was extremely well impressed by the great attention paid for children amusement in the Italian Alps, where I went with my family two years ago.
Parks and places for children to play everywhere, very clean and fully equipped.
Places like these, that can be enjoyed both by children and parents, will be never enough.
Every city and small town must focus also on creating and keeping clean and renovate constantly these kind of areas.
The fact that Izu has many of these places is another good reason to visit the Izu Peninsula, also with small children!