02 September, 2023

[TRAVEL] 3D2N in Atami, Japan - Annual Largest Atami Fireworks Festival!

Good morning from 熱海 Atami! 

Being a beach and ocean lover, I am more than excited to add Atami into my summer itinerary in exploring the Greater Area of Tokyo. Located in the Shizuoka prefecture, away from the hustle and bustle of the Tokyo city, Atami is the home to Onsen (hot spring baths - since 1200 years ago) and beach resorts lined with rows of palm trees along the Pacific Ocean coast.

Its close proximity to Tokyo (only 45 minutes train ride (via Shinkansen) or 1.5 hour drive) makes Atami an increasingly popular tourist destination. While it is an ideal location for one-day trip from Tokyo, I'd strongly recommend you to stay at least one night here to experience the beautiful sunrise by the beach amidst the laidback atmosphere.

Plus, you can make a detour / day trip to the neighbouring areas such as Mount Fuji, Hakone, Gotemba, Yokohama and many more.

Atami Fireworks Festival (熱海海上花火大会)
Date: Seasonal
Time: 20:20 - 20:45
Access: 15 minutes walk from Atami Station

The main reason of me travelling to Atami was for the largest Atami Marine Fireworks Festival which is held not only in summer but more than 10 times throughout the year, making it one of Atami's most significant events all-year round.

This historic fireworks festival is a tradition held since 1952, around the Atami Bay area - one of Japan's best fireworks display venue. During my visit in summer, there were 20,000 dazzling fireworks lighting up the sky for a good 20 minutes.

I was so mesmerised by the beauty of glittering fireworks in an array of synchronised designs and colors dancing in the sky, while being reflected on the surface of the water. For the finale, the beauty of the "Niagara in the Sky" was just impressive - definitely something in Atami that you should experience at least once in a lifetime! 
❤ ❤ 

Apart from the seasonal event, here are the 6 places of attractions / F&B
that I have tried throughout my 3D2N here in Atami:

1. Shopping streets in front of Atami Station
Shopping streets in front of Atami Station:
❤ Atami Heiwa-dori Shopping Street (熱海駅前平和通り商店街)
❤ Atami Nakamise Shopping Street (熱海仲見世通り商店街)
❤ Atami Ginza Shopping Street (熱海銀座商店街)

Operating hours: 10:00 - 19:00 (some shops close earlier)
Access: Walking distance from Atami Station 

Right in front of Atami Station, you will be greeted by two long stretch of old-fashioned shopping streets. Like many other quintessential Japanese shopping arcade, it houses tiny stalls selling dried seafood (since Atami is a seaside town), popular sweets, snacks, sushi restaurants and souvenir shops. 

Mini Onsen Manju

The most popular snack that you must try here is the "Onsen Manju" aka "hot bath bun" - simply because it resembles this onsen town. The tiny steamed bun (100 yen) was filled with red bean paste, which was good to pop into the mouth while waiting for my queue at the sushi restaurant.

2. Isomaru Atami Nakamise
Isomaru Atami Nakamise (磯丸 仲見世通り店)
Operating hours: 11:00 - 16:00; 17:00 - 20:30
Access: 5 minutes walk from Atami Station 

Isomaru is one of the most popular and affordable sushi restaurant in town. When I arrived at 11.30am, the queue was already very long (no reservation allowed), and I waited for a good 20 minutes before I was being seated at the wooden table seating that mimicked a traditional sushi bar. 

Mine was Izu Sushi Set (1,630 yen) - a 12-piece sushi set which was a lot more affordable than those sushi counters in Tokyo. I enjoyed the thick cut of otoro and other shellfishes here. Do not expect these to be of top-notch quality, but it is considerably a good try for cheap eats.

3. Atami Sun Beach / Moon Terrace
Atami Sun Beach (熱海サンビーチ)
Access: 15 minutes walk from Atami Station 

Here comes my favourite part of Atami - the Sun Beach along with Moon Terrace! This seaside promenade not only serves as a great viewing platform for the fireworks but also the perfect spot to watch sunrise. 

In fact, there were plenty of beachside accommodations here that allow for sunrise viewing at the private roof garden terrace. Same went for the guesthouse I rented. But a fuller experience, I'd still prefer sitting at the Moon Terrace and enjoy some quiet moments amidst the warm rising sun shining upon me.

4. ACAO Forest
Acao Forest (アカオ フォレスト)
Operating hours: 09:00 - 17:00
Entrance ticket: 4,000 yen 
Instagram: @acaoforest
Access: 15 minutes by Tokai Bus from Atami Station 

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Atami is the hills of Acao Forest that houses 13 unique themed gardens on a hill for panoramic view of the Sagami Bay and Atami Castle (熱海城). If you are a fan of flowers and unobstructed sea view, then probably it is worth paying a whopping 4,000 yen for the entrance fee. 

Honestly, there is nothing much inside, other than the beautiful themed set-ups for photo opportunities and a garden cafe overlooking the ocean, called Coeda House Cafe. Good to spend 1-2 hours here if you have time to spare in Atami. 

5. BonBonBERRY Atami House
Ichigo Bon Bon Berry Atami House (いちごBonBonBERRY熱海ハウス)
Operating hours: 10:00 - 18:00
Instagram: @atamibonbonberry
Access: 5 minutes walk from Atami Station

Perfect Instagram-worthy dessert spot for anything strawberry - Strawberry Daifuku, strawberry shaved ice, strawberry jam, strawberry dango skewer and more! The Bonbon Soft Serve (500 yen) I had was pretty good but what I liked most is the interior design that resembles a strawberry house where the strawberry seedlings were planted in a secret laboratory with test tubes and beakers displayed in a house-like space. 

6. Atami Sei You Sha
Atami Sei You Sha (熱海青葉舎)
Operating hours: 10:00 - 17:00
Instagram: @atamiseiyousya
Access: 10 minutes walk from Atami Station

Tucked at the corner shop located approximately 2 minutes walk from Atami Ginza Shopping Street, Atami Seiyousya is something I found on Instagram and the super cute Mt Fuji Matcha Lava Cake (750 yen) caught my attention at the first instance. It was a matcha pudding (so bouncy and firm!) drizzled with thick coconut cream that looked like lava flowing down the mountain. Just too cute to be eaten!

7. Atami Milchee's
Atami Milchee's (熱海ミルチーズ)
Operating hours: 10:00 - 18:00
Instagram: @atami.milchees
Access: 5 minutes walk from Atami Station

Here was another cute spot which caught my eyes and I couldn't resist the cuteness of this "Atami Onsen" themed café, hence I went in for its creative cheesecake offerings. 

The Bottled Cheesecake (430 yen) was something worth trying as it was made of 3 layers of thick and smooth basque cheesecake, sour cream cheesecake with a refreshing sour taste of lemon, and a rare cheesecake made with Hokkaido pure fresh cream. Whereas the Brulee Basque Cheesecake (380 yen) was below average - so just skip that.  

8. Detour to Hakone!
Hakone Shrine | Heiwa no Tori (平和の鳥居)

I have always been wanting to go to Hakone Shrine at least once in a lifetime for the Hakone sacred trees, and since Hakone is only 40 minutes train ride from Atami, it is worth spending a day or so exploring Hakone especially the famous torii gate which is located down near the water edge and it looks so beautiful against the glistening water surface. 

So happy that I finally managed to make it here! 

Lake Ashi Sightseeing Cruise - You can even see Mt Fuji during good days!

Hakone Open Air Museum (熱海ミルチーズ)
Operating hours: 09:00 - 17:00
Entrance ticket: 1,600 yen
Access: 20 minutes bus ride from Hakone Yumoto / Odawara Station (via H, J or Z bus)

Located in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Hakone Open Air Museum is a huge outdoor exhibition space for thousands of sculpture amidst the beautiful landscape - hills, streams, and ponds - with views of the mountains and sea from afar. A piece of art tells its own story, and I love how this museum brings the sculpture to life.

❤ ❤ 
To recap, my most memorable moments in Atami were the dazzling fireworks festival and awe-inspiring sunrise. If I were given an opportunity to explore the other parts of Shizuoka prefecture, I would probably want to stay close to the sea and visit interesting landmarks such as: 

❤ MOA Museum of Art (MOA美術館)
❤ Kinomiya Shrine (來宮神社), one of Atami’s most spiritual destinations 
 Hatsushima Island for an exotic "Ocean Hot Spring" experience
❤ Jukkkoku Pass for the breathtaking view of Mt Fuji, Suruga Bay with its pine groves of Miho,
and 360 degree views of Sagami Bay

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