Introducing Atami

Atami is both the gateway to Izu, and its largest town. While this overdeveloped hot-springs resort lacks charm, there are a few sights and onsen that make it a worthwhile visit.

Overlooking the coastline, the sleek MOA Museum of Art has an excellent collection of Japanese and Chinese pottery and paintings, spanning more than 1000 years and including national treasures. It also has a serene tea garden set among Japanese maple and bubbling brooks. Stealing the show, however, is MOA's grandiose entrance, with escalators leading up 200m past ceilings that glow in changing neon colours that make you feel like you're about to board a spaceship.

Take bus 6 outside Atami Station to the last stop (¥160, eight minutes). Otherwise you can get here via the Yu-Yu bus if you plan to spend the day sightseeing.

Sun Beach is an attractive sight in the evening, with its sands illuminated by coloured floodlights. If you plan to hang around, Toyoko-Inn has well-priced, comfortable rooms.

Discount tickets to the museum (¥1400) and good English brochures and transport info are available at the tourist office, at the station building.

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