The Dancing Girl of Izu Hiking Course / Izu no Odoriko (伊豆の踊り子ハイキングコース)

The hike to the Old Amagi Tunnel and Joren Waterfall is a decent half-day hike. It is possible to hike from the tunnel to the Kawazu Nanadaru Seven waterfalls.

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Total Walking Time: 6.5 to 7 hours, about 20km

Hiking to the Old Amagi Tunnel and Joren Waterfall is a decent half-day hike. It is possible to hike from the tunnel to the Kawazu Nanadaru Seven waterfalls.

This is an easy and well-marked course with good signage to guide you along. This is basically a long walk through some very lush vegetation. Good walking shoes are essential, a walking stick is not necessary. Bring water, food and snacks, a raincoat on wet days and a hat for sunny days. This particular trail is doable year round.

Access:

From Shuzenji station, take a bus headed for Kawazu. Alight at the Amagi Pass bus stop. The bus ride takes 43 minutes. The bus schedule is as follows: 6:25am, 7:16am, 8:05am, 8:33am, 9:18am, 9:53am

Hitting the Trail:

The trailhead starts at the bus stop. Follow the signs that lead to Joren waterall. After a 15-minute walk, you’d see the Joren waterall. At 25m high and 7m wide, it’s the largest waterfall in the Izu Peninsula. The landscape is lush and green in summer, yellow and gold in autumn.

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Song of Joren Waterfall

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Highest waterfall in the Izu Peninsula

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Stop to admire the wasabi farms along the way

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Wasabi patch

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Running water is necessary for growing wasabi

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Tarosugi, 450 years old, 53m tall with a circumference of 13.6m

From the waterfall, it’s a 2-and-a-half hour walk to the Amagi Tunnel. This historical tunnel is featured in one of the most famous books written by Yasunari Kawabata (1899-1972), who was the first Japanese writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968. The Odoriko hiking course has been named after the titular character of his book “Izu no Odoriko”. Published in 1926, it is about a student from Tokyo who meets a group of travelling performers on the road and falls in love with a young dancer. Fans of the novel can retrace the steps of the nameless narrator and the dancing girl.

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We go that way

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Memorial stone to the author, Yasunari Kawabata

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Why is the tunnel famous? Completed in 1905, it is the longest tunnel that’s made entirely of stone from the Meiji period. The tunnel is 445.5 meters long, 4,1 meters wide and 4.2 meters wide, and cuts through the ridge of that divides the Izu Peninsula. This tunnel is no longer in use as a new tunnel had been constructed for vehicles. It is only open to foot traffic. On weekends, you could borrow a lantern to light your way. It is almost completely dark, even in the day, inside this famously haunted spot.

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Can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel

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Cold and damp

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The way out!

From the Amagi tunnel, it is a 2-hour hike to the Kawazu Nanadaru waterfalls. The Kawazu Nanadaru waterfalls are a series of seven waterfalls which are really lovely to look at, especially after the rainy season, or in autumn when the trails are covered with autumn leaves. Take some time to meander leisurely around the Kawazu Falls at your own pace, to enjoy the refreshing and mesmerizing views and hypnotizing sounds of running water. Parts of the trail may be closed due to landslides and falling rocks caused by typhoons.

 

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Daru daru dan dan suspension bridge

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Many bridges were crossed but none burnt, hopefully

From the Kawazu Nanadaru waterfalls, take a bus to Kawazu station or back to Shuzenji station.

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Additional Information: 

The Kawazu cherry blossoms bloom for a month from early February. They are vibrant and bright pink in colour and a hardier variant of the sakura. The whole town comes alive during the sakura festival when the flowers are blooming. There are food stands and night light-up of the cherry blossoms in the evening. It’s definitely worth a visit.

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Amagi (天城)

Situated in the east of the Izu Peninsula is a group of volcanoes that make up Mount Amagi. The highest mountain in the peninsula, Mt. Amagi stands at an impressive 1406m and its many trails give hikers choices on how to approach this mountain range.

This mountain range straddles Kawazu Town, Izu City, Higashiizu Town and Nishiizu Town. There are different types of landscapes – flat, treeless, scrubby and dry Mt. Daruma, in contrast to tall thin-trunked and majestic pine trees and lush vegetation, wasabi fields nestled behind barbed wire in muddy fields filled with running water and majestic waterfalls.

Given enough time, it is possible to hike across Ito City in the east, across the Naka Izu Area or Central Izu Area, and end up in the Nishi Izu Area or West Izu Area. This trail would start from the Amagi Touzan Iriguchi Trailhead in the east and end up at Mt. Sanagi-yama in the west, with Heda Port as the final destination. As this hike only covers day hikes, I have sectioned the trail into separate hikes.

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Waterfalls

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Wasabi

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Lots of water

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A walk in the forest

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Amagi Tunnel

There are many ways to approach the Amagi mountain range. There are options for short and long hikes.

Trail Option 1: Odoriko Hiking Course and Old Amagi Tunnel, plus Joren Waterfall and Kawazu Nanadaru Seven Waterfalls

Trail Option 2: Mt. Amagi Hiking Course

Trail Option 3: Amagi Pass to Funabara Pass