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Art for free in beautiful Izu

by Naoko Kuramochi

Izukogen is a resort on the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture that combines the attractions of Ippeiko Lake, mountains and the sea.

Throughout May, though, it is adding to its appeal — and aiming to lure more new visitors — by hosting its 18th annual art festival in which entrance to all the venues is free.To savor this rare treat, either drive there or take the JR Ito Line, getting off at Izukogen Station, where maps of the 99 venues are available. These include not only galleries and museums but also shops, schools, restaurants and some local houses turned into galleries for the duration. Between them they are showing paintings, prints, design items, photographs and ceramics — although not every venue is open throughout the entire festival period.

The 18th Izukogen Art Festival runs through May 31. Admission is free. For more details, visit www.izukougen-artfes.com