Jutting south from Mount Fuji into the Pacific, the Izu Peninsula has something of a holiday air about it. The warm Kuroshio current flowing northward lends the peninsula a mild climate, and its position close to the suture lines of shifting tectonic plates means that rugged Izu has no lack of geothermal springs.

At the northeastern end of the peninsula is Atami — a hot-spring resort and dirty-weekend spot par excellence for those in the capital. Moving down the peninsula from Atami, you pass a string of spas, clutches of small museums and other diversions, one is which is called the Banana and Alligator Park. Then you reach, near the southern tip, the port of Shimoda.

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