Head out of Nagoya and catch some sea breeze.
Get ready to ditch the city sprawl and trade it for a seaside vacation on the scenic Cape Irago. Sitting on the tip of Atsumi Peninsula in Aichi Prefecture on the Pacific coast, the area offers surf, sea life tours, camping and scenic ocean pathways with overlooking cliffs.
Irago’s beaches offer cerulean seas and white sands. Fancy a dip? According to sea quality tests, the waters are some of the cleanest to swim in. One of the most popular is Coconuts Beach. A part of its quirky-and-cute charm is the beach is usually bedecked with coconut shells in a heart shape thanking and inviting visitors to relax. On the opposite side of the peninsula is Koijigahama Beach, which is actually one of the top 100 beaches in Japan. Nearby Hiino Sekimon sea arch is best appreciated when the sun captures it as dawn breaks.
Stroll along the coastal paths and seek out the Lighthouse of Cape Irago and “Lovers Sanctuary.” Going along with romance superstitions, the sanctuary has a plaque offering blessings to romantics of all ages, a bell to ring together and an area to attach a padlock, symbolizing your lasting love.
For a more active getaway, there are cycling paths to explore and easy-to-find rental outlets, with one based at the Irago Port, and some at the area’s hotels.
The area is packed with things to do for nature lovers, too. Search for the sunameri (finless porpoise), the world’s smallest dolphins. Tours run every Sunday from Irago Port, from April to late August. There’s also the option of camping in the national park resort for those who just can’t get enough of that fresh air and pine forests vibe.
When it comes to dining, try freshly caught local shellfish such as the giant short-necked clam, which you can grill yourself, should you wish.
Finally, find respite at one of the many hotels in the area. At Irago Sea-Park & Spa, rest those weary feet in a tub populated with “doctor fish,” a spa treatment where the creatures manicure and feast on the skin garnered from your travels. That’s ¥800 for 10 minutes. With ample to do, Irago is perfect for a destination or quick jaunt while visiting the Chubu region.