15 people and 1 unforgettable getaway: Car camping and sightseeing in Higashi-Izu
15 people and 1 unforgettable getaway: Car camping and sightseeing in Higashi-Izu

15 people and 1 unforgettable getaway: Car camping and sightseeing in Higashi-Izu

27才で車中泊旅を初体験、以降ハマる。Webマーケッター・ライターとして活躍し、"好きなときに、好きな場所で、旅するように暮らす"を目標に「VANガール」としてVANLIFEの魅力を発信中! Twitter: @VANGIRLJAPAN

Hi everyone! I'm the vangirl Kaori Sakai! During the Golden Week holiday in 2019, I went to an overnight Carstay TRIP with 14 people using Carstay's booking service and stayed at "Izumi no Mori SMILE PARKING". Read along to find out about our amazing camping and sightseeing experience in Higashiizu.

First of all, here's the digest video!

What kind of place is Izumi no Mori SMILE PARKING?

This time we stayed at Izumi no Mori SMILE PARKING. It's about 2.5 hours by car from Tokyo, and near World Geopark in Jogasaki Coast (100 meters from the sea). The owner originally runs Izumi Diving Resort but also recently opened a station at Carstay where camping and overnight stays can be made. *You can stay in your car, rent a picture tent, or rent a camping car.

Private campsites with natural swings, hammocks, rental tent and rental camping car... amazing!

The landmark of this place are tall white buildings and campers on the coast. Izumi no Mori SMILE PARKING offers both diving instructions and overnight camping spaces. Recently, I booked a parking space and did car camping with 14 of my friends and acquaintances. 

The interior of the rental tent is the world of gramping that I yearn for...!

When we arrived at the facility, the owner prepared hammocks, swings, and tents complete with sleeping bags and cooking stoves! Our camp was nifty! I was very pleased that he thought about the color scheme of everything and lent us Jenga to play. Totally Instagram-worthy! Most people in my group who rarely go camping, much less car camping, were pleasantly surprised that we could do such a thing really close to Tokyo. They're now convinced that car camping is even better that regular camping.

In front of the toilet and shower, the owner made his own camping car

You can also stay in a camping car where you can enjoy an extraordinary feeling!

The best thing about Izumi no Mori SMILE PARKING is the warmth of the owner. Everyone loved the Western-style toilet and DIY bathtub with sink (and dryer!) that were all available for use any time of the day. The natural hot spring of Izu gushes out in the bath, so I recommend it to people who like hot springs. Even first-timers and girls would absolutely fall in love with this place♬

We divided our group into two sleeping groups: tent group and RV group. We rented an RV from the owner, so the interior was also very stylish and cozy. One of my friends is as tall (2m) as Sakuragi Hanamichi from Slam Dunk but the space did not seem to be a problem for him. He was able to stretch his legs fully and sleep soundly. I've been car camping for a while now and I'm totally lovin' it!

It's like a room in an apartment on the beach! I can't believe this is moving...!

I woke up the next morning to the sound of birds singing, their sweet voices echoed from the forests like the natural chimes of Izu.

The trial diving group has already departed from early in the morning! The drive group sleep as much as they want, and entered the second day.

Go scuba diving for the first time in Izu!

The owner of Izumi no Mori SMILE PARKING is a famous diver in the area, so even beginners can feel at ease going diving for the first time with him. Higashi-Izu is a world-famous diving spot and also a sacred place where many divers can visit! You can see through the crystal-clear water sea urchins on the seabed and various kinds of sea breams swimming. (It made me hungry looking at all the fish. Lol) 

This is a place where you don't need a diving license for the depth of less than 5 meters, so even beginners can enjoy diving comfortably. And if you've never tried scuba diving before, you might be scared of getting water into your nose and diving into the ocean, but the instructor's very patient and professional. All you have to think about is having fun! Also, the owner taught us how to enjoy the driving spots in Higashi-Izu, so we will introduce the places we actually visited ♬

5 Recommended Sightseeing Spots around Higashi-Izu

① Inatori Hosono Plateau (Nature)

Hosono Plateau is a 400-meter high terrain on Mount Misuji in Inatori, Higashiizu that's a picturesque area featuring rolling fields of pampas grass. It's truly a sight that you cannot see in the city. When you look over it, you can see the vast wilderness with full view as well as Izu Oshima Island in the distance. Vegetables like “warabi” and “zenmai” seem to grow everywhere from mid-April to the beginning of May, but we were lucky to find an open space to play frisbee. Some people were also paragliding in the surrounding areas.

・Address: Inatori, Higashiizu, Kamo District, Shizuoka 413-0411

② Wayamamozuku Cuisine Ugajin (Restaurant)

We made a reservation for 15 people at night. The special Izu sashimi “funamori” was a masterpiece of deliciousness. In addition, we truly enjoyed the taste of local food including tempura with wild vegetables and “kinmedai.” I want to eat the food there every day!

・Address: 908-111 Futo, Ito, Shizuoka 413-0231

③ Unase (Restaurant)

You can eat fresh fish from the local area, including eel. I ordered a set of eel and nigiri sushi at lunchtime. The fish was perfect.

・Address: 554-12 Katase, Higashiizu, Kamo District, Shizuoka 413-0303

④ Hirazuru (Hot Spring & Ryokan)

This is a hot spring inn located in Atami, on the way back from Izu to Tokyo. There is a time limit, but you can also have a day spa. It's a free-flowing open-air hot spring with a sense of privacy. It has a very beautiful view! It's a perfect place to relax after a long drive.

・Address: 493 Shimotaga, Atami, Shizuoka 413-0102

⑤ Aji Kurabe (Restaurant)

This is a restaurant where you can enjoy seafood dishes in front of Hirazuru Road. As soon as you enter the store there is a big aquarium! The restaurant menu includes sashimi and salmon. They even have a set of sea bream, sea urchin, and shirashi gourd for only ¥2,000! You will never find this at this price in Tokyo!

・Address: 491 Shimotaga, Atami, Shizuoka 413-0102

Conclusion: Higashiizu is a perfect place to start your vanlife!

What did you think about our mini car camping getaway in HIgashiizu? Fourteen of my friends and acquaintances who joined were awe-struck at the many different beautiful locations and communities that exist there. Every single one of us thought the camping trip was "awesome!" Lots of us met each other for the first time but the trip without a doubt brought us all closer together

All of us work in Tokyo but we didn't realize that there's a paradise of splendid nature and fabulous food nearby in Kanto area, in Higashiizu! It's definitely the perfect place to spend the night car camping. I highly, highly recommend Izumi no Mori SMILE PARKING to everyone for an unforgettable car camping and scuba diving experience! Plan your car camping trip with your friends now! ♪


27才で車中泊旅を初体験、以降ハマる。Webマーケッター・ライターとして活躍し、"好きなときに、好きな場所で、旅するように暮らす"を目標に「VANガール」としてVANLIFEの魅力を発信中! Twitter: @VANGIRLJAPAN

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