Less than an hour from the capital, Kanagawa has always been a popular destination for day-tripping Tokyoites in the mood for a scenic seaside adventure. Yokohama, Hakone and Kamakura are all regular features of “top destinations in Japan” lists thanks to a rewarding line-up of cosmopolitan cityscapes, spectacular nature and fascinating history respectively.
But there’s one slice of the Kanagawa coastline that often gets unfairly overlooked. Just south of Yokohama and right before Kamakura lies the picturesque Miura Peninsula, where sleepy fishing villages, wild uninhabited islands and bustling naval towns all have one delicious commonality: maguro (tuna) mania.
Luckily, Keikyu Line offers a special Misaki Maguro Day Trip Ticket (1 day) and a Misaki Maguro Pass (2 days) which allows you to explore the attractions and the tuna-tastic cuisine at the same time.
The Misaki Maguro Day Trip Ticket offers a return train trip from Tokyo and unlimited bus journeys throughout the area while the Misaki Maguro Pass includes the return train fare plus unlimited bus and train journeys. Both passes give discounts on various activities and souvenirs, and most importantly include a meal ticket for a delicious maguro meal set in over 32 different participating restaurants (Day Trip Ticket) — 24 with the Maguro Pass.
For ideas on what to do, I’ve compiled a list from which to pick some of the best activities, as well as a sample two-day itinerary for those who want to explore further. The list focuses on activities in the Miura Peninsula, Yokosuka and a few spots in Yokohama. Don’t forget that both Hakone and Kamakura have their own special discount passes, the Hakone Freepass and the Enoshima-Kamakura pass.
1. Miura Kaigan Beach
This long stretch of sandy white beach is just a 5-minute walk from Miurakaigan station. Relax, swim, or stroll down more than a kilometer of coastal bliss. Also a photo-worthy spot for a sunset.
2. Miura Kaigan Cherry Blossom Festival
The cherry blossoms in this area arrive earlier than most other varieties so head down to the Miura Kaigan Cherry Blossom Festival late February to see more than 1,000 sakura trees line the road from Miurakaigan station to Komatsugaike Park, illuminated from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. For a totally extra hanami (cherry blossom viewing) bring some pink champagne along to enjoy as you watch the petals fall like confetti.
3. Misaki Port
This small fishing port imports tuna not only from Japan but all over the world. Sample tuna prepared in various ways, whether as sushi, sashimi, or even fried, from one of the many restaurants scattered around the area. Short boat rides are also offered throughout the day.
4. Misaki Seafood Local Wholesale Market
Not only is this fish market a hub for selling frozen tuna, with up to 1000 kg being traded daily, it also offers up a myriad of other weird and wonderful seafoods, including spearfish and sea snails. You can see the early morning tuna auction for free, but it is open irregularly so do check the website.
5. Urari Marche
Directly in front of the pier, Urari Marche sells seafood products on the first floor. Don’t miss the little lady near the entryway selling traditional steamed chinese buns that are filled with tuna instead of pork. Up on the second floor you’ll find a colorful vegetable market, selling the best of the season. There’s also a cafe where you can grab a coffee and pastry with a view of the pier.
6. Kannonzaki Keikyu Hotel Spasso
This onsen is located in the Yokosuka Keikyu Hotel, but non-hotel guests are welcome to purchase a day pass. The onsen water flows from a natural spring from nearby Hashirimizu beach and fills the open air baths overlooking Tokyo Bay, as well as the sauna and indoor jet baths. Body care treatments such as massages and a restaurant for dining ramp up the relaxation factor.
7. Nijiiro Sakana Go
Nijiiro Sakana Go is a cute yellow boat that features a glass bottom for fish viewing that’s super fun for kids. On the upper level, buy some bird food for ¥50 and you can feed the seagulls. This boat departs directly in front of the pier.
8. Miura Rent-a-cycle
Explore the many scenic spots around Miura and Jogashima on two wheels with Miura Rent-a-cycle. Both electric bicycles and bicycles for children are available at the Tourist Information Center in front of Misakiguchi Station from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
9. Jogashima Island
Jogashima is a small island just across from Misaki on the southwest tip of the Miura Peninsula and home to the Jogashima Lighthouse, which is the fifth oldest western-style lighthouse built in Japan. Enjoy biking the 1-square-kilometer entirety of this tiny island. Dramatic cliff edges give way to interesting rock formations with stunning views of Mt. Fuji in the background. There is also a peaceful green park, which includes its own observatory.
10. Jogashima Keikyu Hotel
Located near the old lighthouse, this hotel offers Japanese-style rooms with views overlooking the ocean and Mt. Fuji in the distance. Japanese kaiseki (multi-course traditional) meals are set up for you in your room at dinner time, replicating a luxury ryokan (traditional inn) experience. Enjoy the hotel’s outdoor onsen before or after dinner, or go wild in the karaoke room.
11. Koajiro Forest
A serene area for hiking, Koajiro Forest is said to be the only natural environment in the Kanto region where you can find an entire river basin connecting the forest to swamps to mudflats to the sea. As you walk along the path, you can observe the changes in the natural environment and possibly even see a local red-clawed crab who calls this place home.
12. Yokosuka Museum of Art
This architecturally impressive museum adds a great dose of culture in between an otherwise seaside-focused trip. There is a series of galleries, featuring displays of Japanese art from the early modern era up to present day. About four temporary exhibits are featured per year, making the Yokosuka Museum of Art a great place to keep coming back to.
13. Sarushima Island
Also known as “Monkey Island” although, unfortunately, there aren’t any monkeys roaming about. Sarushima Island is the only natural island in Tokyo Bay surrounded by lush forest, great for hiking, with many interesting brick tunnels and ruins of a navy battery which are fun to explore. Enjoy the views of Yokosuka and Yokohama on your 10-minute ferry-ride to the island. If you bring your own food and rent a barbecue set, you can cook on the beach, too.
14. Memorial Ship Mikasa
The coastal city of Yokosuka is known for its links to the navy, hence why Mikasa Park features a very famous battleship, Mikasa, which was built for the Imperial Japanese Navy in the late 1890s. Climb aboard the ship and marvel at this historical landmark. It’s crazy to think that this ship actually sank during the Japanese-Russo War, but was eventually salvaged after years of restoration. You can buy a ticket at the vending machine inside the Mikasa gift shop.
15. Tateishi Park
Come for a little tide pool exploration and stay for the glowing sunsets at Tateishi Park. This is a picturesque beach area with a unique view of giant rocks rising from the sea, not to mention great views of Mt. Fuji. It’s a bit of a postcard moment here without much else around, nonetheless worth it for the view.
16. Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum
Get your creative juices flowing at this innovative and inspiring museum dedicated to the history of the world’s favorite instant ramen. At the Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum, you can create your own customized cup noodle and take it home for a special midnight snack. If there are kids (big or small) in tow they can play in the whimsical noodle playground on the top floor.
17. Yokohama Chinatown
Japan’s biggest Chinatown is truly a feast for both the eyes and the mouth. Be sure to show up hungry, as the streets are lined with food vendors selling giant soup dumplings and black sesame mochi (sticky rice) balls, while peking ducks hang in the windows just waiting to be eaten. Stop by the impressive Kanteibyo Temple for a photo opportunity and a bit of good luck.
18. Yokohama Museum of Art
One of the largest art institutions in Japan, the Yokohama Museum of Art focuses on showing modern and contemporary art created from the late 19th century and onward. It’s iconic architecture comprises a total of seven gallery spaces, as well as an Art Information and Media Center that holds over 110,000 art-related books, plus ateliers hosting a wide range of workshops for children and adults.
19. International Stadium Yokohama (Nissan Stadium)
This iconic Nissan Stadium is one of Japan’s largest, with a capacity of over 70,000 seats. The final game of the 2002 Football World Cup was held here and is next set to host the upcoming Rugby World Cup in 2019. In the stadium tour, experience for yourself what it’s like for players to walk out onto the field, complete with the actual music used for the entry of the 2002 World Cup soccer teams.
20. Sankeien Garden
A classic Japanese garden opened in 1904, at Sankeien Garden there is a pond, some little rivers, various unique flowers and wonderful scrolling trails that transport you far away from central Yokohama. Come here in the spring and prepare to be blown away by the gorgeous cherry blossoms this garden has to offer.
Here’s a sample two-day itinerary using the Keikyu Line and the Misaki Maguro Pass. The Misaki Maguro Pass, valid for two days, is only available for international visitors who have to reserve it online at Japanican. Both residents of Japan and tourists can purchase the Misaki Maguro Day Trip Ticket, valid for one day, at any Keikyu Line station except for Sengakuji and Misakiguchi.
The Misaki Maguro Pass costs ¥5,500 for adults, ¥3,530 for children. The Misaki Maguro Day Trip Ticket costs ¥3,500 from Shinagawa, Keikyu Kamata and Keikyu Kawasaki stations, ¥3,400 from Yokohama station and ¥3,810 from Haneda Airport. For more about the the two passes, see the official website and online pamphlets (link below).
- Depart from Shinagawa station to Misakiguchi station and enjoy the pretty scenery. I suggest grabbing the 9:20 a.m. train in order to get a proper start to the day. Shinagawa station is loaded with beautiful bento box shops and bakeries in case you plan on picking up any snacks for the journey.
- Once you arrive at Misakiguchi station, walk over to Misakiguchi-eki bus stop, and catch the #9 bus to Misaki Wharf Port, arriving there around 11 a.m. It’s a small station so finding the bus is very easy once you exit.
- Upon arriving to Misaki Port, stroll around the fish market and stop by Urari Marche. I especially loved the woman selling jams and spreads, which you can add to yogurt or ice cream at home. The amount of different flavors she has range from peach to plum, and get as interesting as eggplant or tomato.
- Once you’ve strolled the market, you’ll be ready for some fresh tuna. Settle in at any of the neighboring restaurants and show your Maguro Meal Ticket for a delicious bowl of maguro.
- Nice and full from lunch, take a bus (or a boat ride) across the bridge to Jogashima. Walk around or rent a bike to explore. The island is mostly flat terrain, so it’s easy to cycle around. The cute lighthouse offers some beautiful views. Plus, there are more tuna shops selling lunch sets in case you get hungry again.
- Once you finish exploring the island, check into the Jogashima Keikyu Hotel. For the remainder of the day, you can enjoy the hotel’s onsen baths and a multi-course kaiseki dinner.
- Wake up and enjoy breakfast at the Keikyu Hotel before checking out and making your way to Yokosuka. Once you have checked out, take the #9 bus at 9:46 a.m. back to Misakiguchi station and from there take the train to Yokosuka-chuo station where you can walk to the Mikasa Historic Warship Memorial.
- After checking out the memorial, grab some lunch around the pier or enjoy a picnic on Sarushima island. You can take a ferry at Mikasa Pier, which is only about ten minutes. There isn’t much food on the island, so bring whatever you might want.
- After take the ferry back to Mikasa Pier, then walk ten minutes to Odakicho bus stop. Take the #28 bus to the Kannonzaki-keikyu Hotel/Yokosuka-bijutsukan bus stop, and you will arrive at the beautiful Yokosuka Art Museum.
- Once you finish at the museum, you can walk to the Kannonzaki Keikyu Hotel — just a few minutes away — and watch the sunset from their oceanfront onsen. Luckily Kannonzaki Keikyu Hotel allows non-hotel guests to purchase entry into their onsen, but if you wish to enjoy a second night in the area go ahead!
- Heading back to Tokyo, take the #24 bus to Mabori-kaigan-eki bus stop and from there take the Keikyu Line from Mabori-kaigan Station all the way back to Shinagawa.
Happy travels and enjoy the lovely Miura Peninsula!