|Travel Reports by mfedley||view profile of mfedley|
|Note: The opinions and views expressed in this user report are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of japan-guide.com.|
July 6, 2015 - Izushi - Hyogo
When I was in Kinosaki Onsen, I went on a small half day trip to the old castle town of Izushi. The town itself is known for it's old building along with being famous for making soba and having a plethora of soba shops.
To get to this pretty little town from Kinosaki onsen you first need to catch a 10-15 minute train to Toyooka which seems to leave once or twice an hour. Then, you need to catch a bus for around 30 minutes from Toyooka station. My biggest suggestion is to go to the Kinosaki Onsen tourist information bureau and do the following:
(1) Bus a Zentan bus ticket for 500 yen which allows you to use most buses in the general area. This is only available for passport holders who have a temporary Japanese visa.
(2) Get the bus timetable for Izushi. There are 3 buses on weekends from Kinosaki (50 minutes) and 20 or so buses from Toyooka each day. There is also a weekend bus trip which also allows you to visit Takeda castle and the stalk santuary near Toyooka. Once again - speak to Kinosaki tourist office.
Bus Pass Information (English): http://www.zentanbus.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/ura.pdf
One thing I'll say is that there is little information in Izushi in English so I strongly suggest you download the following map unless you are good at reading Japanese: http://izushi.co.jp/pdf/guide_lite_en_ver2.pdf
Further detailed map on my travels: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zp0MtAJdtIro.kxeafFLd0Sjg&usp=sharing
Around a 4 minute walk from the bus terminal (if you know where it is!) is Izushijoseki castle ruins. The nicest thing about here is the view of the town and Arikoyamajoseki shrine which is located on top of the castle. I'll be truthful and say I'm getting sick of shrines but this one is quite atmospheric.
Around 7-8 minutes from the main town is Sukyoji temple which costs 300 yen to enter. This temple is mainly known for it's pretty gardens. Also - it's extensive buildings are currently closed as they are being refurbished. There is no English pamphlet - but you don't really need it as your looking at gardens!
Around a 5 minute walk from the temple is Izushi siryoukan which is an old silk merchants house. The house is filled with 'old stuff' which is interesting to look at if you have not visited 153 museums such as this one. It costs 300 yen to enter.
A 5 minute walk from the museum is the Izushi Eirakukan (300 yen) which is the oldest working Kabuki house in the Kansai region. It's quite pretty and you can even see how the stage works from below. The main person showing you around does not speak English but there is an informative English pamphlet and she gives you plenty of time to explore by yourself. This is important as some Japanese guided tours give you no time to actually look and explore where you are visiting.
So in general, Izushi is a pretty little town which is off the 'western tourist trail' but not off the 'Japanese tourist trail'. I enjoyed my time here and note that even though I stated that locations are close you tend to take much longer taking photos and generally getting to know the area. You'll probably spend 4 or so hours here and there are other things to do than what I have shown.
For tomorrow, I will be visiting Tottori - the last prefecture I have not visited in Honshu.
Izushi Town (English): http://www.izushi.co.jp/en/