Age: 27

Nationality: Northern Irish

Occupation: Travelling

Having spent my first two months in Japan mostly in cities, The Other House was a welcome change of scenery with its ocean views and relaxing atmosphere. There is so much to see and do here and Rob has many new and exciting ideas for the hidden gems of the East Izu Peninsula.

I was lucky enough to be there for the firefly viewing season which only lasts 10 days and is a major tourist attraction with the small town decorated in firefly lanterns. I also attended the local Fertility (Penis) Festival in Inatori, which was very amusing and funny as you would imagine and had lots of Japanese style music, dancing and foods. Nearby Okawa is the Teddy Bear Museum which has a special Ghibli Exhibit and is a must for any Studio Ghibli fans, with its life-size Totoro and cat bus for some great photos! We met the local women who hand-make the Hanging Hina Dolls and experienced the incredible craftsmanship that goes into making them by attempting to make some ourselves.

Izu is also a great place for hiking with contrasting scenery and many different trails and campsites. I hiked up through the forest to the summit of Hokiyama, that revealed amazing views at the top and encountered many deer and other wildlife along the way. We also visited Mt. Omuro, a dormant crater volcano that has beautiful, panoramic views over much of Izu. In Okawa town I twice found myself in the middle of a large troop of monkeys helping themselves to the oranges and jumping along the trees and buildings just beside me.

Everyone here was so friendly and welcoming from the local baker man delivering us some of his delicious cake to the many shop owners obvious delight at having new and different people visit their shops. Overall Izu truly has something for everyone with its stunning beaches, coastline and waterfalls to its rich variety of both traditional and modern Japanese lifestyle to experience.

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