Day Trip: Hayama

by Alana Bonzi
Otowa no Mori Hotel, Chojagasaki Understated, exclusive and introspective

For many people, Hayama is a summer playground. It conjures up restless images of Morito beach crowded with the young and the young at heart flocking to the umi no ie (beach houses and bars). The area has a few beaches such as Chojagasaki, well known for swimming and near the Otowa no Mori Hotel, and the crescent-shaped Isshiki.

But when the tourists leave, Hayama returns to its introspective self. Home to an understated exclusiveness, the feel is quite different without the crowds. The Imperial Family usually stay here at the Goyoutei, or Emperor’s Summer Palace, during quieter moments of the year. Just behind the palace is one of the best beaches, Isshiki, quiet and protected in all senses.

Hayama, like many towns along the Miura and Shonan coasts, offers beaches and mountains. Go there for spectacular views and sunsets, fine fresh seafood, succulent vegetables and Hayama gyu (beef ). Escape to a slower pace, and appreciate a walk along the beach and a nice lunch or dinner accompanied by a glorious sunset. For outdoor enthusiasts, there is canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing and cross-country bike trails.

Car: Just one hour’s drive from Tokyo on the Yokohama-Yokosuka toll road; take the Zushi exit to the Zuyo toll road and then route 134. As the highway breaks, stick to the coast.

Train: From either JR Zushi or Shin Zushi stations, take a walk, bus, taxi or hotel shuttle toward the coast.

Rent outdoor equipment from Beach Hayama Outdoor Fitness Club (Isshiki beach); walk along Morito, Isshiki, Chojagasaki beaches, or hike up Oomine.

Hayama Art and Music Festival (spring); Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Modern Art; Hayama Shiosai Park (part of Hayama Imperial Villa) with museum and teahouse

French: La Maree de Chaya, Otowa no Mori and Scapes; Italian: Piscaria Morito Beach, Il Rifugio Hayama, Piccolo Vaso Kotsubo-Zushi Marina; Japanese: Hikage Chaya

Otowa no Mori Hotel (Chojagasaki), Scapes (Morito beach)