Not a family able to relax for long it seems, the next day we set out to explore Izu. First a brief stop at what is quite possibly one of the strangest places I have yet to visit – a Cat Museum chosen by the Small Girl, and which turned out to feature a whole host of irritated felines on the top floor. This in turn meant that the uber cat allergy boys had to wait outside (perhaps the first time their faulty genes have come in handy?!), but was worthy payment enough for getting her to gladly agree to what we had planned in the afternoon. Remember that Volcano I mentioned?
This beautiful specimen, so perfectly formed it looks almost man-made, is around 580 metres high and last erupted around 3000 years ago. Every February an ancient burning ritual is performed, which ensures the volcano’s lush green appearance later in the year. It is said to be a powerful energy spot in a spiritual sense, and whilst we didn’t sense any spiritual energy, Mother Nature did treat us to some incredible weather energy when we got there, so instead of walking up as we had originally planned, we opted for the easy route to the top.
It is said that on a clear day you can see Mount Fuji from the summit. But not today. In fact I would say that the only thing we could clearly see was the orange plastic from our disposable (and very tasteful!) rain macs as they melded themselves to our faces in the wind. We might be a family that travels quite a bit, but we are not always prepared! Anyway, these were considered a necessary purchase given the squally conditions. It’s just a shame they didn’t last for too long (or perhaps not!)! Now at the top, we pressed on.
I had always imagined a volcano’s crater to be a huge gaping hole that should you venture too close to, might mean that you fall in and disappear forever. This one is 300 Metres in diameter, and around 70 Metres deep. But obviously as it hasn’t errupted for quite a long time, there’s not a gaping hole in sight, instead you can play archery in it – just not on this particular day as your arrows would never be seen again.
Probably right after the arm of his plastic bag rain coat blew away into the distance, and fearing for his life, Small Boy decided it was all a bit too much. And so we sat in the blustery safety of the outdoor cafe, whilst we watched our two intrepid explorers circumnavigate the crater, which takes around half an hour by the way.
A volcano conquering outdoor adventure that none of us will forget in a hurry… Next stop Kyoto!