Just as I was about to take the train back home from Izu-Ōkawa Station last year I noticed a billboard on the platform advertising something called Lion Rock. That was bad timing as I was about to leave the area and wouldn’t be back in Izu for many more months.
Having saved it in my ‘Want to go’ section on my maps app I was quite surprised to come across it (as I’d completely forgotten all about it!) when I was looking at places to visit during the Japanese Golden Week holiday earlier this month. Before checking out the images online I was fairly sceptical of claims that such a rock looks like a lion but was impressed enough to take the journey down the coast to check it out. Twice!
On that first occasion I followed the directions given by Google Maps but that sent me high up into the mountains on a road where there definitely was no way of getting down the cliff edge to Lion Rock below. It couldn’t even be seen from that point so I tried again a couple of days later. A 10 minute walk down the hill to the east of the station took me to this nice view of the Okawa River.
Route 135 is the main road which winds its way down the east coast of the Izu Peninsula, and once I was on that I walked the short distance to a Lawson Convenience Store but this one was missing the usual bright blue signage and had been replaced with a more subtle brown colour in order to blend in with the surroundings as is actually quite common in Izu where a few 7 Eleven and Family Mart stores are dressed up in such a style.
The trickier part was to come after that as I knew I had to walk for about 500 metres along a road which is just for vehicles and has no footpath. There is very little space to the side of the road too so I waited for quiet moments and then walked briskly or jogged until I saw a car coming. I then stopped and stood as close to the barrier as I could. After about five minutes I could finally see the lion sitting in the water so hopped over the barrier and jumped the short distance down to the rocky area between the road and lion.
Even stopping by car is not really possible as there is nowhere to pull up and park the vehicle for a couple of minutes. If there’s no traffic behind you then I guess you could reduce your speed, wind the window down and snap away. Bicycle may be the best option!! As a result of such restrictive access, I was of course the only person on site!
The rock formation is about ten metres long and to be fair it is quite easy to see why it has been named after an animal. Well it certainly resembles an animal lying on its front but does it look like a lion? What do you think?
This was a simple but interesting adventure and it was good fun climbing over the rocks to basically take photos from slightly different angles.
As I was totally alone I was a bit cautious though as one misstep could be fatal as happened with Harold Bishop in ‘Neighbours‘ if I can end this post with such a niche reference that’ll be sure to bamboozle many!
Click here to read ‘Izu Coastal Adventures; Eel Flavoured Cola, Unstaffed Stations, Outdoor Hot Spring Baths, Abandoned Buildings & Hiking Courses!’
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Click here to read ‘A Wet Walk Around The Rugged Volcanic Rock Shore In Izu’
Click here to read ‘Japan’s Largest Lion-Dog Watches Over This Park’