Ike Village Walking Tour

Ike Village Tour

Theme: Japanese Culture in Daily Life

Welcome to Ike (pronounced like the letters E-K), an authentic, off-the-beaten-path community that introduces you to some of the most fundamental aspects of Japanese culture.  You will not find thatched roofs or people dressed up in traditional clothing re-enacting how life took place long ago. Rather, Ike is a real place, with real people whose ancestors have lived here for thousands of years.

Small villages throughout Japan have simply disappeared, but Ike has been very successful at adapting and learning to thrive. Come visit the shrines, the 500-year old temple, and hear the stories that define this unique community

Discover Ike’s soul as you meander through its streets and gardens, encountering real community life, well-tended gardens, and ancient temples. A highlight is Ryukeiin, a 16th-century Buddhist temple steeped in legend. Immerse yourself in this tale, presented in English, as you explore the temple’s intricate traditional artwork.

Visit Shinto shrines dedicated to the water and mountain gods, learning the rituals that connect locals with their spiritual heritage. Stroll past vegetable gardens, witness neighborly exchanges, and hear stories of historical monuments, emphasizing Ike’s resilience and 2,000-year-old communal identity.

Designed for those seeking cultural immersion away from the crowds, our tour unveils the foundational role of Japanese villages in shaping the nation’s identity. Gain insights into harmony, respect, and mutual support, values woven into the fabric of Japanese society.

Conveniently located between Tokyo and Kyoto, our Ike walking tour introduces you to the Izu Peninsula and allows you to savor the beauty of rural Japan while accommodating other activities in your itinerary.

Choose between morning and afternoon tours, Thursday through Monday.

Tour Details

Times: Morning (9:30-12:00) | Afternoon (2:00-4:30 pm)
Days: Thursday-Monday (closed Tuesday & Wednesday)
Cost: $250 (1-2 people), $300 per group (3 – 6 people)
Difficulty: Easy/moderate – a flat 3-kilometer walk, 90% wheelchair accessible.

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  • Cancellation policy: We will refund 100% of your payment up to 5 days before the tour, 3-4 days – 50%, less than 48 hours – no refund.

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For those coming by train: Your guide will meet you at Izu Kogen train station. Turn right after you pass through the only exit, and walk out to the taxi stand.

Groups larger than 3 people will need to take a taxi and pay the taxi driver.
* Japanese law does not allow a private guide to include this price in a tour. 

If you are coming by car, then we’ll meet at Ike Community Center:
475-2 Ike, Itō, Shizuoka 413-0234, Japan

Ike Community Center

6 thoughts on “Ike Village Walking Tour”

  1. I joined Jimmy for a walking tour of a small village in Ito city called Ike. Ike is a small, quiet place with a lovely atmosphere. The tour lasted about two and a half hours and was planned well, including the route and time for taking breaks.
    There were many things that I learned about Japanese culture and history thanks to the tour. For example, I learned about why Ike is called “pond” and why there is no longer a pond there. The most interesting part of the tour was the story about the Ryukeiin temple and how it was founded.
    Jimmy and the residents of Ike were very kind and friendly. I really recommend visiting if you have a chance.

    1. Thank you for your comments, Kyle. I really enjoyed having you join the tour.

      Your questions and observations made me realize that you know a lot about Japan. The Ike Village Tour is designed for both first time and seasoned visitors to Japan, so I’m very happy to know that you learned something new.

      The founding of the Ryukeiin Temple is shrouded in folklore, but there’s a fair amount of historical fact too. It’s humbling to think that people have continuously lived in Ike for more than 2,000 years.

      Hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Japan, and I hope this experience helped you see a little deeper into Japanese culture and thinking.

      Please visit Ito again. You are always welcome!

  2. I did a tour of Ike village, I loved seeing the local temple and hearing the story of Ake Ushi (red cow)! We also learned the history of the village and delved into Japanese culture too. The tour was a nice pace and it was easy to make our way around the area. Jimmy’s knowledge of the village and Japanese folklore is very impressive. The residents of the village are extremely kind and the surrounding nature provided plenty of photo opportunities. Lovely weather too!

  3. Jimmy took us on a tour of Ike village in Ito. We were able to see a few local cultural sites like the local temple and shrine. Jimmy was very knowledgeable about the area and the history! The tour had light walking on clear paths so I think this tour would be easy enough for those with mobility issues. The most difficult part was taking off my boots to enter the temple. Our group met some locals and they were very kind. I highly recommend if you’re interested in the culture and history of the area.

  4. I joined the Ike Village tour with 5 friends. I have never joined an English tour in Japan so I was interested to see what this one had to offer. The tour guide, Jimmy (a native English speaker), was very friendly and sociable. He was attentive to everyone’s inquiries during the tour and kept conversations flowing naturally. I never felt rushed by him, which is perfect for people who like taking lots of pictures.

    Now, onto the tour location. The village of Ike was pleasant. Ike is a small, quiet village on the east side of the Izu Peninsula. The tour was on a sunny, yet windy mid-December morning. Mostly everything was outdoors except for a portion of the tour where we entered a local temple. Because of the size and layout of the village, the tour is leisurely paced and not physically strenuous. There are some portions of the town with some stairs and gravelly terrain, so keep that in mind.

    I think this tour is suitable for travelers who are new to Japanese culture and would like a glimpse into the life of an everyday Japanese village. You’ll be able to learn a variety of information, such as temple customs and the history of Ike. Unlike some villages in Japan that have preserved or recreated the architectural style of a particular time period, at this village, you’ll view a village that is changing with the times.

  5. I recently joined Jimmy on a tour of the charming village that is the village of Ike. Upon meeting, Jimmy’s personable character instantly put my tourmates and I in good spirits. The tour consisted of visits to several locations, the first and my personal favorite being the Ryukeiin temple. The importance this temple holds for the local community could be instantly understood as we arrived and were greeted by a group of people of all ages who were taking a lunch break from what appeared to be a communal clean-up of the grounds. Jimmy being a familiar face, kindly introduced us to some locals who were excited to see a group touring their beloved village. Jimmy’s detailed recounting of the temple’s history in combination with his captivating retelling of the ‘Akaushi’ folk tale surrounding the temple elevated the experience of seeing this beautiful temple from one of artistic admiration alone to one where the spirit of the place could be felt and appreciated.

    Along our walk from one location to the next, there were a number of unmanned stands selling local fresh produce such as oranges and permissions which I took full advantage of. Another highlight of the tour for me was the visit to a locally treasured Shinto shrine where Jimmy expertly guided us through the motions involved in praying there. The walk from one location to the next was never strenuous and adequate time was given at each location for photo-taking which made the tour feel leisurely and never rushed.

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