There are two courses on the Izu Peninsula at the Kawana Resort and the Fuji course is universally considered to be the best. “This paradise is at least two hours from Yokohama,” wrote Charles H. Alison, “and much of the journey is along a narrow and earth quaked road, cut in the rocky coast. It lies among the hills beyond the hot springs of Ito on a pine-covered plateau bordered by red cliffs which descend down to the blue sea. From a wooded bay, a mile distant, a fishing village sends out boats with brown sails to complete the last detail of a perfect scene.”
The Fuji course is the younger of the two courses at Kawana and it was designed by Charles Alison, opening for play in 1936. It’s laid out on a ripped elevated promontory and it’s the favourite course of many Japanese golfers. With breathtaking Pacific Ocean views from the cliff tops, sunken folded fairways and plateaux greens surrounded by mature woodland and Mount Fuji as the backcloth, it’s easy to see why this course is so popular. At approximately $300 per round, the Fuji is the most expensive green fee in Japan, it needs to be something special. With a back nine containing some of the best and most scenic holes in Japanese golf, we think that the Fuji course is worth every single yen.
Masa Nishijima wrote the Kawana Fuji course description that follows:
Many golf tournaments have been held on the Fuji course and the most memorable one would be the World Amateur Golf Team Championship for the Eisenhower Trophy held in 1962. And recently, it has been the site of the well-known Fuji Sankei Classic.
The 11th hole is a 568-yard par five – the longest hole on the Fuji Course – and Mt Fuji can be seen to the left. An interesting feature of this hole is that the green is at the foot of the lighthouse. If you glance at the lighthouse, you will immediately notice that it’s shaped like a tee peg. This and a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean is a feature of this course.
The 15th is a 415-yard downhill par five with beautiful scenery that is very reminiscent of Pebble Beach in California. The unsuspecting golfer will soon discover the undulating fairway as it extends along the sea and this hole is often singled out as one of the most difficult and challenging.
The par three 16th measures 172 yards but although short in length, it is perhaps the hardest hole on the course because the green is on the top of the small hill. Owing to its shape, we call it “Battery Green”. The 17th is a 388-yard par four and a real feature of this hole are some very deep and extremely challenging bunkers known as “Alison Bunkers” – named after the architect.
We use the caddy system and play Kawana on foot.