The trip was to visit a friend who has his mountain cabin there. It is very green with mountain forest everywhere, tons of citrus fruit trees, the ever popular strawberry greenhouses available all-year-round, and hot spring spas around just about every corner. Compared to Tokyo at this time of year, it is relatively mild in Higashi-izu which explains the availability of all the citrus and strawberries. If you decide to ride out to the Izu Peninsula I would suggest riding highway 135 and avoid the toll roads. That is, if you want to enjoy a few thrilling hairpin turns between a vertical cliff on one-side and shear drop-off on the other. It was fun and I look forward to taking that route again in the future as I venture farther south from Tokyo.
Unfortunately traffic was terrible due to the New Year's season. Distance-wise it was only 140km tops from my Tokyo apartment and my buddies cabin in HigashiIzu.
But it took about 7 hours going, and 6 on the way back. Yeah, pretty slow going. But it only cost me about 7 USD in gas, and by avoiding tolls, I saved another 60 USD or so. Lane-splitting is another thrill and skill one can hone along the way.
Oh and I learned of a great place to buy cheap but sturdy backpacks, full rain gear, thermal socks and whatever else you might need for the brisk journey. The store is called Workman, and this is where all the construction guys who work outdoors, go to buy their work gear. I got a full, heavy-duty rain suit to go over my winter jacket and it only cost about 2000 yen (20 USD). Workman website is only in Japanese but you should be able to Google map the location of one near you. Worth checking out if you want to gear up on the cheap.
Happy New Year.