Gold nanorods have a strong surface plasmon band at the near infrared region. The absorbed light energy is then converted to heat. Since near infrared light can penetrate deeply into tissue, gold nanorods are expected to be used as a contrast agent for bioimaging using the near infrared light and photosensitizers for photothermal therapy. The surface plasmon bands of intravenously injected the gold nanorods were directly monitored from the mouse abdomen by using a spectrophotometer equipped with an integrating sphere. The absorbance at 900 nm from PEG5,000-modified gold nanorods immediately increased after injection and reached a plateau. The injection of phosphatidylcholine-modified gold nanorods also increased the absorbance at 900 nm, but the absorbance decreased single exponentially with a 1.3-min half-life. To demonstrate photothermal tumor therapy, the PEG-modified gold nanorods were directly injected into subcutaneous tumors in mice, then, near infrared laser light was irradiated to the tumor. After the treatment, significant suppression of tumor growth was observed.