At the foot of the Izu peninsula lies a quiet seaside town named Shimoda where the sand is white, the fish is fresh and the views are spectacular.
If you’re looking for some luxury and don’t mind paying for it, then the Shimoda Central Hotel offers top class accommodation with a swimming pool and hot spring bath. A room will cost around 30,000yen per night, but you get what you pay for with luxurious rooms and a high-quality restaurant dishing up fresh fish, not to mention the spectacular sea views.
For a more affordable option, Shimoda Yamatokan offers a more traditional Japanese ryokan at an affordable price starting from around 10,000yen per night whilst there are numerous options available to make your stay more luxurious including dinner, bed and breakfast served to your room, a private onsen and even a ‘happy wedding honeymoon plan’ which includes champagne and cake! Looking over Tamado beach, the views are again spectacular, particularly from the hotel’s onsen (pictured). An English friendly website will allow tourists to pick and choose a package to suit.
What To Do
First and foremost, enjoy the beautiful surroundings. One way to do this is to take the cable car up to the top of Mount Nesugata. It leaves from Shimoda train station and costs 1,000yen which is well worth it for the views from the top where there is also a temple and a scenic Japanese zen garden which features ponds with carp. Perfect to spend a peaceful few hours.
If you’re looking for something more active, Shimoda is a great place to try water sports for beginners or veterans. Nordic walking, scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, sea kayaking and beach yoga are all on offer. More information can be found at the Shimoda tourist board’s website. The Shimoda diving school offers various diving options whilst Kai’To sea-kayak and surf school offer various English friendly tours leaving from Shirouta beach.
In the surrounding area, there are a number of caves available to explore, take the bus from Shimoda station to Toji (about 20minutes) to unlock the mysteries of Ryugu sea cave or further afield, in the west of Izu, an excellent cave excursion leaves from Dogashima (about a 45 minute drive from Shimoda).
Staying in Shimoda, you can visit (or even get married at!) the aquarium where the dolphins are the main attraction (http://shimoda-aquarium.com/) or just to the south of Shimoda is Tsumekizaki park which offers a tranquil setting to enjoy the sunshine or sunset.
You can also time your visit to coincide with a number of festivals in the town including beach fireworks, fishing competitions and a range of flower festivals when particular plants are in bloom including the famous cherry blossom in the spring. Whatever you do, it would be almost impossible not to have a great holiday in this hidden paradise at the foot of the Izu peninsula.
Take the Oboriki shinkansen from Tokyo station to Izukyu Shimoda. It takes 2 hours 48 minutes and costs 6,500yen or is included in the JR Pass (an essential when planning a trip to Japan).