Shimoda (下田市) is a city on the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka, Japan. As of January, 2021 Shimoda City had a population of approximately 21,000 people. Historically it is famous as the place where Commodore Matthew Perry of the U.S. Navy arrived with his "black ships" in 1853. This led to the signing of the Convention of Kanagawa, effectively ending Japan's 200-year era of isolation from the outside world.
Shimoda is as far south as you can go by train on the Izu Peninsula. The train station is the terminus of the Izukyu Railway, and is officially known as Izukyu-Shimoda (伊豆急下田) station.
Odoriko (踊り子) trains make multiple daily runs from Tokyo station via the JR Tokaido Main Line. A one-way trip will generally take 2½ hours at a cost of ¥6060 on the Odoriko train and for the Saphir-Odoriko, which requires seat reservations and is a bit quicker, it is ¥9110. Holders of the national Japan Rail Pass can take a Hikari or Kodama shinkansen up to Atami and then switch trains to get to Ito Station, but will have to pay an extra fee (¥1650 local trains, ¥2200 ltd express) each way to travel over the Izukyu Railway. But if you have a JR-East Rail Pass, the entire journey is fully covered. Note that some Odoriko trains also leave from Shinjuku and Ikebukuro. Be aware that for those using JR-East Rail Passes, you cannot take the bullet train south of Tokyo.
Local trains take about 2¾ hours, with at least one change of trains required at Atami or Ito, but the cost is much cheaper (¥3960).
Across the street from the station is Shimoda Tourist Association, where you can get help with orientation. Phone 055-822-1531. Central Shimoda is small enough to be explored on foot. To reach the beaches and some of the sights it's more comfortable to take a bus. Platforms are outside the railway station.
For those going all over or to more isolated places, a rental car can be convenient and ideal. There are 3 rental car places in or next to the train station building.
Shimoda view from Mount Nesugata
- Perry Road (ペリーロード), 3-14 Shimoda, ☎ 055-822-3913, . This is the road that Coomodore Perry took to go from the port to Ryōsenji, and it has been named and preserved in his honor. This tranquil, canal side street with willow trees and flowers makes a nice place of introduction for visitors to Shimoda. Free. edit
- Mount Nesugata (寝姿山), 831 Naka, Shimoda, ☎ 055-822-1211, . 8:45AM-5PM, mid-Oct to mid-Mar ~4:45PM. A cable car takes you to the top of Mount Nesugata, 200 meters above sea level. From there you get a great view of Shimoda and you can also explore a small park with a temple, as well as where Perry's navy ships were first spotted. The price for a round trip ticket is ¥1200, including admission to the park. A printable discount ticket is available here. ¥1050 r/t online. edit
- Shimoda Park (下田公園), 3-1174 Sanchome, Shimoda-shi, ☎ 055-822-3913, . This nice park is near the port, a 20-minute walk from the station. You can also take a bus headed for the Shimoda Aquarium which is next to the park. The park features a 1957 monument of the opening of US-Japan diplomatic relations, and plenty of flowers including thousands of hydrangeas that explode into color in June. edit
- Ryōsenji (了仙寺), 12-12 Sanchome, Shimoda-shi (15-min walk south from the stn), ☎ 055-822-0657 (fax: 055-823-6355), . A supplementary treaty to the Kanagawa Treaty was signed here by Commodore Perry and representatives of the shogunate. Next to the temple is a museum with exhibitions about the arrival of foreigners in Japan, and even a collection of erotic Buddhist art. Admission to the museum is ¥500. Another temple, Chorakuji, is close to Ryosen-ji and also worth a visit. It is the site of a trade treaty between Japan and Russia, signed in 1854. edit
- Izu Cruise (下田港内めぐり), 19 Sotogaoka, Shimoda-shi (15-min walk south from the stn), ☎ 055-822-1151, . 9AM-3:30PM. Trips around the bay depart several times every day from the harbor. The 20-minute "Black Ship" cruise around Shimoda Harbor departs every half hour. ¥1250~. edit
- Shimoda Underwater Aquarium (下田海中水族館), 3-22-31 Shimoda-shi (25 min walk from the stn), ☎ 055-822-3567, . 9:30AM–4:30PM Sat 9AM~, irreg. changes. Prides itself as the world's first aquarium that floats on water. The 5000 fish are in many cases unique to the Izu Peninsula. The aquarium also offers the opportunity to swim with dolphins for ¥7000 (reserve in advance). ¥2100. edit
- Shimoda History Museum (下田開国博物館), 4-18-13 Shimoda, ☎ 055-823-2500 (fax: 055-823-3288). 8:30AM-5:30PM last entry 5PM. Holds exhibits of relics, papers, photos, and other related matters on Perry's visit to Japan, as well as US and Japanese impressions of each other. Discount coupon for entry on their website. ¥1200. edit
- Ebisu Island (伊豆半島ジオパーク), Suzaki, Shimoda, ☎ 055-479-6333, . Not too far away yet off the beaten track is this small island that is part of the Izu Geopark and shows a beautiful rugged coastline left over from a massive volcanic eruption long ago as well as numerous unusual rock formations, weathered cliff faces, and other sights of interest. Free. edit
- Tsumekizaki Park (爪木崎公園), Suzaki, Shimoda, . A beautiful garden of over 3 million daffodils that blooms from the end of December through January. The city also has taiko drum performances in January on Sundays. Car recommended. edit
- Cape Tsumeki (爪木崎), Suzaki, Shimoda, . A beautiful point of natural beauty with its jagged coastline, columnar joints from an ancient underwater volcanic eruption, the Tsumeki lighthouse, and Tsumeki Beach. edit
- Shirahama (白浜大浜海水浴場), Shirahama, Shimoda, ☎ 055-822-3913. This white sand beach (not to be confused with the town in Wakayama Prefecture) is four kilometers north-east of central Shimoda. Buses from Shimoda Station depart about twice per hour and the trip takes ten minutes. The beach has great sand, and when the waves are high enough it is a good place for surfing. edit
- Sotoura Beach (外浦海水浴場), ☎ 055-822-2211. A more peaceful beach in a secluded bay with blue transparant water makes this place a favorite of families with small kids. Also has free parking and people like it to go kayaking. edit
- Kujuppama Beach (九十浜海水浴場), Suzaki, Shimoda, . This tucked away 50m beach in a cove is known almost solely by the locals, and it can be hard to reach, but there is a nice swimming area with little tidal activity. Beach equipment rentals available and ¥300 paid shower area. edit
- The Kurofune Matsuri (Black Ship Festival) is held yearly on the third weekend of May. It is a celebration of the arrival of Commodore Perry, and features a parade and other festivities.
- Another festival is the Shimoda Taiko Matsuri (Drum Festival), celebrated August 14th and 15th. As the name suggests it features a lot of drumming, and dashi (Japanese festival floats).
The hot springs in this area make Shimoda an onsen town. Many of the hotels in the area have in-house bathing facilities, and there is even a small pool outside the railway station where you can dip your feet. Outside Shimoda there are some well-known onsen:
- Kanaya Onsen is situated in Rendaiji four kilometers from Shimoda (one train stop north of Shimoda). It is one of the best onsen on the Izu Peninsula, with the huge men's bath as a highlight. 055-822-0325 Admission ¥1000. The onsen is part of Kanaya Ryokan where you can spend the night for ¥7000 (¥15000 with meals).
- Gin-no-Yu, 10 minutes south of Shimoda, has an aloe bath on one side and a "new summer orange" bath on the other. The onsen alternates the men's and women's sections daily so that everyone can try both baths. Admission ¥1000.
Seafood is the specialty of Shimoda, and most restaurants serve locally caught fish. You can easily find a large number of small, family run restaurants close to Izukyu-Shimoda Station.
- Nankintei (南京亭), 2-11-26 Shimoda, ☎ 055-822-6334, . 5PM-2AM. Serves many Chinese dishes like ramen, gyoza, fried rice, etc. ¥900~. edit
- Ton'ebi (とんえび), 2-1-7 Higashihongo, Shimoda-shi, ☎ 055-823-0168. 11AM–2PM, 5–10PM, Closed Tue. A tonkatsu (deep fried cutlet) restaurant, serving shrimp, pork, crab, squid, and other foods. ¥1500~. edit
- Gorosaya, 1-5-25 Shimoda-shi, ☎ 058-23-5638. 11:30AM–2PM, 5–9PM Closed Thu. Good seafood and a bit more expensive, with dinners around ¥3000. ¥3000. edit
- Mimatsu (美松), 2-12-8 Shimoda, ☎ 058-22-0495, . 11AM–10PM. A luxury sushi bar; lunch averages ¥2000, dinner for ¥5000. ¥2000~. edit
- Tonkatsu Nishiki (とんかつ錦), 3-6-11 Shimoda (on the southeast corner of town, near the bust of Commodore Perry), ☎ 0558-27-1260, . A friendly restaurant. The menu includes several different variety of tonkatsu, deep fried pork cutlets. ¥2500. (34.672723,138.945446) edit
- Magic India, 1-1-7 Shimoda, ☎ 055-827-0376. 11AM–8PM Closed Wed. Indian restaurant with the usual items. Lunch menu, take out, and all you can eat/drink specials available. ¥1000~. edit
- Izushoin (いず松陰), 1-22-7 Shimoda (13 min walk from Izukyu-Shimoda Stn), ☎ 055-823-0020, . 11AM-2PM, 5PM-9PM. A a well-known hidden seafood restaurant in Shimoda where you can relax and enjoy your meal in a calm atmosphere. ¥2000~. edit
Nightlife isn't the main reason why anyone would visit Shimoda, but the town isn't completely dry.
- Cheshire Cat (チェシャーキャット), 1-3-11 Shimoda, ☎ 055-823-3239. 11AM-1AM. A jazz bar situated on the street My My-dori. Beers start at ¥500. ¥500. edit
- Soul Bar Tosaya (土佐屋), 3-14−30 Perry Road, Shimoda-shi, . Fri-Sat 7PM–12AM. Nice little bar on Perry Road. Relaxed atmosphere, soul music, many cocktails, beer starts at ¥500. Food and snacks on an English/Japanese menu. Offers internet to customers. edit
- Oizu Ryokan is a bargain at ¥3500 per person (meals not included), and perfect for anyone who wants to get the ryokan feeling without forking out a fortune. Phone 0558 22-0123. It's in the southern part of town, less than a kilometer from the station. Check-in time is 3PM.
- Pension Sakuraya, 2584-20 Shirahama Shimoda city (Shirahama distrct), ☎ 0558-23-4470, . checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 10:00 AM. Pension Sakuraya is on a hill, 4 minutes walk from Shirahama beach. There are Japanese style rooms and Western style rooms, and some of them have a sea view. Price per person per night ¥5,300 or more without meals for off peak season. There are prices for Peak season. Dinner: ¥2,500 & Breakfast: ¥600 Phone:0558-23-4470 eMail: [email protected] Check-in 3PM Check-out 10AM. Price per person \5,300~ without meals. edit
- Pension Shimoda (ペンション下田), 静岡県下田市五丁目１１−４ (south of town, between the aquarium and Tatadohama beach), ☎ 0558-22-8253. checkin: noon; checkout: 10AM. A typical Minshuku in an old home with several guest rooms. Each room has tatami and futon, and some rooms have a private toilet and TV. Japanese language skills may be necessary to book a room. ¥3,500. (34.667599,138.936241) edit
- Irita-hama sanso(IZU015) is a cottage for 6 to 35 party.Properties are on the hill,so each cottage offers a uniquely spectacular the Pacific Ocean view.This cottage is equipped kitchen,self catering.You can also enjoy BBQ with this breathtaking view.And more,there are many food dining(Soba/Udon/cafeteria)within walking distance. The nearest beach is Irita-hama beach, 7mins on foot.Reservation center Phone 03-3666-0068. Off-peak season from ¥5700 or more per person, peak season from ¥7700 or more.
- Kokumin-shukusha New Shimoda, phone 0058 23-0222, includes two meals in the price of ¥7000 per person. Check-in at 3PM.
- Station Hotel Shimoda (下田ステーションホテル), 1-1-3 Nishihongo, Shimoda-shi (Next to the train station), ☎ 055-822-8885, . checkin: 16; checkout: 10. Ideally located, clean and decent business hotel. ¥5800~. edit
- Hotel Uraga is another option catering to business travelers. Singles ¥7000, doubles ¥9800. Phone 055-823-6600, check-in time 3PM.
- Izu Beach Clubis an apartment hotel. There are twin or double room. No meals are included, but there is a working kitchen. And also you can taste Shimoada's local seafood 5 minuites walk. Nearest beach Iritahama is famous for white sand beach and clear water. 5 minutes walk to the beach. Off-peak season ¥6200 per person (double room), Peak-season ¥12,200 per person (twin room). Reservation center 03-3666-0068.
- Kurofone Hotel is a 15-minute walk east from the station, along route 135. It offers a choice of Western-style or Japanese-style rooms. Price per person with meals ¥20,000, without meals ¥10,000. Phone 058 22-1234. Check-in from 3PM.
- Rendaiji-sou, 静岡県下田市蓮台寺305, ☎ 055-822-3501, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 10AM. A little dated but serene and quaint traditional Japanese ryokan with several hot spring baths (including a couple of private ones) located one station north of Shimoda town. Taxi fare from Shimoda station is about ¥1300. Price per person with meals around ¥20,000 for two; without meals from ¥9000. Very little English spoken, so bring a friend. edit
For the latest info on events and sights, contact the Shimoda Tourist Association (下田観光協会).
- Atami - Seaside hot spring resort a short hop from Tokyo.
- Ito - An active city on the east coast, with hot springs, museums, beaches, Mt. Omuro and the rugged Jogasaki Coast.
- Izu - Home of famous hot springs of Shuzenji that is nicknamed "Little Kyoto of the Izu Peninsula", and that has many tasteful ryokan inns with Japanese gardens.
- Izunokuni - Home of Izu-Nagaoka hot springs and many historical spots in former Nirayama town (that has been merged into Izunokuni City).
- Mishima - It is nicknamed city of water in Japan with fountain of meltwater from Mt. Fuji. It is also famous for its Mishima Taisha shrine.
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