A beach lover's paradise a stone's throw from Tokyo
Located at the tip of the Izu Peninsula, Shimoda offers travelers a seaside getaway a few hours by Shinkansen from Tokyo.
Spending a few days in Shimoda is a bit of a taste of history . The city is indeed one of the three ports open to foreigners after more than 200 years of Japanese isolationism. After the signing of the Kanagawa Convention, signed at the instigation of Matthew Perry in 1854, which notably ratified peace and Sino-American friendship, the political regime in place began to waver. The shoguns gradually lost ground to the emperor, who regained control of the country during the Meiji Restoration in 1868.
Meet the History
Several temples and museums look back on this historic episode, notably the Ryosenji Museum , whose building hosted the meeting between Matthew Perry and the Japanese representatives which resulted in the drafting of the peace treaty and which marked the opening of Japan to foreigners.
The Shimoda History Museum also documents very well the evolution of the city, in particular through models and a large database of photographs. Just like the Gyokusen temple which hosted the American consulate in Japan for three years. It was also the residence of Commodore Perry's men.
Finally, the Perry Road , a remnant of the Commodore's presence in the city, runs along the Hiraname River. Lined with traditional houses and weeping willows , it offers visitors a little bubble of calm, transporting them instantly back 150 years.
To go further: History of Japan
But Shimoda is not only a city dedicated to history lovers. Because it is also on the outskirts of this city that some of the most beautiful beaches in Japan are found. That of Iritahama is even considered THE most beautiful. And this, only a few hundred kilometers from Tokyo .
For those looking for a bit of calm and a rather family atmosphere, it is on the beach of Tadahoma that you will have to go and put down your towel. While surfing and pop music lovers will find their happiness on the fine sand of Shirahama beach .
See also: Japan on the beach(s)
A green nature
Another point of interest is Shimoda Park , which is a must for all those who love nature, but also beautiful panoramas. Located on top of a hill adjoining downtown Shimoda, the park is home to many varieties of flowers including hydrangeas which bloom throughout June. The end of the park offers stunning views of the city and Cape Suzaki. Every year, on the 3rd Saturday of May, the Black Boat Festival called Korofune Matsuri is organized in this park, which commemorates the opening of the country to foreigners.
Mount Nesugata also offers an interesting panorama of Shimoda Bay and the Izu Islands. The bravest will undertake its ascent on foot, while the others can take a cable car. At the top, is nestled a temple in honor of Ragaraja, divinity of the passions.
Finally, for those who like to discover their destination through literature, the city of Shimoda holds a good place in the book “The Izu Dancer” by Yasunari Kawanata, Nobel Prize for Literature .
Address, timetable & access
TimetableShmoda Station (Izukyu Line)