SHIMODA AND MINAMI IZU
At the Southern tip of the Izu Peninsula is the historic beach town of Shimoda which is a gateway to explore the neighboring Minami Izu area.
AN IDYLLIC BEACH TOWN WITH A FASCINATING HISTORY
WHITE SAND BEACHES, WATER SPORTS, PERRY ROAD
Take a scenic train ride down the East Coast of Izu Peninsula and you will come to the idyllic coastal town of Shimoda.
Shimoda is perhaps most famous as the first landing spot of Commodore Perry’s “Black Ships”.
The Shimoda Treaty signed in 1854 between the US and Japan effectively ended 250 years of Japanese isolation and began the Meiji Restoration.
Today there are many remnants in the town of this period of Japanese history to provide visitors a glimpse of life in the town 170 years ago.
Perry Road is perhaps the centerpiece of the town – an Instagram-worthy willow tree-lined cobbled street that follows a small canal with stone bridges connecting to a number of cafes and other shops.
WHITE SAND BEACHES – SURFING, SNORKELING & MORE
If you enjoy sitting on the beach or prefer to get in the water there is plenty to do in and around Shimoda.
White sand beaches such as Shirahama and Iritahama are popular in the summer with sun-seekers looking to escape the city and year-round for surfers when the swell is up.
The nearby Suzaki Peninsula is a popular coastal hiking spot – check the Suzaki Walking Trail – and the area also boasts a number of sea kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, and fishing operators that provide tours.
COASTLINE AND OCEAN WAITING TO BE EXPLORED
RUGGED COASTLINE, FISHING VILLAGES & MONKEYS
Although it is possible to get to Minami Izu in just 3.5 hours from Tokyo Minami Izu feels like a million miles away.
The Southern Coastline of Izu Peninsula provides visitors with an endless supply of adventures and activities to help you explore the area but also provides the kind of seclusion that is hard fought for these days.
Another great spot to check out is the Monkey Bay – a stretch of rocky coast that is home to more than 300 Japanese monkeys.
It should be noted that travel in this part of Izu can be challenging especially if you do not have a car – buses are infrequent so timing is important and also there are not many restaurants, cafes, or convenience stores in the area.
This, in many ways, adds to the charm of the area and is the reason many people travel to Minami Izu but visitors should plan ahead and be prepared.
The train journey to Shimoda follows the East Coast of Izu and offers spectacular views of the coastline on the way down.
If you buy an Izu Dream Pass at Ito Station (just South of Atami Station) you will have 3 days to travel down to Shimoda.
With the Izu Dream Pass you have the option to travel by bus to Minami Izu and up the West Coast of Izu to catch the Suruga Ferry to Shizuoka Station – a great diversion trip for JR Rail pass holders traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto.
For traveling to Minami Izu picking up a rental car in Shimoda to travel around is highly recommended – this gives visitors more opportunities to get off the beaten track.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
As the Southern part of Izu is sub-tropical the winters in this area are much shorter than in the rest of Japan.
Although not as famous as nearby Kawazu, Minami Izu is also famous for cherry blossoms starting to bloom in February and it is a great way to escape the coldest month of the year in many other parts of Japan.
The weather starts to warm in mid-April and although the sea is still a little cold it is a great place to be to enjoy an early Spring.
Rainy Season starts mid-June at which time the weather is very changeable but it is also the time that the hydrangea is at their peak and the Shimoda hydrangea festival is worth a visit.
The Summer season from July through to late September is when this area is at its best if you like the beach and ocean – long hot days with many people out enjoying themselves.