Shimoda Japan – The Izu Peninsula is one of the most popular weekend getaways from Tokyo. Located southwest of the main city, it is only a relatively short train ride away from the hustle and bustle of Japan’s capital.
Across the entire peninsula, you can expect to witness stunning coastlines lined with beaches and jagged rock formations, and mountain peaks and troughs in the near distance wherever you go.
In particular at Shimoda, you can also engage in the interesting experience of learning about a significant and integral part of Japanese modern history.
Shimoda is arguably one of the most popular resort towns located along the peninsula. It’s characterised by its easy-going atmosphere all-year-round, popular beaches that are perfect for splashing and surfing in summer, and simply being a relaxing getaway for you and your loved ones.
How To Get To Shimoda
Shimoda is directly connected to Tokyo via an express train. From Tokyo, simply hop on the JR limited express Odoriko train and you’ll be there in 2.5 hours. It will cost 6,000 yen one way.
If you are coming from neighbouring towns such as Ito or Atami, it is even quicker!
From Ito, we recommend using the Izukyu Line Pass. There are three versions of this pass: 1 day, 2 days, and 3 days. This pass will allow you to travel around the Izu Peninsula between Ito Station and Izukyu-Shimoda Station on one affordable ticket. There are multiple attractions in between the two stops which makes this ticket a fantastic option for those wanting to make the most of their Izu trip. Find out more here.
From Atami, take the limited express train via Izu Kyuyo Line to Izukyo-Shimoda Station. This trip will take roughly 1.5 hours.
Where To Stay In Shimoda
The old-school aesthetics of this recently renovated ryokan is one in a million. On the outside, it doesn’t quite match what you would expect of a ryokan, but the atmosphere inside is as nostalgic as it can get.
The rooms are generously sized, the location is central, and the staff members go all out to ensure your stay is as comfortable as possible.
If you’re looking for an affordable yet stylish, and clean and modern yet aesthetic ryokan option, this is the one. It’s only a few minutes’ walk from the station, a few minutes’ drive to multiple beaches, and sits alongside a bunch of shops and markets – it’s pretty much perfect.
Book It Now: Ogawa Ryokan
Ryokan Shimoda Yamatokan
As one of the top picks in Shimoda, you can’t expect any less than world-class amenities, service and style here – and that’s exactly what you get.
Shimoda Yamatokan ryokan sits overlooking the stunning Sagami-nada Sea, and during summer you get a perfect view of the people passing by and surfers. The Marble Lounge is the perfect place to people-watch, providing epic sea views, coffee, and drinks.
All guest rooms have tatami mat flooring and floor to ceiling winters to take in the view. You can choose to book rooms that have their own private onsen baths, or make use of the communal ones. In summer, there’s even a pool for you to dip in!
Book It Now: Shimoda Yamatokan
The 8 Best Things To Do In Shimoda
1. Ryosenji Temple
To be frank, Ryosenji Temple is not one of the grandest or the most aesthetic temples you’ll come across in Japan. However, the history and significance of this temple extends far beyond what you can imagine!
It was here in the late 1800s that the famous Harris Treaty was signed. This treaty ultimately ended Japan’s centuries-old isolation from the West and opened it up to international trade, forever altering the course of Japan’s history.
The temple grounds themselves have been designated as a National Historic Site by the Japanese government. When you walk inside, you will be able to examine the temple displays which showcase multiple artifacts from that period.
- Address: 12-12 Sanchome, Shimoda, Shizuoka 415-0023, Japan
- Access: It is a 10-minute walk from Izukyu-Shimoda station (through Perry Road).
2. Perry Road
Named after Commodore Matthew Perry, who was the commander of the Black Ships that fatefully sailed into Japanese shores, this road is a must-see! It’s a fantastic photo spot with its beautiful weeping ground trees located all along the canal.
On both sides of the road, you will find super cute cafes and restaurants so make sure to make a good lunch / coffee break in one of them.
Address: 14 Sanchome, Shimoda, Shizuoka 415-0023, Japan
3. Perry Monument
The Perry Monument is one of the few monuments in the town related to Commodore Perry’s arrival on Japanese land, and sits overlooking the Inouzawa River. It was established to commemorate the landing of the Black Ships by Commodore Perry. There is a plaque which details some information in English for visitors to read.
Many visitors to Shimoda like to walk around and take photos with this monument. Because it is surrounded by water and mountains, it provides a great photo opportunity.
Address: 6-6 Sanchome, Shimoda, Shizuoka 415-0023, Japan
4. Shimoda Park
Shimoda park was my favorite place in the city!
The forested paths in Shimoda Park are a big draw for those looking to add some greenery to their itinerary. Located only a 20-minute walk from Izukyu-Shimoda Station, the park is a wonderful escape from the museums and shops.
There are paths that you can walk up and get sweeping views of the town and waters. During the summer season, the park blooms with gorgeous hydrangeas and makes for a wonderful place for photos. This is probably the busiest time of the year here.
- Address: 3-1174 Sanchome, Shimoda, Shizuoka 415-0023, Japan
- Access: 20-minute walk from Izukyu-Shimoda Station.
6. Inubashiri Island
Inubashiri Island is a small island connected to Shimoda via a super long embankment.
The island however, is not the main attraction. Instead, it is along the long path that connects the two that people usually visit for. This embankment is actually one of the most popular fishing spots around here!
On any given day, you will see a handful (or more) of people set up with their fishing rods, hoping to catch the next big fish that comes along.
- Address: 18 Sanchōme, Shizuoka 415-0023, Japan
- Access: From Izukyu-Shimoda Station, it is a 20-minute walk.
6. Mount Nesugata & Shimoda Ropeway
For panoramic views of this beautiful little coastal city, there’s no better place than Mount Nesugata. To access the top of the mountain, you will need to catch the Shimoda Ropeway up. This ropeway is located only a short walk away from the station.
At the top of Mount Nesugata, you can take in sweeping, uninterrupted views of the city below. In springtime, this is especially gorgeous as you will be able to witness cherry blossom trees in full bloom as well!
The summit of the mountain showcases a nature park that boasts seasonal blooms, a pavilion, and even displays of 19th century cannons aimed at where Commodore Perry’s ships once sailed in!
- Address: Naka, Shimoda, Shizuoka 415-0016, Japan
- Access: it is a 2-minute walk from Izukyu-Shimoda station.
- Cost (ropeway): Adult: 1,050 yen, Child: 520 yen
- Hours (ropeway): 8:45am – 5:00pm
7. Shirahama Beach – Shimoda’s Most Popular Beach
Ahh, Shimoda’s most famous beach. And for what reason, do you ask?
Think pure white sand, crystal clear waters, perfect water conditions for surfing and swimming, and a central location. That’s what Shirahama Beach offers.
The pristine beach stretches across 800m and is located along the Izu Peninsula. During summer, the nearby hotels, inns and ryokans are brimming with visitors looking to escape the city heat at this mild perfect-condition beach.
It’s literally one of the top three destinations in all of Izu!
- Address: Shirahama, Shimoda, Shizuoka 415-0012, Japan
- Access: From Izukyu-Shimoda Station, take a bus bound for Itadoichiki and alight at Shirahama Kaigan, which will take roughly 10-minutes.
8. Shirahama Shrine
Shirahama Shrine is noted as being the oldest shrine in all of the Izu area. Its unique aspect is that it is home to a vermillion red torii gate which sits on top of a huge boulder in the sea. As you can imagine, with the waves crashing in the background and being surrounded by the endless ocean, this is quite an aesthetic site!
The main site of the shrine is located further inland. For many visitors it is believed that praying here will bring blessings for success in business, good relationships, and road safety.
- Address: Shirahama, Shimoda, Shizuoka 415-0012, Japan
- Access: From Izukyu-Shimoda Station, take the S31 bus to Shirahama Shrine bus stop. The trip will cost 370 yen one-way.
Shimoda has a way of making you forget about the huge crowds and the often-draining hustle and bustle of the big city. This quaint seaside city of fun, sun, and surf is one of the most chill and easiest day/weekend trips you can organise!
Discover this other side of Japan that’s rich in grounded history, Mother Nature, beautiful scenery, and unique landmarks.