Shimoda is a city and beach destination located on the Izu Peninsula. Much of it reminds tourists of “old” Japan and it certainly does not have that Tokyo feel to it. From beaches to historical monuments to local’s favorite spots, here are the top fifteen things we recommend you do when visiting Shimoda.
1. Mount Nesugatayama Observatory
The #1 landmark to see in Shimoda, as per TripAdvisor, is Mount Nesugatayama Observatory. Here, you will learn much about the history of Shimoda and the ropeway will get a fascinating view of the Pacific at the same time. Summer is best when the flowers blossom.
- Name: Mount Nesugatayama Observatory.
- Address: 1-3-2 Higashihongo, Shimoda 415-0035,Shizuoka Prefecture
- Access: 5-minute walk from Izukyu-Shimoda train stop
- Website: http://www.ropeway.co.jp/#_=_
2. Perry Road
Enjoy another walk when you go down Perry Road. It is a quiet street which will provide you with the “real” feel of Shimoda and its residents. It is the beginning of a walk that will take you through three different neighborhoods actually. Many temples are on this road as well as other attractions.
- Name: Perry Road
- Address: Sanchome, Shimoda 415-0023, Shizuoka Prefecture
- Website: http://shizuoka.mytabi.net/izu/archives/perry-road.php#_=_
3. Tadadohama Beach
Shimoda has some of the best beaches in Japan which are much nicer than those up north. At Tadadohama Beach is where you will find white sand and a great surf. The water looks pristine, you can rent beach accessories, and eat at the local shop. It is great for photos, couples, and families.
- Name: Tadadohama Beach
- Address: 47 Kisami, Shimoda-shi, Shizuoka-ken 415-0028
- Website: http://shimoda100.com/beach/tatado/#_=_
4. Hōfuku-ji Temple
One of the first historical sites you should visit in Shimoda is Hofuku-ji Temple. This is a Buddhist temple you will find which has a large bronze statue inside. The best part is that this temple is a symbol of good luck, so do enter!
- Name: Hofuku-ji Temple
- Address: 1968 Ijirino, Soja, Okayama Prefecture 719-1154
- Price: Free
- Access: 5-minute walk from Shimoda station
- Website: http://www.i-younet.ne.jp/~hofukuji/home.html#_=_
Our second temple we highly recommend is Ryōsen-ji. Although it is another Buddhist temple, this one has a different significance. It is the site where a famous treaty was signed. There is a museum inside this temple which highlights the story behind this as well as black sails.
- Name: Ryōsen-ji
- Address: Shichigen-chō 3-chōme, Shimoda-shi, Shizuoka
- Price: Free
- Website: http://www.izu.co.jp/~ryosenji/
6. Shimoda Aquarium
Being so close to the ocean also proves true that Shimoda has a great aquarium for everyone to experience! View the large tanks which hold tropical fish, penguins, and more. As we do not want to give it all away, you will have to go and see the animals for yourself.
- Name: Shimoda Aquarium
- Address: ３-22-31, Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture 415-0023
- Price: 2,000 yen for adults. 1,000 for children under 12
- Access: 5 minutes from Shimoda train station
- Hours: 9am-4:30pm
- Website: http://izu-sakuraya.jp/english/travelinfo/aquarium/
7. Ryugu Park
If you have ever wanted to visit a collapsed sea cave, you will find that at Ryugu Park. The sea water fills the cave as you view it from the top. You can only get here by car or bike, so do ask the locals how is best to arrive. The walk at the end of the cave is worth it. Mother Nature shows its beauty here.
- Name: Ryugu Park
- Address: Japan, 〒415-0029 Shizuoka Prefecture, Shimoda
- Access: By car or bike only.
- Website: http://izugeopark.org/en/maps/area-shimoda/kisami_touji/sim0603/
8. Black Ship Art Gallery
To view a rather interesting place for history, head to the Black Ship Art Gallery. Here, you can view artifacts from the Black Ships and another history of the neighborhood as viewed by the Japanese and foreigners. It offers quite an interesting way of story telling of the past.
- Name: Black Ship Art Gallery
- Address: 3-12-12 Shimoda
- Price: 500 yen for adults, 150 yen for children
- Hours: 9am-5pm
- Website: https://www.wanderant.com/#/items/88103-black-ship-art-gallery/overview
9. Shirahama Beach
One of the busiest beaches in Shimoda is Shirahama Beach. If you are looking to socialize, people watch, and party, head here. There are many vendors, bars, and food options. People flock here as it is a guaranteed good time.
- Name: Shirahama Beach
- Address: Shirahama, Nishimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture 649-2211
- Website: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6304.html
10. Shimoda Kōen & Wakanoura Promenade Park
One of the sights off of Perry Road includes the Shimoda Kōen & Wakanoura Promenade Park. This is nestled above a bay which offers a great view. Relax by the hydrangeas which bloom in the summer and have yourself a picnic. Nearby, you can combine your day with other attractions of Perry Road.
- Name: Shimoda Kōen & Wakanoura Promenade Park
- Address: Perry Road, Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture
11. Tsumekizaki Park
One of the bigger parks to visit in Shimoda is Tsumekizaki Park on the coast. It is a great spot to watch the sunset. More of a romantic spot for one who wants to go solo, this is less busy than Shimoda Kōen & Wakanoura Promenade Park. The best feature besides the sunsets is the lighthouse.
- Name: Tsumekizaki Park
- Address: Shimoda 415-0014, Shizuoka Prefecture
- Website: http://shizuoka.mytabi.net/izu/archives/tsumekizaki.php#_=_
12. Perry’s Landing
The history of Perry and his Black Sails continues when you visit Perry’s Landing. This is the spot where Matthew C. Perry met to commemorate his landing onto this spot in the 1800’s. The monument is of his face in an open area for viewing.
- Name: Perry’s Landing
- Address: 3-6, Shimoda 415-0023, Shizuoka Prefecture
- Website: http://www.shimoda30.jp/spot/city/post-52.html#_=_
13. Ogasaki Wing Lookouts
Head to the Ogasaki Wing Lookouts for exactly what it is – a lookout onto the sea and the surrounding lands. This is a great observation spot if you enjoy nature and wide angle shots. You can even see the highway from here.
- Name: Ogasaki Wing Lookouts
- Address: 3346-4 Shirahama, Shimoda 415-0012,Shizuoka Prefecture
- Website: http://www.city.shimoda.shizuoka.jp/site/shimoda/html/category/110000Shisetsu_Annai/715.html#_=_
14. Shirahama Jinja Shrine
A visit to Shimoda would not be complete without seeing the Shirahama Jinja Shrine. It is located near the eastern coast of Shimoda. Pass the Torii Gate to enter, and be conscious of the rules when you enter this sacred site.
- Name: Shirahama Jinja Shrine
- Address: 2740 Shirahama, Shimoda 415-0012,Shizuoka Prefecture
- Website: http://www.ikonahime.com/#_=_
15. Uehara Museum of Art
If you still want to see more or want a break from the beach and Perry Road, go to the Uehara Museum of Art. This museum specifically holds Buddhist art and showcases different exhibitions throughout the year along with special events.
- Name: Uehara Museum of Art
- Address: 341 Udogane, Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture
- Price: 800 yen
- Hours: 9am-5pm
- Website: http://www.uehara-museum.or.jp/index.html
As you see, Shimoda is one of the best neighborhoods in Japan to visit if you want to mix history with ocean life. It is very easy to get comfortable here and become one with this coastal community.
Have a good trip and travel!