Izu Shimoda Onsen: feel the winds from foreign lands at this hot spring port town
Shimoda City in Shizuoka Prefecture, at the southern tip of the Izu Peninsula. Emerging from the ticket gate of Izukyu-Shimoda Station, you are greeted by the model of the great black ship Susquehanna which, at the end of the Tokugawa shogunate (1854), led the American fleet under Admiral Perry’s command to Shimoda Port. In this hot spring port town you can still feel the historic winds of change that opened the country.
In Shimoda City, five hot springs gush forth to make up Izu Shimoda Onsen: Rendaiji Onsen, Kawachi Onsen, Shirahama Onsen, Kannon Onsen, and Aitama Onsen. Although Kannon is a strong alkaline spring, the others are simple springs, a type known to alleviate nerve and joint pain. These prolific springs have been loved by locals since ancient times.
For a nice stroll through Shimoda, head to Perry Road just a 15-minute walk from Izukyu-Shimoda Station. Along the river, willow trees sway over cobblestone paths where retro style cafes and shops have taken over old warehouses and merchant residences. Many foot and hand baths can be used free of charge throughout the town, including the Kaikoku no Yu in front of Izukyu-Shimoda Station convenient for a first quick dip after arriving or a last one before boarding your train. At the Kaiyu Footbath in Madogahama Seaside Park, kick back and chill while gazing at the sea.
Shimoda’s warm climate makes it a popular resort destination all year round with nine white sand beaches bursting with energy in the summer, attracting throngs of people for swimming and marine sports. After frolicking in the ocean, many shake the ocean chill and warm up in hot springs before heading home.
No visit to Shimoda is complete without a taste of the seafood cuisine. Boasting the largest catch in the nation, the Kinmedai (red bream) is a must for your meal. Commonly enjoyed either boiled or as sashimi, croquettes are also popular for a snack during your stroll.
Although Izu Shimoda Onsen lacks public hot spring baths, a day trip to a ryokan inn or hotel is a great choice. Many offer open-air baths with ocean views to luxuriate in healing waters with a stellar sea view. An ideal hot spring area for a leisurely stroll through a historic cityscape spanning a beautiful beach bursting with life.
The hand bath in front of the station
MoBS The Museum of Black Ship where you can learn about the history of Shimoda’s opening
Tokyo Sta. -> 170 min by limited express Odoriko -> Izukyu-Shimoda Sta.
Shimoda Tourist Association
*The information herein is as of April 2021.