Shimoda (下田) is a pleasant coastal city in the south of the Izu Peninsula. It has historical importance as the landing place of several of Commodore Perry's "black ships" in 1854, an event which marked the end of Japan's era of isolation and the start of diplomatic relations between the US and Japan. Shimoda is a popular spot for tourists who want to do marine sports, go to beaches and hot springs.
There are various sites and monuments in the town of Shimoda related to Commodore Perry's arrival. Visitors can see commemorative monuments in Shimoda Park and around the city, walk along the picturesque Perry Street, and visit Ryosenji Temple where various Perry related articles are exhibited. There is also a black ship sightseeing cruise that goes around Shimoda Port. The Kurofune Matsuri (Black Ship Festival) is held in the city in mid May every year.
Shimoda Park covers a forested hill about a 20 minute walk from Izukyu-Shimoda Station. The park is known for its hydrangeas, which flower in June, and is also the site of a Monument to the Opening of US-Japan Diplomatic Relations which was built in the park in 1957.
One of the Izu Peninsula's most famous and popular sand beaches for sunbathing and surfing. The official swimming season starts in mid July and lasts through August, but the swimming conditions tend to remain pleasant into September.
How to get to Shimoda
Shimoda is directly connected to Tokyo by JR limited express Odoriko trains (around 2.5 hours, 6500 yen one way, hourly departures). Alternatively, take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Atami and transfer to the limited express Odoriko or a local train (requires a transfer at Ito to the Izukyu Railway) and get off at Izukyu-Shimoda Station, the terminal station of the Izukyu Railway. The trip takes about 2 hours and costs around 7000 yen one way if using the limited express, or about 2.5 hours, 6000 yen one way when using local trains.
Most of the sites are within a 20-30 minute walk of Izukyu-Shimoda Station. Alternatively, buses connect most of the sites to the station. For those planning to travel around the southern Izu Peninsula, Tokai Bus offers a 2-day Minami Izu Free Pass for 2790 yen. This pass covers the area between Izukyu-Shimoda Station and Dogashima and can be useful for those intending to visit multiple sites in the region.