Famous Hot Springs in Japan: Shimoda Onsen (Shizuoka Prefecture)
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Shimoda Onsen is located in the city of Shimoda that is at the southern tip of the Izu peninsula. Shimoda Onsen refers to a group of onsen that are scattered throughout the city. For example, Rendai-ji Onsen, Kawachi Onsen, Shirahama Onsen are simple hot springs, whereas Kannon Onsen is a strong alkaline hot spring. Since there are many more hot spring sources like Shirahama, Aitama and Taushi in the city, you can enjoy various kinds of hot springs in Shimoda.
Among the many hot spring sources in Shimoda Onsen, Rendai-ji Onsen was the first one to open 1,300 years ago. Some hotels even have their own hot spring source, and some draw from remote sources; each source has a history of its own. In 1853, the port town of Shimoda attracted attention when Commodore Perry came to Japan from the U.S. to conclude the Japan-U.S. Treaty of Peace and Amity. Japan had closed its doors to foreign countries for 215 years until then.
The types of the hot spring sources in Shimoda Onsen are: simple hot spring, strong alkaline simple hot spring, and simple alkaline hot spring that are effective for neuralgia. Shimoda has one of the most beautiful shorelines in Japan. Many of the hotels and ryokan (Japanese-style inn) have outdoor, open-air baths overlooking the ocean. Many are available for day use without an overnight stay required.
1. Admiring the view of the bay from Mt. Nesugata near the station!
Once you reach Izukyu-Shimoda Station, walk for a minute toward the Ropeway station and head to Mount Nesugata. From the top, you can get a spectacular view of Shimoda Bay unfold in front of your eyes.
Address：1-3-2 Higashi Hongo, Shimoda, Shizuoka （静岡県下田市東本郷1-3-2）
Holidays：Open all year round
2. Relaxing in an ocean view foot bath.
A 10-min walk from Izukyu Shimoda station. Take a break in a foot bath at “Madogahama Kaiyu-Koen” overlooking the ocean.
Kaiyu no Ashiyu, Shimoda Onsen （下田温泉 海遊の足湯）
Address：Madogahama Kaiyu-Koen, Sotogaoka, Shimoda, Shizuoka（静岡県下田市外ヶ岡 まどが浜海遊公園内）
Opening Hours：Open 24 hours
3. Cruising around Shimoda Port on a black excursion ship “Susquehanna”!
Enjoy a cruise on a replica ship of “Susquehanna,” which was the U.S. Navy ship that sailed in to the bay demanding that Japan open its doors to the world. The name “Kurofune,” or black ship, was given because of the black body of the vessel.
Sotogaoka Pier, Shimoda, Shizuoka （下田港外ヶ岡桟橋）
Address：19 Sotogaoka, Shimoda, Shizuoka（静岡県下田市外ヶ岡19）
4. Try Shimoda’s famous kinmedai burger (red snapper)
It’s near the boarding platform of Susquehanna. Take a bite of the “Shimoda burger” made with a giant fried kinmedai at a cafe inside Michi no Eki – Kaikoku Shimoda Minato. The juicy white meat of kinmedai is very tasty!
「CAFE & HAMBURGER Ra-Maru」（カフェアンドハンバーガー ラーマル）
Address：Michi no Eki – Kaikoku Shimoda Minato, 1-1 Sotogaoka, Shimoda, Shizuoka （静岡県下田市外ヶ岡1-1 道の駅開国下田みなと内）
Opening Hours：10:00—17:00 (Last Order 16:30)
5. Strolling on Perry Road
Old buildings from the 1860s stand in a row on Perry Road. Taking a walk on this street will make you feel like you are strolling through old Japan.
This street is full of fancy cafes and antique shops, a perfect place to take a break.
6. Paying a visit to Ryosen-ji
Ryosen-ji is the temple where the first trade treaty between Japan and the U.S. was signed, opening up Japan to the world. The temple is filled with fragrant American jasmine in May.
Address：3-12-12 Shimoda, Shizuoka（静岡県下田市三丁目12-12）
7. Shimoda Kaichu Aquarium
The aquarium utilizes Shimoda Bay’s inlet and coexists with the natural surroundings. One of the most popular attractions is playing with dolphins in the bay. It will be a wonderful memory of Shimoda.
Shimoda Kaichu Aquarium （下田海中水族館）
Address：3-22-31, Shimoda, Shizuoka（静岡県下田市3-22-31）
Shimoda Kurofune Hotel
This hotel has a heated, indoor swimming pool with a retractable dome roof suited for any weather. Relax and enjoy the view of Port Shimoda. The ship Susquehanna sails off in front of the hotel. The hotel is conveniently situated for sightseeing.
Shimoda View Hotel
The city of Shimoda has one of the most beautiful coasts in Japan. The view of the sea from the outdoor, open-air hot spring is breathtaking.
Shimoda View Hotel （下田ビューホテル）
Address：633 Kakisaki, Shimoda, Shizuoka（静岡県下田市 柿崎633）
Although June falls in Japan’s rainy season called “tsuyu,” it is the best season to visit Shimoda, as the city is filled with hydrangeas. “Ajisai Matsuri” (Hydrangea Festival) is held in Shimoda-Koen (park) from June 1st through 30th. The view of the ocean in the background with the beautiful hydrangea is spectacular.
Most of the nine beaches in Shimoda hold the highest standard “AA” water quality. They are as clear as the beaches of the Okinawa islands. Whether swimming in the ocean in the summer (July and August), or strolling on the beach in other seasons, you don’t want to miss the beautiful shore of Shimoda.
Take Izu Kyuko “Super View Odoriko” or “Odoriko” from Tokyo Station and get off at Izukyu-Shimoda Station.
Shimoda Onsen （下田温泉）
Address：1-1 Sotogaoka, Shimoda, Shizuoka （静岡県下田市外ヶ岡1-1）
Phone Number：+81-558-1531 (Shimoda Tourist Association)
Required Time: Half a day
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