Activity packed family beach day destination SHIMODA | SHIZUOKA

I am currently researching places to bring the kids for a short holiday during the summer. During my research I keep coming across places of interest in Shimoda in Minami-Izu. There is a great selection of outdoor seasonal activities in the area, some of which are outlined below. Shimoda is a coastal area in the popular area of Izu, specifically south Izu. Apart from all the seaside activities, some of which are listed below, the area has a lot to offer on shore as well.  It takes about 3 hours from Tokyo, which is a bit further than most would travel for a daytrip, but it can be done. There are day tour and bus trips you can take from Tokyo and Saitama. We have travelled to the area ourselves before and I would personally recommend it as a short trip or overnight stay.

Currently, June 2016, hydrangeas are in bloom and there is a hydrangea festival in Shimoda Park until June 30th. More information on Shimoda Park in the Activity section below.

Each place is pin-pointed on a Google My Map, if you click on an icon it will show you more information, including a URL to the official website.

 

Beaches

Most of the beaches in Shimoda have been awarded the highest grade of water quality by the Ministry of Environment’s 4 grade water cleanliness ranking system. Like all beaches in Japan, there is an official period that these beaches are “open”. You can use the beach outside of season, but there are no lifeguards or facilities available.

A selection of beaches in the area (this is not the full list):

Shirahama Oohama Beach

From the official website

800 metres long, about 100 metres wide.

SEASON: July 1st to August 31st.

LIFEGUARDS: 4 lifeguard towers.

FACILITIES: 2 toilets, 2 showers. Beach umbrellas, sun beds, floats and other things are available for rent from the Tourist association shop on the beach. There are some shops and restaurants along the promenade.

PARKING: 400 spaces, prices vary between each parking area.

Kujyuuhama Beach

From the official website

Very picturesque beach with clear blue sea. Only 50 metres long and 40 metres wide.

SEASON: July 16th to August 21st.

LIFEGUARDS: On duty from 8am to 4pm.

FACILITIES: 3 coin showers. Beach umbrellas, sun beds, floats and others available for rent.

PARKING: 135 spaces, charges apply during beach season. Free from August 31st.

 

Nabetahama Beach

From the official website

Another picturesque beach, the closest to Shimoda city area.  130 metres long, 50 metres wide.

SEASON: July 16th to August 21st.

LIFEGUARDS: On duty from 9am to 4pm.

FACILITIES: 1 shower and 1 unisex toilet.

PARKING: None. 20 minute walk from Shimoda Station.

 

Touji Beach

Near a lot of pensions. Rarely crowded. 410 metres long, 50 metres wide.

SEASON: July 18th to August 31st.

LIFEGUARDS: On duty from 8.30am to 4pm.

FACILITIES: 2 unisex toilets. No other facilities, but near a park and sand ski school (see below).

PARKING: 120 spaces, charged.

 

Yumigahama Beach

Official address is in the neighbouring town of Minami-Izu. 1.2 kilometre arched beach. Popular  water park on the sea in the cove.

SEASON: July 9th to August 31st.

LIFEGUARDS: 1 lifeguard tower.

FACILITIES: 4 toilets, no showers. Between 3 and 5 beach huts. Splash Water park with athletic play equipment on the sea for children over 6 years old, see more details in the Activities section below.

PARKING:  300 spaces, charges apply.

 

Tatadohama Beach

Please see “BEACH YOGA” listed below in “Activities”

 

Dolphin Beach

Dolphin beach is part of Shimoda’s Sea Aquarium. Please see below for details.

 

Activities

Below is a small sample of some of the many activities available in the Shimoda and greater Shimoda area this summer.

Beach Yoga

On Tatadohama Beach; a 450 metre long and 70 metre wide beach, with various facilities including 6 showers, beach huts, toilets and rental of beach equipment.

SEASON: 16th of July to the 18th of September, except for rainy days.

TIME: 6.30 to 7.30 am

URL: http://izu-concierge.jp/yoga-2/

TEL: 0558-36-4541

PARKING: 129 spaces, charges apply.

COST: 1500 yen, includes rental of a yoga mat (Summer 2016 prices).

See map for location.

SUP (Stand Up Paddle)

Line Surf

TIME: 8am to 6pm

URL: http://rinesurf.jp/rine-surf-school/

TEL: 080-3655-0155

PARKING: 15 spaces

COST: From 7000 yen (Summer 2016 prices)

See map for location.

 

Surfing

Please see Turtle House in the accommodation section below.

Sea Kayak

Kai’to Sea Kayak School

SEASON: April to November

TIME: 10am to 1pm

URL: http://www.seakayaking.jp/

TEL: 050-3786-6779

PARKING: 3 spaces, you need to reserve

COST: 6700 yen for adults, 3300 yen for primary school aged children (summer 2016 prices)

See map for location.

 

Sand ski

From official website

At Touji Beach detailed in the beaches section.

URL: http://www2.shimoda-city.info/shimoda/FMPro?-db=shimoda_kan1.fp5&-lay=web&-format=page_look2.html&NO=149&-find

TEL: 0558-22-1531

PARKING: 10 spaces. Free out of season, charged during summer.

COST: From 1000 yen (Summer 2016 prices).

See map for location.

 

Sea Aquarium

SEASON: The aquarium is open most of the year, but during December it only opens at weekends and there are other changes to the opening hours for most of winter. DOLPHIN BEACH is only open from June to September.

TIME: 9am to 4.30pm on weekdays, to 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays, and to 5.30pm during summer holidays.

URL: http://shimoda-aquarium.com/

TEL: 0558-22-3567

PARKING: 200 spaces, free.

COST: 2000 yen for adults, 1000 yen for children over 4 years old.  (Summer 2016 prices). An additional cost is applied for dolphin beach where you can swim/play with dolphins. Children younger than grade 4 elementary school age are required to have an adult accompany them.

See map for location.

 

Water park

Splash Water Park, is a travelling water park of inflated slides, towers, climbing and more. It will be available at Yumigahama Beach again this year. The popular water park started opening seasonally in the area from 2014. It will July 16th this year. Children need to be over 110cms to play in the playground above the sea. You can see more information in English on their website: http://splashwaterpark.jp/home/

Parks

There are a selection of parks in Shimoda, some of which are near the seaside. Perhaps the most famous is Shimoda park in the Shirahama area, which is known to many for its 3 million beautiful hydrangeas that are currently in bloom. http://www.shimoda-city.info/eve11.html

 

There are even more activities you can enjoy in Shimoda including, but not limited to, “Treeing”, Nordic Walking, Scuba Diving, Snorkelling as well as sightseeing spots and local culture and cuisine. You will find more information in English on the official website of Shimoda: http://www.shimoda-city.info/index_e.html

 

Accommodation

There is a huge selection of accommodation in the Shimoda and neighbouring areas. An Internet search in English will bring up plenty of information, but if you do read Japanese you will find even more information in the Japanese language. I will just mention one that caught my eye as they offer a surfing lesson package.

TURTLE HOUSE, a “pension” (B&B) right on the sea in the Shirahama area of Shimoda city, have a stay package for one night, two days, two meals and a 2 hour surfing session.

URL: http://turtle-house.net/

Access

By car: 75 kilometres from the Tomei Expressway Numazu Interchange using R83, R246, R1, R136, R414.

By train: Between 48 minutes and 1 hour and 3 minutes from Ito Station to Izu-kyuukou Shimoda Station on the Izu-Kyuukou line.

Some other WORDPRESS blogs about Shimoda:

Priya the magical dog, killer hornets and stone grilled food |Kawagoe

I was living in the Kawagoe area many years before I stumbled upon a curious little shop off the beaten track, which has intrigued and enthralled me ever since. The name of the shop is as ambiguous as the products and services they offer. The kanji over the door 浪漫 can be called “Roman“, the Japanese version of Romantic, but nowhere on their webpages is this name used. So I call it Kasumi, which is the most common name I can find associated to the shop.

Kasumi Kawagoe Honey shop and Priya magical dog (2)

Kasumi (or Kasumi Flower) seems to have originally been set up as a management shop for some of the rickshaws in the area. However, one of the many signs over its door says its a “stone grill” restaurant. This indeed seems to be one of their better trades, serving hungry customers, but here’s the curious bit, its stone grilled… curry?? Just another conundrum of this unique and mysterious shop near the tourist area of Kawagoe.

Kasumi Kawagoe Honey shop and Priya magical dog (3)

 

One of their key products is honey and I have to say its about the best I’ve ever tasted. The beekeeper seems to be the owner of the shop, he is certainly the key character there.  He is a formidable and charismatic man, albeit slightly egocentric, but he reminds me of the Moore Street traders.  He delights in talking and prides himself on his produce. He has excellent English so he can explain quite a lot about beekeeping and the killer hornets he displays in jars at the front of the shop. He is also the owner of the famous healing dog Priya.

Famous dog in Kawagoe "Priya", said to have magical powers!
Famous dog in Kawagoe “Priya”, said to have magical powers!

Priya is said to have healing and magical powers. In exactly what way I do not know. The signs above and outside the shop brag of the Goddess Dog of Good Luck Priya. Inside the shop, cum restaurant cum rickshaw depot, they sell Priya goods and amulets.  If you buy lunch or purchase honey you get to have your photo taken with Priya. There are a number of photos of Priya with famous people and she has been on the TV and in the media a number of times. All I can say for sure is that she is a very lovely and placid dog. I can’t attest to her powers. She does fascinate me though, they way she sits up in the chair almost regally, perfectly poised and ready for a souvenir photo.

All in all, Kasumi (aka Roman Ishiyaki aka Kawagoe Jiryokuya) is worth a visit if you enjoy bantering with shopkeepers, like something a bit quirky, want to try stone grilled curry or delicious honey, are fascinated by killer hornets and/or want to meet a (maybe) magical dog!

KASUMI / ROMAN ISHIYAKI / KAWAGOE JIRYOKUYA

HOURS: 11am to 5pm. Please note that while they don’t have an official day off, they tend to take days here and there. Especially after a busy weekend. There are quite a lot of shops like that in Kawagoe.

TEL: 049-225-1015 (Shop)

WEB:

Shop:
kasumiflower.co.jp

Priya the magical dog: http://www.kasumiflower.co.jp/priya/index.html

Rickshaw company Kawagoe Jiryokuya: http://www.kasumiflower.co.jp/jinrikiya/index.html

Beekeeping and honey: http://www.kasumiflower.co.jp/honey/index.html

JULY Festivals and Fireworks 2016 | KANTO (TOKYO)

Kanto is the area around Tokyo, comprising Saitama, Kanagawa (Yokohama), Chiba, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma.  This is a calendar displaying festivals and fireworks in this area for the month of July. Click on the event for more information including time and place, and a link to either the official website or to a webpage with more information in English. I recommend you view as AGENDA.

GOOGLE VERSION

Experience Asakusa

Information Share

“Where can I try some unique Japanese cultural experiences in Tokyo?”

We often get asked a variation of “where can I enjoy some real Japanese experiences in Tokyo?” on the Facebook Japan Travel, Friendly Discussion Group. Unfortunately, the search field and files section of Facebook Groups is still somewhat limited and the information cannot be easily found.  I’m sharing suggestions here, that I have given, in the hope that it is more easily accessible for future queries of a similar nature. These places advertise that they have English speaking staff.

This is for the Asakusa area only. If you would like to share other places for the benefit of others,  that would be greatly appreciated. 🙂  Please scroll down to the bottom of the article to see each place mapped on Google with address and other information.

Disclaimer: I have NO affiliation to any of these establishments, nor do I get anything for promoting them! All images are taken from the official websites for each shop or service.

Taiko Drums

Image taken from the official website: http://www.taiko-center.co.jp/english/class/images/tokyo/tokyo-class_03.jpg

The traditional drum in Japan is called a Taiko.  For many the sound of a taiko drum is synonmous with summer festivals.  The Taiko Lab in Asakusa offers a rare chance to experience Taiko drums without signing up for months of classes.  You need to book in advance and they will try to cater to the date and time that suits you best. The application for this is handled by the Taiko Centre (English information): http://www.taiko-center.co.jp/english/class/tokyo-class.html

Information about Taiko Labhttp://www.taiko-center.com/taiko-lab%E3%81%AE%E3%81%94%E6%A1%88%E5%86%85/ Choose the English option from the drop-down box on the right.

Kanji

Kanji is the Japanese writing using Chinese characters.  At Kanji House in Asakusa you can get your name written for you, or join a class, or even take a guided tour. The tour involves a local guide and a kanji calligraphy writing of your name to take home! They have staff and guides who speak English  and most of their clients are foreigners.

Image taken from the official website: http://kanji-house.com/assets/images/top3.png

If you want to try your hand at writing a kanji of your choice you can do a calligraphy class for 30 minutes.  They do require that you make  a reservation at least 24 hours in advance. They have full information in English on their website: http://kanji-house.com/service_price.html  and the reservation form is here: http://kanji-house.com/contact.html

Origami

The age old and majestic paper folding craft is a fun (and therapeutic) activity, offering a glimpse into the Japanese custom of precision and detail.  The afore mentioned Kanji House also offers an origami class for just 500 yen (summer 2016 price) for 30 minutes. Information available in English on their website: http://kanji-house.com/service_price.html . Reservation form: http://kanji-house.com/contact.html

Dressing up in Kimono

Dressing up in a kimono is something unique to Japanese culture. Kosode near to Asakusa subway station offer kimono rental, dressing and hair styling for both men and women. They have yukata (summer kimono) in the hot months too. They have information and a booking form in English on their website: http://paull.jp/asakusa/english/index.php

Moku Hanga Print

Moku Hanga is a technique used in ukiyo-e, a genre of art. Mokuhankan is a relatively new shop offering woodblock prints. The owner is a England born Canadian. You can experience his tutelage in an hour long workshop. You can book from a calendar on their English content website: http://mokuhankan.com/parties/index.php

Replica Food Production Workshop

Showroom of Replica Food made from wax

Replica Food are wax samples of what a restaurant’s (/shop’s) food looks like, displayed in the restaurants window. Ganso Shokuhin Sample Shop Kappabashi Showroom displays a great selection of replica food. Even better: you can book to try your hand at making your own replica food samples. Information in English on their website: http://www.ganso-sample.com/en/shop/kappabashi/

However, you need to book for the workshop by phone at 0120-17-1839.  The workshops are held at 11am, 2pm and 4pm and take between 60 and 75 minutes. It costs 2,160 yen per person (summer 2016 price).

Jidaiya

Jidaiya is a fantastic service offering a range of typical and age old Japanese experiences. Here is a list of some of them;

Rickshaw Ride

Photo taken from the official website: http://www.jidaiya.biz/taikenmono_e.html#taikenmono0

Kago (basket palanquin) Ride

Photo taken from the official website: http://www.jidaiya.biz/taikenmono_e.html#taikenmono0

Tea Ceremony

Paper Lantern making

Photo taken from the official website: http://www.jidaiya.biz/taikenmono_e.html#taikenmono0

Fan Throwing Game

Photo taken from the official website: http://www.jidaiya.biz/taikenmono_e.html#taikenmono0

Japanese Traditional Entertainment and Performances

Information for all of these can be found on their English webpage:

http://www.jidaiya.biz/taikenmono_e.html#taikenmono2

 

All of the places listed above are perfect, if you want to try some real hands-on experiences during your stay in Japan.  Most of these places advise booking in advance.  Below you can see the locations of each place marked on a google map.

**IF YOU ARE TRAVELLING TO OR WITHIN JAPAN AND HAVE QUERIES ABOUT TRAVEL HERE, PLEASE DO SIGN UP TO JAPAN TRAVEL, FRIENDLY DISCUSSION GROUP  https://www.facebook.com/groups/2307368624/ **