Located on the Pacific Coast of Japan’s Izu Peninsula sits a small town called Shimoda. You would be forgiven for overlooking the place – nestled alongside the quiet hills of Shizuoka Prefecture, it looks like the kind of secluded town where nothing much really happens. You might be forgiven for thinking so, but I would encourage you not to make that mistake! Shimoda has a plethora of interesting activities to enjoy, all of which will make your trip to Japan uniquely memorable.
One such activity is the Shimoda Aquarium. There are numerous aquariums throughout Japan, but this is the first one I’ve seen that is literally built around the ocean. In fact, the main dolphin enclosure is part of the ocean itself! What’s more, visitors can go for a kayak ride in the waters where the dolphins swim, even enjoy one of the dolphin shows from the kayak. Watching the dolphins playfully dart beneath your boat or curiously look up at you as they swim past is a remarkable experience. After the show, there is plenty more to enjoy around the aquarium, including everything from ornate jellyfish displays to penguins and seals, all reminding you of Japan’s intimate connection to the sea.
Being set as it is along the Pacific Coast of Shizuoka Prefecture, Shimoda boasts abundant oceanside views. Between the aquarium and the beautiful Shimoda Tokyu Hotel lies a long winding seaside path, offering incredible views at every turn. A little further down the coast is the Ryugu Sea Cave and many stunning sandy beaches as well.
Add in places like Shimoda Park and the Tsumekizaki Lighthouse, and you begin to realize there’s more to Shimoda than first meets the eye. Make sure to add a trip to Shimoda to your Japan itinerary – you’ll be glad you did!
Access (from Shimoda Tokyu Hotel)
15 minutes on foot to Shimoda Aquarium
10 minutes by car to Ryugu Sea Cave