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tabi-tabi Izu blog

Event announcements, sight-seeing recommendations, bar and restaurant reviews, and other commentary from Shimoda and the surrounding area on the Izu peninsula.

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When in Tokyo....

Posted by Angela
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on Friday, 05 October 2012
in Uncategorized

Tokyo

I'm often asked to recommend a place to stay in Tokyo but since I live in the city 5 months of the year and have always had my own apartment, I have never had to look for accommodation, well, until last week that is. I moved out of my old place and while looking for a new Tokyo abode I had to find a place to crash for one night so I took this opportunity to look for an interesting place to stay. We had heard about Toco Backpackers and Nui Hostel from a friend, who's friend's friend, is part owner.

Nui is more than just hostel, it's an amazing creatively designed space meant to bring together people from all over the world. Set in an old warehouse, it still has lots of industrial touches like the high ceilings, floor to ceiling glass doors across the front, and the over-sized freight elevator. Comforting touches of nature are incorporated with their 8 meter long tree-trunk bar, and massive de-barked tree that stands in the center of the 1st floor lounge. The bathroom doors have original handles forged by a local lady black smith artisan. Nui has private rooms and dormitories available on the upper floors. They have free wifi throughout the buidling and a computer for all to use. I have no doubt that the yet-to-be-completed kitchen and library on the 5th floor will be another amazing creative feat of eclectic design.

If you are looking for something more Japanesy, you might want to try their second location, Toco Backpacker's Inn and Free Space Bar Lounge, an old ryokan built in 1920 and completely refurbished by the same creative crew that built Nui Hostel & Bar Lounge.

Although both locations are within easy reach of Narita and Haneda airports, you should keep in mind that neither neighbourhood, Iria or Kuramae, are in the must-see section of your guidebook. Instead, Nui and Toco, provide a great escape from the big city bustle.

Tags: bar, Tokyo
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How to get to Shimoda from Osaka or Kyoto

Posted by Angela
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on Friday, 14 September 2012
in transportation

To get to Shimoda from Osaka, or Kyoto, you should take the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Shin-Osaka or Kyoto Station to Atami (141 min). From Atami take the JR Ito line to Ito (23 min) and from Ito take the Izu Kyuoko Line to Izukyu Shimoda Station (69 min).

I suggest you use Hyperdia to check for train schedules, or even better, call the super friendly folks at the JR East English info line. They will be able to help you choose the best departure time. Sometimes leaving later means arriving earlier! The number is:

050-2016-1603

(If you are calling from overseas, drop the first zero and add the country code 81)

***Please note, the name of the station you want to get off at is Izukyu Shimoda Station. If you use Hyperdia or Jorudan to search for train schedules and fares, you must use "Izukyu Shimoda" as your destination point. There are other towns and stations called Shimoda throughout Japan.

****One more note, when you are transfering in Ito or Atami, take care NOT to board a train bound for "Shimada" (with 2 A's), be sure to look for a train bound for Izukyu Shimoda.

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Underwater Wonderland

Posted by Angela
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on Tuesday, 11 September 2012
in sight seeing

From Guesthouse tabi-tabi, take a 40 minute bus ride down and around the coast to Nakagi, pay a 1000 yen for a 5 minute boat ride and you'll arrive at the underwater wonderland, Hirizo. Before boarding the ship you can pick up some cold drinks, and rent the required snorkel and mask for only 500 yen. Do pack well, Hirizo is nothing but a rocky beach. There are no toilets or vending machines. We brought beach chairs, a parasol, towels, fins (flippers), sunscreen, drinks, snacks, and an underwater camera. If you have a wetsuit or surfing vest it will keep you in the water longer and let you dive deeper as it can get pretty chilly hanging out with cold blooded creatures all day. There are tons of fish to see! I wish I knew the names of them all but can just tell you there are big ones, little ones, blue ones, yellow ones, and striped ones. Some hang out in massive schools while others can be seen hiding alone between rocks and soft coral. We spotted lots of sea anemone too but have yet to find any nudibranches (colorful sea-slugs) but I know they are out there somewhere! Will be back soon with a better pair of goggles to help me find the finer creatures. Click on any pic for my flickr set!

UPDATE: Please be aware that on days when waves are big or the sea is choppy there will be no boats heading to Hirizo. You can find contact details for Nakagi and Hirizo on their (Japanese only) website here.

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Izu Cruise

Posted by Angela
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on Tuesday, 04 September 2012
in sight seeing

As I have mentioned in my blog about kayaking, the best way to see Izu's rugged coastline is from the sea. But if you are not feeling so active and don't want to spend a day paddling then I highly recommend taking a 25 minute cruise around Irozaki. Irozaki is the southern most tip of the Izu Peninsula, about a 30 minute drive from Shimoda. It is also possible to take a bus from the Kisami area then walk down to the peer. Boats depart every 30 minutes between 9:00 a.m. and 15:30 p.m. and cost ¥1200 for adults/¥600 for children. You will most likely be on the A Course tour since the B Course is only used on days when the sea is too choppy to head west. Once your ship gets out of the bay, look up and you will see Irozaki (Cape Iro) easily identified with its shrine built into the cliff. You can also visit this shrine after you disembark by following the path from the peer up and along the cape. More about the shrine and look-out point here, and a link for the Izu Cruise homepage here.

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Backyard Barbecue

Posted by Angela
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on Monday, 20 August 2012
in restaurants

Last Friday, returning guests Kondo-san and Rika, asked everyone to join them for a barbecue. Kondo-san and Rika did all the shopping and prep in the kitchen, Mo-san helped get the barbecues going and provided some ambiance with a few tunes on his guitar, Yasu did most of the cooking (and eating!), and Yamaken joined us for the last few laughs. Thanks everyone for a lovely night!

If you too would like to have your own barbecue party, tabi-tabi has all the facilities you need. We can provide backyard seating, lighting, table-top barbecues, grills, charcoal, platters, tongues, foil, salt, pepper, soy sauce, dishes, and cutlery for ¥2000. All you need to bring is the food and some friends.

Barbecue parties can be held any night of the week from 6pm to 10 pm. Please reserve your barbecue party when you make an enquiry for accommodation.

Please do not bring your own BBQs, or try to barbecue indoors. Thanks!

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Lotus Garden

Posted by Angela
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on Sunday, 19 August 2012
in flowers

(Hasu) is Japanese for lotus. This giant but delicate flower has long been a symbol for Buddhism as it represents the true nature of beings, who rise above the suffering of life then blossom into the beauty and clarity of enlightenment. Just like the lotus, which is rooted deep in the mud, with a long stem that grows through murky water, and a bud that finally rises and opens into the sun.

In Minami Izu there is a privately owned lotus garden that I can't wait to get back to. A 13 year work-in-progress, where you too can experience real beauty not only from the flowers but also from their grower. An old man with a story to tell and beauty to share. He only ask that you make a donation to Tohoku, where people are still struggling to make their way through the mud and devastation left by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

You can find the lotus garden on our google map here, or let us take you there as part of our tabi-tabi tour of Minami Izu. We have all kinds of beautiful places to show you! To find out more about our customized tours, click here.

 

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Girls at the Beach

Posted by Angela
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on Monday, 09 July 2012
in Uncategorized

This is a 100 year old photo of girls at the beach in Shimoda. Love the stripes! Click on the pic for more Swimsuit Girls of Old Japan".

Tags: beaches, Shimoda
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Izugram

Posted by Angela
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on Tuesday, 12 June 2012
in sight seeing

Are you an instagrammer? We are! You can "follow us" at tabitabijapan, or check out all of our Izu photos here. Enjoy!


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Cafe Mellow

Posted by Angela
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on Sunday, 10 June 2012
in restaurants

For those of you who have been visiting the Kisami area for sometime, you may have noticed that Paradise has been lost and in it's place Cafe Mellow has set up shop. Although some of the changes will take some getting used to, we were impressed with the food, service, and reasonable prices. Despite the name, staff are attentive and dishes are served up quick. Cafe Mellow offers burgers, sandwiches, pasta, curry, and appetizers from 11 am til 11 pm.

The day we went for lunch we had a Grilled Broad-bill Swordfish Sandwich which came with fries and a bit of salad on the side for ¥800, and the Basil Sauce with Shrimp and Avocado Pasta for ¥1050. Both were fresh, yum, and plentiful. The sandwich I thought could use a smear of mayonaise and a good dash of pepper which they were more than happy to provide.

For those of you arriving late on Friday night from Tokyo, Cafe mellow is the perfect place for a late night drink to help you mellow out from the big city buzz. 

   

Cafe Mellow is about 5 minutes on foot from Guesthouse tabi-tabi. You can also find it on our recommendation map here.

Open: 11-00 - 23:00

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Tokyo to Shimoda,.......... the fastest way.

Posted by Angela
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on Thursday, 19 April 2012
in transportation

The fastest way to get just about anywhere in Japan is by bullet train or what the Japanese call Shinkansen. There are no direct Shinkansens from Tokyo to Shimoda but it is possible to take a shinkansen half way, from Tokyo Station to Atami, and then transfer to a Super Express called Odoriko. The journey takes a mere 2 hours but will cost you ¥7090 one way.

You can save more than 50% by sticking to regular trains. You can read about the cheapest option here. There easiest way to get to Shimoda is to take 1 train direct from Tokyo to Izukyu Shimoda, find out more here, or call the JR East Info line for help: 

050-2016-1603

(If you are calling from overseas, drop the first zero and add the country code 81)

***Please note, the name of the station you want to get off at is Izukyu Shimoda Station. If you use Hyperderia or Jorudan to search for train schedules and fares, you must use "Izukyu Shimoda" as your destination point. There are other towns and stations called Shimoda throughout Japan.

****One more note, when you are transfering in Ito or Atami, take care NOT to board a train bound for "Shimada" (with 2 A's), be sure to look for a train bound for Izukyu Shimoda.

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