Dear guests and future guests, my name is Maddy, I am a thirty years old French girl traveling around the world for six months and the Izu Peninsula is by far my favorite place until now. I really enjoy the serenity that surrounds me here and the nature which is everywhere has a lot to do with it. Thanks to my hosts Angela and Yasu I found out that cycling along the coastline is the best way to experience the beauty of the place and if you are ready to have your breath taken away, ride a bike ! You can enjoy the Kisami area thanks to the bicycles available at the guest house for 500 yen per day. Moreover, I highly suggest that you take a day bicycle ride south and around the coast. You will have to pay a 3,500 yen for the renting of a bicycle with gears (http://cyclingjapan.jp/rental/index.htm) to go on this ride up and down those mountainous roads. Before leaving be sure to wear a cap, to use plenty of sunscreen and to load your bicycle with one or two bottles of fresh water to hydrate yourself as often as possible. No need to worry about finding toilets as there are some at every touristic spots you will find on your tour (and don’t forget to refill your bottles once you are there). Now that you are on your bike, ride at your own pace. The Izu Peninsula has an abundance of natural beauty and you are free to take your time and take fully advantage of this breathtaking scenic coastline where you can breathe, rest, drink, eat and take some photos to share this experience with your friends later. By the way, even though this tour is the perfect occasion to challenge yourself and spend some time alone in the nature, having company might be a good idea especially if you are not used to cycle in mountainous areas. However you will see that those roads are perfect to ride a bicycle and will enjoy to have good brakes when the time will come to cycle down. I join to this article a map of a nice itinerary. On one hand the first thirty kilometers on the coastline are the most breathtaking but difficult. On the other hand the way back along the road 136 is much more easier but offers less interesting spots. I suggest that you take your time on the first part. Remember that happiness is in the doing not in the getting what you want. So cycle and have fun!
蓮(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.
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”.
Are you an instagrammer? We are! You can “follow us” at tabitabijapan, or check out all of our Izu photos here. Enjoy!
Even though there is snow on the peaks of the alps in Nagano, Shimoda is still sunny and warm. There are very few signs of fall in fact, except these big orange persimmon (kaki) ripening on trees all over Izu.
We have moved west, back to Japan’s Northern Alps, and back to Lodge tabi-tabi. We will be making another appearance in Shimoda on October 21st to prep the house for a couple of very special guests. Later this month we will be providing accommodation for Katy and Jamie, the Travel Volunteer Team. They are on a 100+1 day mission to visit every prefecture of Japan and “show the world that Japan remains a safe and attractive destination for travellers from all over the world”. We are really looking forward to meeting this adventurous couple. You can follow their amazing journey here.
From October until the end of March, Guesthouse tabi-tabi in Shimoda will be available as a private rental only. You can take over the whole place, 4 bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, the backyard, and all the bikes for 25,000 yen a night plus linen and cleaning fees (minimum 2 nights). So if you are looking for your very own cottage get-a-away, please fill in one of our enquiry forms, or send us an email. If you would also like check out the mountains in the picture above, then come and visit us at Lodge tabi-tabi, Hakuba.
Southern Izu is covered in Lilies of every kind,but the White Spider Lily has the sweetest fragrance of them all. Keep your eyes open, and put the brakes on when you spot one. Bet you can’t sniff just once.
Back in March this field of himawari (sunflowers) was a field of nanohana (rapeseed flowers). You can find it in Minami Izu, just south of Shimoda and on our recommendation map here.
This is what this field looked like in March:
There is no direct translation for the word “natsukashi” but it is exlaimed when Japanese people talk about the good old days, that song that brings you back, or that warm and fuzzy feeling of waxing nostalgic. Check out this fabulous montage of still shots and 8mm film of Ohama, and Minami Izu that will take you back to the mustardy hues of the 70s.The very first part of the video is in Nakagami which I believe is in western Tokyo. Don’t think the peninsula has ever seen snow. Tokyo, however, does get a wee bit of the white stuff every winter season. Enjoy!
We are forever receiving gifts from our neighbours and their gardens. In spring the local people forage through the bamboo forests and dig up these tasty delicacies, takenoko. If you eat them in the first two hours of being picked, you can enjoy “takenoko sashimi” or raw bamboo shoot with soy sauce and wasabi. If they are not that fresh then it is best to peel it, boil it, and use it for a number of dishes like, “takenoko gohan” (takenoko rice) and “nimono” (veggies boiled in a simple Japanese broth).
Here is Yasu’s yummy nimono recipe:
What you need:
1 takenoko (peeled, cut, and boiled in advance)
1 atsuage (friend tofu)
4 tbs soy sauce
3 tbs sugar
2 tbs mirin (sweet cooking sake)
1 tbs sake (Japanese rice wine)
400 ml of stock made with water and Japanese dashi (katsuo or kombu)
Boil everything together for about 30 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Turn off the heat and let it cool in the pot. It’s even better the next day!
On April 26th Marine Net Shimoda conducted air and sea water tests for radiation and no detectable levels of radiation were found! The sea is safe and the surfers are surfing! Wet suits are required though. The ocean is just 15 degrees. Cold but safe!
And for more good news, the Prime Minister of Japan has asked Hamaoka, a nuclear power station in Shizuoka to shut down. Sadly though, the government does not have the power to order it to close its doors. Power to the people (and the governments that are supposed to represent them)!
UPDATE: Hamaoka Power Plant has been shut down!