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.
This has got to be one of my favorite onsen, ever! So worth the journey up the narrow steep mountain roads (although I refuse to drive myself). When I mentioned that one of our previous guests had said, "Now this is off the beaten path." another guest responded with "What path?". This onsen is obviously a dream in the making and was not built as a business venture. You've got to see it to believe it, and when you are there you will also appreciate the alkaline waters with a PH of 9.5. That means silky water and super soft skin.
Open: 10:00 - 20:00
Adult: 700 yen
By car: About 30 minutes from tabi-tabi
By Bus: From Izukyu Shimoda take a bus to Yokokawa bus stop, from there it is a 30 minute walk (maybe 15 to get back). You can find it on our tabi-tabi map here.
The Mimami Izu Hiking Trail is know for its amazing views off the high jagged peak of Cape Tarai, or what the local people call "a fierce god". To get to the trail we took the 20 minute bus ride from tabi-tabi to Yumi-ga-hama. From there we walked to Ogahama, a beautiful rocky beach with interesting rock formations. At the end of the beach you will find the Minami Izu (Cape Tarai) trail head. The trails are well maintained and have Japanese and English signs with maps and explanations along the way. The hike leads you through lush forests, over high jagged cliffs, and along a scenic rocky cove. We stopped many times to worship Izu's amazing coast line, getting mystified by the sound of the crashing waves, and linger in the therapeutic aroma of the rich soil and other earthy delights. The trail ends in Toji, another beach with a real local feel, where we had ice-cream from the candy shop. From there we followed the main road past the Sand Ski Hill, The Open Cave, Goishi Beach, Ohama Beach, and back to tabi-tabi. The entire journey (from tabi-tabi and back again) only took about 3 hours, but left us feeling refreshed by nature's divine energies.
Another short jaunt from Guesthouse tabi-tabi is one of our other favorite late night dinner and drinks spots. The friendly owner Hiro, used to live in New York, where he spun hip-hop for skaters. Now he's not only mixing vinyl, but he's mixing up home-made ice-cream, tasty pasta, and great drinks! The small but ever-changing menu shows off his unique culinary talents.
Inside the warehouse looking buidling, he's got a beautiful custom-made bar, amazing wood work interior, cool deco, a couple of candle-lit tables, and super chill atmosphere.
Hiro's got a great selection of wine served in large stubby glasses. Last time we spent a few hours there, we had a great pasta, and sampled his selection of reds. He also treated us to this hors d'oevre of semi-dried tomato, salty cheesecake pâté, with rye bread (pictured right).
Check out some beautiful pics of Re-Mix on this blog here
I have been meaning to write about South Cafe for a long time. And so I bring my camera with me every time I go but then as soon as the food arrives, my mouth waters and I dig in without capturing any of the deliciousness. This place is a favorite among tourists and locals alike so it is a good idea to arrive a bit early on the weekends or your won't get a seat.
Don't let the cheap prices fool you, the portions are huge. Yasu and I usually share a salad, and one other dish, a pasta or a dorian. The veggie pepperoncini is super garlicy so I always order some bread to sop up the buttery garlic once the noodles have been ravished.
If we still have room, we order desert. The brownie is super rich and moist and goes well with the vanilla ice-cream that is served on the side. The yummy banana bread comes with ice-cream too!
They have excellent drinks as well. A Fresh lime soda goes down well on a hot summer day. They have bottomless coffee, great mojitos, super smoothies..... If you like red wine, but don't like yours chilled, make sure you let them know, and they will take a bottle off the shelf for you.
Hours: 11:30 - 21:00 (closed Thursdays)
From tabi-tabi, South cafe is a 7 minute stroll along the river. You can also find it on our tabi-tabi recommendation map here
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!
Right next to the Sand Ski Hill, down a steep set of stairs, you will come to another one of Shimoda's natural wonders. It is a massive cave naturally carved out by blowing wind, sand, and water. It is open on the top and has a passage out to the sea. You can also walk around the top of the cave for some mesmerising ocean views.
You can find the Open Cave on our tabi-tabi recommendation map here
Sand Ski Hill is a massive sand dune you can sled down with a toboggan. It takes about 10 minutes to ride a bike from tabi-tabi to Sand Ski Hill. You can swim there as well but the beach is rocky. There is also a massive cave next to the Sand Ski Hill, I will write about later.
We've got bikes and a toboggan. Come and join the fun!
You can find it on our recommendation map here
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!
Not sure what happens at the Monkey Park when it is open but when it is closed all the monkeys come to gawk at and harass the humans in the parking lot.
Open: 8:30 - 16:30
Entry Fee: adults ¥500 / kids ¥250