Community Life on the Izu Peninsula
The historic port town of Shimoda sits quietly overlooking the sea on the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka prefecture. Approximately 180 km from Tokyo, a weekend in Shimoda makes for a restful, short escape from the city hustle.
Stepping off the train, everything suddenly appears slower yet full of life. Right outside the station, a weekend market brings energy to the surroundings. Elderly folks in gardening apparel sell goods at market prices to town members and visitors alike. Decopon, a citrus fruit, is popular in this region. Shoppers take home bags stuffed with these softball-sized fruits – all you can fit for 100 yen. The bargain cannot be ignored. At the front of the market stalls sits a lottery box. Two tickets earns a random drawing from the box. Out comes a red, fluffy cotton ball. The prize? A container of local miso paste to be used for cooking soups and seasoning various dishes. Other prizes include pickled vegetables, among other food items.
Everyone appears happy, full of energy on this bright and early Sunday morning. A stroll around the town reveals more pleasantries and relaxing moments. The river leading from the sea is full of resting boats. Out on a pier, leading to a small island extension, many fishermen, women, and children await the day’s catch. Everything seems to stand still out by the sea as the town’s inhabitants relax on this beautiful spring day.
Over on Perry Street, a riverside shopping area of traditional buildings, the atmosphere is still calm but busy with visitors. The picturesque Perry Street draws tourists and townsfolk alike to its small craft shops and home-style cafes with riverside views. Down the road is a beautiful temple as well.
Whether you prefer the quiet sounds of the sea or a tranquil stroll down a small shopping street, Shimoda is a nice place to visit.
[Post by Nadia]