The morning view from my room (Photo: Peter Sidell)

Shimoda Tokyu Hotel

Relax in a bath with an ocean view

The morning view from my room (Photo: Peter Sidell)
Peter Sidell   - 3 min read

At the southern tip of the Izu Peninsula, Shimoda is known as a resort town, a place for Tokyoites to escape the city for a few days by the sea. Up on a bluff overlooking a well sheltered cove, the Tokyu Hotel is one of the town's more upmarket places to stay, a self-styled 'Resort Hotel' with natural hot spring baths, an outdoor pool and a day spa.

My twin room was a pretty good size, with plenty of space to spread out and organize myself comfortably, and it had a good view out over the ocean, so I could sit at my little table and enjoy the scenery over my breakfast. The bathroom was also adequately large, but I took myself instead to the hotel's public baths, of which more later; and while the beds and pillows were a little hard for my taste, I still had a good night's sleep.

Elsewhere in the hotel, the spacious, relaxing lobby overlooks the garden, from which you can walk down to the pool and beach. There's also an information desk which, like reception, is manned by helpful English-speaking staff, and a shop selling a range of local and Hawaiian-themed souvenirs. For food and drinks there are two moderately expensive restaurants, one French and one Japanese, or if they're closed there are vending machines for hot snacks, soft drinks, alcohol and ice cream.

One of the main attractions is the open-air baths, one wooden and one stone, both good places to sit back, relax and take the air; it was especially fun to sit outside on a chilly morning, enjoying the view over the ocean with steam rising off the water's surface (the bath, not the ocean). They alternate by gender each day, so I was in the wooden bath on my first day, the stone one the next. One of the bathrooms also has a sauna, which operates in authentic Finnish style with hot coals on which you can tip water to make hissing clouds of steam; I replicated the Finnish experience further by going out and standing exposed to the chilly night air between sessions in the steam.

Nearby it's a fairly short walk round the cape to Shimoda Aquarium, and a longer, less easy walk back into town, especially in the dark. The hotel runs a fairly regular shuttle bus to and from the station, which you'll definitely need if you have a lot of luggage, as the road up is significantly steep.

The hotel has double, twin or single rooms, with either an ocean view or mountain view. A couple of searches on the English-language website showed that prices vary with season, as low as around ¥7000 for a single in January, and that you seem only to be able to book up to about three months in advance. I found that there's little to see and do in Shimoda off-season, but as a place to stay, relax and enjoy the scenery, Tokyu Hotel was a good choice.

Peter Sidell

Peter Sidell @peter.sidell

I came to Japan from Manchester, England in 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I'm not working, I write satire and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check YouTube for a taste.