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Black Ship Festival

May 27, 2016

Every year the city of Shimoda, near the tip of Izu Peninsula (and the location for my recent Tenkara Amago adventure) hosts the Black Ship Festival. The festival commemorates when U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in 1854 and signed a treaty agreement with Japan. This past weekend my wife and I headed down to Shimoda to partake in the festivities and to soak in the spectacular ocean and countryside views.

The festival kicks off on Friday but due to work responsibilities we could not leave till Saturday morning. The drive down the east coast of Izu Peninsula was spectacular. The tropical looking water, the white sand beaches, rocky sea cliffs, and the 1400+meter tall mountains all blend together to create a very unique and indescribably beautiful landscape.

When we arrived the festival was in full swing and navigating the narrow city streets filled with festival goers, small children, and food stalls to get to our hotel was a tad harrowing! However, when we got to our room all our troubles and the long drive slipped into distant memory when we opened the curtains.

The view from our 6th story room at the Shimoda Tokyu Hotel.

We gorged ourselves on beer, octopus balls, and fire roasted Ayu. Then we met up with some friends and had a light dinner of more beer and pizza at a quaint Italian restaurant right on the canal! After dinner we headed over to the Civic Center to watch the Japanese Civil Self Defense Force Band play. Afterwards it was back to our hotel for our in-room massages.

In the morning we swam at a small beach below our hotel and combed the beach for seashells. We found some spectacular ones and even a dead shark. Yikes! Afterwards, we toured the bay on the Susquehana "Black Ship" and went to the car show. While there are literally hundreds of places to eat in Shimoda, we found a very delicious sushi go-round restaurant above the Michi-No-Eki in town.

After taking in all the sites and eating way too much great food it was time to get back on the road and brave the traffic back to the mainland and home.

Written by Isaac Tait who now lives in San Diego but dreams of returning, one day, to Japan. You should follow him on Twitter