Friday, August 8

Shimoda, Vol. 1

I've never seen this done - a worker very thoroughly barricaded himself into the Courtesy Seat section of our car, and at each stop handed out packages to station workers.

This past week I took a short Abbey Vacation to the harbor city of Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture, at the tip of the Izu Peninsula. My main goal: get on a beach and spend lots of time there. As you will later learn, atmospheric conditions worked against me on that one, to an extent, but here's the play-by-play.

The train ride took a little longer than I thought it might. In the interest of saving money, I purchased a Puratto ticket for the Kodama Shinkansen. Kodama is like the local train of the shinkansen lines. It stops at all stations. So here's how my travel itinerary from home to Shimoda looked:

Home to the station: 20 minutes on foot, lugging my bags. I made it just in time for the earlier train, which I promptly hopped on. About three minutes later, I realized I'd left half my spending money in my desk drawer at home.
Station to Nagoya: 1:10. Waiting at Nagoya for the shinkansen: 47 minutes.
Nagoya to Shizuoka: 1:19 via Kodama Shinkansen. Waiting in Shizuoka for the Tokaido Line to Atami: 15 minutes.
Shizuoka to Atami: 1:25 on the local Tokaido Line. Waiting at Atami: 13 minutes.
Atami to Shimoda: About 1:45 on the Izukyu Line, special Kurofune Train.

Izukyu Kurofune Train
In honor (?) of the Black Ships that brought Perry and other foreigners to Japan

The tourist-oriented "Resort" (read: "Local") Kurofune Train.
For all the wide-view seating, we spent a lot of time in tunnels and surrounded by trees.

View from the Kurofune.

So I left my house at 6:40am and arrived in Shimoda sometime after 2. In retrospect, I should have just shelled out and gotten a quicker way there, as all the travelling took a lot out of me. I arrived in Shimoda tired, with a headache and cranky. But once I stepped out into the hot, humid sea air, good humor was restored. Especially after Lil P was successful in depositing cash into my account. For a charge of 730 yen. (What?? Charged to deposit cash into an account?!) Thanks for saving me, P!

Passion Fruit Flower
(Thanks, Melissa!)

So once I got my cash, checked in and took a few breaths, I grabbed the camera and went out to explore while I had some daylight left.


Manhole Cover, Shimoda Version

The street leading to my hotel, the luxurious Hotel Uraga.
Ok, not so luxurious.

I stayed at the Hotel Uraga because the price was right and it had a bed and a private bathroom with a shower. Unfortunately, even though they are a several-floor hotel, they don't accept credit cards (I know, I was surprised too, even for Japan), which left me in a pinch financially. The staff was, however, super friendly, my room was clean, and they hunted down an extra pillow for me when there wasn't one readily available.

The day wound down with a run along the Wakano-ura Promenade at dusk, which was no small feat in the thick, muggy air, but I felt good and I sweated a lot, and I got the travel knots out of my shoulders and the blood flowing in my legs.

Coming soon: Day 2, All the Museums You Can Eat!


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