Mount Nesugata Observatory
Nesugata means “a reclining figure.” Many locals believe that Mount Nesugata looks like a woman lying down—the observatory is located on her chest. The journey to the top is quick, about three minutes on the Shimoda Ropeway (cable car). Besides beautiful views of the sea and peninsula from the observatory, you’ll find a large park and Aizendo Temple, where people go to pray for children and a happy marriage.
To save time, buy your ticket to the ropeway in advance.
Things to Know Before You Go
The ropeway is sometimes closed when the weather is bad.
There are restaurants at the top, so you can enjoy a snack with a view.
How to Get There
The observatory is in Shimoda, in Shizuoka Prefecture, about three hours by road or rail from Tokyo. Most prefer to travel via Japan’s convenient rail network. Take the JR Odoriko limited express train directly from Tokyo station to Izukyu-Shimoda station, then hop on the ropeway. Alternatively, take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen bullet train to Atami, then a local train to Izukyu-Shimoda. (Taking the Shinkansen doesn’t save time because you need to change lines, but it’s fun.)
When to Get There
Conditions at the observatory are best when the sky is clear and the temperatures are warm. The Shimoda Ropeway runs daily, usually from 9am to 5pm (depending on the season). For fewer crowds, avoid going on weekends and public holidays.
Visit Perry Road
Shimoda is where US Naval Commodore Perry landed in Japan in the late 19th century, beginning Japan’s greater engagement with the west. The city’s Perry Road was named after him. Learn about Japanese history while taking a walk along the pretty cobblestone street, with its western-style buildings and picturesque willow-lined canals.
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