Of all the resort towns south of Ito along Izu's eastern coast, none can match the distinction of Shimoda. The town's encounter with the West began when Commodore Matthew Perry anchored his fleet of black ships off the coast here in 1853. To commemorate the event, the three-day Black Ship Festival (Kurofune Matsuri) is held here every year in mid-May. Shimoda was also the site, in 1856, of the first American consulate.
The Shimoda Tourist Office, in front of the station, has the easiest of the local English itineraries to follow. The 2½-km (1½-mile) tour covers most major sights. On request, the tourist office will also help you find local accommodations.