One of our favorite and first spots to visit in Japan was Shimoda, Izu. Or more specifically Ohama Beach!
The first weekend, as it was still April, was not very sunny or warm, but therefore the perfect way to test holiday life in our new, old camper van.
Over the next 3 years, Shimoda was often just a weekend trip or the first stopover when we were heading to the south of Japan. The small town is very calm during Off-Season, which is short anyway (July & August) and offers a lot of option from Hiking, surfing and even Mountain Biking is possible
Kawazu, for example, is famous early Sakura (Cherry blossom) and to do the “Seven Falls Hiking course”. The Cherry trees are blooming along the river for more than one kilometer down to the seaside!
The Seven falls are nice to visit, but do not expect too much! We did the course from the top as described >>here on page 6, but when we recognized, the main part of the hike is a gravel walk we decide to go by bike. Some parts are handleable with Mountain bike in-between and for some parts, you have to carry the bike down the wooden stairs (as usual…)
The annoying part starts when ending up in the real sightseeing zone, where you have to share the path with all tourist. Not recommendable in peak season!
But the small waterfalls are nice to visits and I could imagine it would be great to take a dip in the cold water during the summer season. Just not sure if this would be appreciated…
Another Hiking Option is Mt. Amagi, where we did a 4-hour hiking trail to the top of the mountain.
For Mountain Biking there is even a guide, which was very helpful
if you do not know the area. Thanks to http://www.alohabike.com/ we had a great MTB trip around Shimoda including single tracks, sometimes steep, narrow & stony, sometimes smooth and wide and always with a nice view. The Shimoda area is just impressively beautiful, with so many hidden beaches and trails.