Shuzenji, Izu Peninzula

I’d been here several years ago, eating soba in one of the small shops lining the one street, taking in the sight of an ancient temple and a stream that cuts through the center of the village.

This time, after along train and trolley ride from Tokyo, via Mishima, I am here to stay the one night, regrettably one night, at Asaba.  The property is arguably Japan’s most famous ryokan, and after 520 years, under the 10th generation of the Asaba family, no place is more refined.

The indoor baths are fine.  The outdoor bath in view of a pond is extraordinary.

Shamo nabe was the final course last night and it was deeply satisfying.

Later today: A short ride to Hakone and a final night before a long day of travel to Boston tomorrow.

This region is where the notorious black ships landed in 1853: Shimoda.  Nowadays that town is filled with cute shops and restaurants, offering little clue as to its history which transformed not just Japan, but the world.

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