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Japan Travel Guide

City of Shimoda

Central Shimoda is situated on the northwestern shore of a well-sheltered harbour, rounded by steep hills. Almost all its sceneries are in the older, southerly district, where you will appreciate several attractive grey-and-white latticed walls near the original fishing harbour; this kind of architecture, found over Izu, is resistant to fire, earthquakes and corrosive sea air. You should visit Ryosen-ji, it's the temple where the Shimoda Treaty was signed in June 1854. Commodore Matthew Perry for the United States and Daigaku Hayashi for the Shogunate signed. The treaty consisted of thirteen articles and was a supplement to the Kanagawa Treaty. This Treaty opened the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to US ships and established diplomatic relations among Japan and the United States. There is a small museum at the temple, with several exhibits such as pictures that Japanese drew or painted of foreigners and items related to Perry.

Go back past Ryosen-ji to the nearby Zushu Shimoda Folk Museum (daily 8.30am - 5.30pm; the tariff is ¥1000), housed in two traditional, latticework buildings. Side by side caricatures of big-nosed foreigners, Harris and Okichi are again much in manifest: there's Harris's kimono, adorned with the American eagle, and a picture of a beautiful young woman Okichi. But the museum also provides more information, much of it in English, about local life, including the area's distinctive architecture and its festivals.

Heading toward north again, the last monument in central Shimoda is Okichi's grave. When she died at the year of 1890, no member of her family claimed her body, so a local priest brought her body to the family temple for burial. Now she is behind the otherwise unremarkable Hofuku-ji, where there's another small museum (daily 8am-5pm; the tariff is ¥300) dedicated to her memory.

Shimoda Travel Guide - Shimoda (Jizo)
Shimoda (Jizo)
Shimoda Travel Guide - Small temple by the sea
Small temple by the sea

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