Right next to Izu Shimoda station is a cable car to the top of nearby Nesugata Yama. That was the first stop upon arrival in Shimoda on Saturday morning.
Japan is remarkably understanding about the US Commodore who barged into Tokyo demanding that Japan open to world trade. In retrospect, Perry's visit is seen as a mere historical event and a way for the town to cash in on tourism -- there's not a hint of accusations of imperialism. But approaching Shimoda with ships bearing the names "Vandalia" and "Macedonian," no one doubts that Perry's journey was a thinly veiled threat.
The above picture illustrates the view from Nesugatayama, overlooking the bay. Here you can see what the bay actually looks like (or click here for a panorama shot). Notice how much concrete has been added since the mid-19th century!
The city of Shimoda has no reservations about cashing in on their history as a tourist attraction, and Perry's name is everywhere. There are even replicas of Perry's black ships that give tours of the tip of the Izu peninsula. There is a road named after Perry (which is somewhat amusing for those of you who know my family's address -- we live on Perryville Road).
Next to the Shimoda Marina sits a bust of Perry, along with the very anchor that he gave Japan upon the signing of the treaty. Elsewhere in the city was another anchor given to the city by a captain of the US Navy in celebration of the anniversary in the 1980s.
And, several cannons from Perry's ship remain in the city also.
Aizendo is a new Buddhist construction on top of Nesugatayama. It is a replica (two-thirds the original size) of a similar temple from Nara.
Although I'm not familiar with the exact history, Shimoda is famous for its "Nameko" wall constructed with dark slate and white wooden cross pieces. This design is used all over the city, and this house is just one such example.
I thought this was rather sweet -- the dog looks so cuddly, but the sign says "I bite -- don't touch me!"
After a night in Shimoda, I took a ferry early Sunday morning to the Island of Kozu. Continue by clicking the tabs below.