At the bottom of the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture, south-west of Yokohama, is Shimoda. From 1634, Japan was under sakoku, or seclusion policy, of the Tokugawa shogunate in which no foreigner could enter or leave the country (no Japanese could leave either for that matter). This ended with the arrival, in 1854, of Commodore Matthew C. Perry and his ‘black ships’, the like of which had never been seen in Japan before. This lead to the signing of a Treaty of Peace and Amity which established the first foreign embassy on Japanese soil, the end of sakoku, and, eventually in 1868, to the downfall of the shogunate itself.
This is Ryosenji where the Treaty was signed. There is a large collection of items about Perry and the black ships. I find it interesting that such a momentous event took place in such a modest building:
Now, Shimoda is back to being the sleepy port it ever was. This is the small harbour:
The town is also quite pleasant to wander around: