After hundreds of years of self-imposed isolation, Commodore Matthew Perry and his Black Ships sailed into Japanese waters, demanding the country open to trade. Shimoda History Museum marks the catalytic events of the 1850s that led to a period of rapid Westernization in Japan, of which Shimoda was at the epicenter.
The museum is accessible by train and on foot. The museum is an approximately eight-minute walk from Izu-kyu Shimoda Station. Shimoda can be reached by local train or Shinkansen from Tokyo.
Take the JR Shinkansen Tokaido Line for about one hour to JR Atami Station, then change to the JR Line bound for Ito Station. The final leg on the Izu Kyuko Line reaches Shimoda Station in approximately an hour.
The museum houses more than 1,000 artifacts, including Perry's personal possessions, early photographs, and woodblock prints
Located a short distance from Perry Road, with charming shops and cafés
Housed in a traditional merchant residence, Shimoda History Museum tells the story of the dramatic arrival of Commodore Perry in Japan and the negotiations that followed. This museum is a must-see destination if you are interested in the development of modern Japan.
A visit to the museum is not complete without also exploring the two temples in the area. A few minutes' walk away the museum is Ryosen-ji, where the Treaty of Amity and Commerce was eventually signed two years later and has pleasant grounds in which to walk. Gyokusen-ji Temple is where the first American consulate was established and contains a small museum dedicated to Townsend Harris. It is best to take a taxi here.