A temple full of American jasmines is where the national relations between Japan and the United States started
For over 200 years since 1639 until the arrival of Matthew Perry of the U.S. Navy, Japan had almost no foreign relations and was in a state of “Sakoku (national isolation).” However, Perry arrived in Japan with his squadron of warships and demanded opening of the country from Japan. Japan was pressed to open the door to the world. At the arrival of Perry in 1853, Tokugawa Shogunate which was holding central authority in Japan asked for one-year time span before starting a negotiation on the opening of the country fearing the American invasion of Japan. However, in 1854, Japan finally proposed to open the Port of Shimoda. Shimoda was a port where ships could sail into safely from ocean and was fitting to diplomacy.
Perry with his squadron of warships arrived in Shimoda immediately.
Since 1635 when Ryosen-ji Temple was founded, the temple has been loved by people. It is said it has the power to heal eye problems. It is close to the Port of Shimoda and the Treaty of Shimoda, a subsidiary treaty of the Treaty of Peace and Amity between Japan and the United States, was signed here when Perry was in Japan.
Today, Ryosen-ji Temple is designated as a national historic site because of its historical value. Various records related to the conclusion of the Treaty of Shimoda are displayed at the Treasure Museum next to the temple.
The approach to the temple is called Perry Road. From mid-May to late May, it will be filled with thousands of American jasmines in full bloom. Many tourists walk along the approach filled with the fragrance of jasmines letting their mind drift back over the history of Shimoda.
Address: 3-12-12, Shichiken-cho, Shimoda, Shizuoka
Hours open to visitors: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Admission Fee: Ryosenji Treasure Museum: 500yen
Closed: 1-3 August, 24-26 December
From Tokyo:[Rail]About 50-min by JR Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Atami Station, about 25-min by JR Ito Line from Atami Station to Ito Station, about 1 hour by Izu Kyuko Line from Ito Station to Izu-kyu Shimoda Station, about 10-min walk from Izu-kyu Shimoda Station