History of Shimoda

Shimoda has been settled since prehistoric times, with numerous Jomon period remains found within city limits. It is mentioned in Nara period documents as the location to which Prince ?tsu was exiled in 686 after his failed rebellion, and in Heian period documents in reference to its iron ore deposits. During the Sengoku period it was controlled by the H?j? clan, who built a castle (later destroyed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi). Under the Tokugawa shogunate, Shimoda was tenry? territory directly administered by the Shogun. During the Edo period, Shimoda prospered as a seaport, and was a major port of call for coastal vessels travelling between Osaka and Edo. Until 1721, as a security measure, all vessels were obligated to call at Shimoda before proceeding on to Edo.

During the Bakumatsu period, Shimoda port was opened to American trade under the conditions of the Convention of Kanagawa, negotiated by Commodore Matthew Perry and signed on March 31, 1854. Shimoda was also the site of Yoshida Sh?in's unsuccessful attempt to board Perry's 'black ships' in 1854.

The first American Consulate in Japan was opened at the temple of Gyokusen-ji under Consul General Townsend Harris. Harris negotiated the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the two countries, which was signed at nearby Ry?sen-ji in 1858.

Japan's relations with Imperial Russia were also negotiated in Shimoda, and in 1855 the Treaty of Shimoda was signed at Ch?raku-ji.

However, in June 1859, with the opening of the port of Yokohama to foreign trade, the port of Shimoda was again closed and the American consulate was relocated to Zenpuku-ji in Edo.

After the Meiji Restoration, Shimoda came under the control of the short-lived Kikuma Domain in 1868, and the equally short-lived Ashigara Prefecture from 1871. The Mikomotoshima Lighthouse was completed in 1870 by British engineer Richard Henry Brunton. It is currently the oldest functioning lighthouse in Japan and is now a National