Shimoda, Japanese resort place and its symbol, Kurofune


Shimoda is one of the Japanese resort places.
and Shimoda tourism symbol is Kurofune.

I would like to share about Shimoda and Kufonne.

Overview about  Shimoda

First of all, I would introduce Shimoda.
Shimoda is located in the coastal area. And Shimoda has several beaches.
So many people visit Shimoda, especially in Summer.

Izu Peninsula

Shimoda is located in the Izu Peninsula.
Shimoda is not so far from Tokyo.
It takes about 3 or 4 hours by train or car.
So many people from Tokyo visit Shimoda.

Because Shimoda is located in the coastal area, we could eat many seafood there.
Ise-Ebi spiny lobster is famous in the southern part of Izu Peninsula. And some fishes and some shells are also famous.

Shimoda is also famous for Onsen or hot spring.
Japanese love onsen very much.
This picture is an outdoor onsen bathtub. We can be relaxed by onsen under the sky.

By the way, on onsen, you have to take off all your clothes, but it’s not easy to be seen, please don’t worry.

Symbol of Shimoda tourism = Kurofune

And if you visit Shimoda, you would find the word “Kurofune” anywhere.
“Kurofune” is a symbol of Shimoda tourism.

What is Kurofune?

So, what is Kurofune?

Kurofune’s literal meaning is black ships.
kuro means black and fune means ships.

Kurofune Cruse

We can enjoy the Kurofune sightseeing cruise for 20 minutes from Shimoda port.

Seagulls follow cruise ships, so we can feed snacks to Seagulls. It is very fun.

Kurofune Hotel

In front of Shimoda port, there is Kurofune Hotel.

Kurofune Museum (the Museum of Black Ship)

There is Kurofune Museum in Shimoda.

Why Kurofune is a symbol of Shimoda tourism?

There is historical meaning in it.
Kurofune are American vessels that arrived in Japan in the middle of the 19th century.
Because they were painted in black, the Japanese called them Kuro-Fune

At First, four Kurofune with Commodore Perry came to Uraga located in Kanagawa prefecture in 1853.

Original caption: Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry (1794-1858), the man who "opened Japan." From undated daguerreotype by Mathew Brady. ca. late 1850s USA

Japanese were very surprised because Kurofune were very big, and Japanese were afraid to be attacked.
And American Commodore Perry required Japan to open the country.
Because Japan had closed to other countries in that period. Its policy is called Sakoku.

Japan had adopted “Sakoku” policy

sakoku’s Liitteral meaning is like this.

  • sa means chain
  • koku means nation
    Japan had adopted sakoku policy for over 200 years.
Japan on world map: surrounding countries and location on Asia map
Japan on world map: surrounding countries and location on Asia map - Japan is the third-largest economy in the world (see map).

So Japan was confused by Kurofune, And Japan said to Perry, please wait a while to open the country.
And Kurofune with Perry went back this time.

Next year, Kurofune with Perry came again

Next year Kurofune came again. Commodore Perry required Japan to open the country again. At this time, Japan couldn’t hold the closing country and at last, Japan promised to open 2 ports including Shimoda port and Hakodate port for America.

“Sakoku” was finished.

This event triggered Japan to open to other countries, including Britain, Holland, Russia and France.
And Sakoku was finished.

During the Sakoku period, the origin of modern Japanese culture was growing up,

Effects of Sakoku Period

Japan had continued sakoku policy for over 200 years.
In this Sakoku period, Japanese culture was growing up.

Ukiyo-e ⇒ Manga

For example, In sakoku period, Ukiyo-e was developed very much.
Ukiyo-e is Japanese Woodblock Printing. It is thought of as the origin of Manga.

Kabuki ⇒ Anime

Kabuki was also developed in sakoku period very much.
Kabuki is Japanese performing arts.
Someone says kabuki influence anime.

“Kurofune” is used to some threats from a foreign country.

Word Kuro-fune is sometimes used as a metaphor for something threat come to japan from a foreign country.


Konishiki was a sumo wrestler. Sumo is Japanese national martial arts.
So many sumo wrestlers are Japanese.
But Kunishiki is from Hawaii, America.
And he is very tall and big.
Japanese sumo wrestlers were very afraid of Konishiki.
So Japanese mass media call Konishiki Kurofune.

Konishiki has succeeded as Sumo wrestler. He became Ozeki or second grade of champion.
After he retiered sumo, he has turned into a popular Japanese entertainer. He has been loved by Japanese very much. No one call him Kurofune, now.


Before iPhone appeared, There were many various mobile phones that Japanese vendors had made.
But iPhone was so innovative products, Japanese mobile phone industry call iPhone Kurofune.

And you know, iPhone has become the most popular mobile phone in Japan.
Now Japanese old-style mobile phone is called as 'Galapagos phones' with irony.
Because Japanese old-style mobile phone look like unique animals that had been evaluated in Galapagos Islands.


So word Kurofune has lived over 150 years.
It tells the event that Kurofune came to Japan is a very important.

You can also watch the video about this blog.