Black Ship Festival in Shimoda

Black Ship Festival in Shimoda

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

Perry and his Black Ships dropped by Shimoda after the successful signing of the Amity Treaty in 1854. He inspected the designated international port and determined 13 rules of usage of port and facility as an appendix to the Treaty.

To commemorate Perry’s visit and his achievement, Shimoda City hosts an annual Black Ship Festival in late May.

During the 3-day festival, you can see a historical reenactment of the signing ceremony and a parade featuring  people in classical American naval uniforms and kimono, as well as an open bazaar, concerts, a fireworks display and more.
It’s one of Shimoda’s livelier events and a celebration of the U.S.-Japan’s historical connection.

The Black Ship Festival (Kurofune Matsuri)
Location: Shimoda City, Shizuoka Pref.
Festival Period: May 17-19
Tel: 0558-22-1531, 0558-22-3913

May 17, p.m.

  • Flower Offering to the monument of Perry’s arrival (Perry Memorial Park)
  • Concert of U.S. Seventh Fleet Band (Gyokusenji Temple and KIZUNA Square)
  • Memorial Service in front of tombs of Perry’s crews (Gyokusenji Temple)
  • Hawaiian Dance Performance (Madogahama Beach Park)
  • Fireworks display (Shimoda Port)

May 18, a.m.

  • Demonstration flight by Japanese Self Defense Force and Japan Cost Guard aircrafts
  • Commemoration Ceremony of Perry’s Arrival (Shimoda Park)
  • Parade (main streets in the city)

May 18, p.m.

  • Historical Reenactment of signing of Shimoda Treaty (Ryosenji temple)
  • Kimono Fashion Show (Ryosenji temple)
  • Commemoration Luncheon (Tokyu Hotel)
  • Performances of traditional Japanese Dance, Kurofune-Ondo and taiko drum (City Culture Hall Parking Lots) 
  • Kurofune Sunset Concert – a concert of Big Wing Jazz Orchestra by members of JMSDF Band and the Seventh Fleet Band (City Culture Hall)
  • Fireworks display (Shimoda Port)
  • Nigiwai Concert (City Cultural Hall Parking Lots)

May 19, a.m.

  • Nigiwai Concert (City Cultural Hall Parking Lots)
  • Nigiwai Parade (Main streets in the city)

May 19, p.m.

  • Historical re-enactment of signing Shimoda Treaty (City Cultural Hall Parking Lots) 
  • Historical Costume Show (City Cultural Hall Parking Lots) 
  • Performances of Kaikoku Yosakoi and T.C. Dance Company (City Cultural Hall Parking Lots)
  • Kodomo Taiko Drum Performance (Michinoeki Kaikoku Shimoda Minato) 
  • Japan-US Friendship Tug of War (Michinoeki Kaikoku Shimoda Minato)

Other events on planning include:

  • Open market (Market Street)
  • Open house of JMSDF Minesweeper
  • Art exhibitions

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