This is Stanley, an internship student at Local Travel Partners.
Thank you for visiting our blog post.
Today, let me introduce Shimoda Black Ship Festival in Shimoda City, Izu Peninsula.
The Shimoda Black Ship Festival – otherwise known as Kurofune Matsuri – is a festival held yearly in Shimoda city, located at the tip of the Izu peninsula.
It is one of the most famous festivals held in the area, dating back all the way to 1934.
It is held on the 3rd weekend of May every year, and in 2023 they will be hosting their 84th festival.
The festival is held in commemoration of the arrival of the U.S. Navy led by Commodore Perry in 1854.
The Navy arrived in black ships, hence the naming of the festival.
The festival celebrates the achievements of Japanese and foreign pioneers in Shimoda that helped open the port city and contributed to world peace.
Nowadays, the festival is a lively celebration downtown; Japanese food stalls or yatai line the streets with delicious local and international treats, whilst people dress up as Commodore Perry and other historical figures.
There is even a Navy Parade in the main street that livens up the festival even more.
Among the massive celebrations is a huge fireworks show above the waters of the coast, and a re-enactment play of the arrival of the black ships and Commodore Perry’s crew.
The festival really makes onlookers feel as if they were sent back hundreds of years into the past.
However, the festival days are not only for celebration, as the people of Shimoda city do not forget their history.
For example, the festival is opened with a memorial ceremony to pray for international peace. Furthermore, at the “The Cemetery of the Crew of Black Ships” a graveyard service is held every year at the beginning of the festival.
Overall, the festival is a fantastic celebration of a mixture of cultures, the long-lasting friendship of two nations, and the historical significance of the Shimoda area.
If you ever have the chance to visit during the season, I highly recommend you to check it out!