A couple of weeks ago I passed through the city of Shimoda on the east coast of Izu peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture. Shimoda and its harbor are mostly famous these days for being the place where Japan was finally opened to the outside world, partly with the gunship diplomacy of US Commodore Perry and his black ships in 1854. The first US consulate was established at a temple here in Shimoda in the same year. Today Shimoba harbor is much less exciting than those 150 years earlier, but I still found some interesting ships in harbor, the prime being the beautiful Coast Guard vessel Kano, a Tokara Class Medium Patrol Vessel. There is also a tourist ship “dressed up” to look like one of the 1840 era American black ships, and most of my friends who visit Shimoda feel a trip on this ship is mandatory. I was in a hurry though, and did not have time to do anything else than take these pictures and stock up on local produce at the excellent farmers (fishmongers) market at other end of the harbor! I will have to visit Shimoda again.
Here’s the proud PC-16, or Patrol Boat Suzutsuki of the Japan Coast Guard coming in to port in Yokohama earlier this month. A very foggy day, the name of this vessel actually means “clear moon”, 涼月 in Japanese. She is an old ship, having been around since 1950 she was one of the first of the newly restored Coast Guard after the war, but still serving her country. Interestingly her main mission is not stealth, or she wouldn’t have been equipped with a rolling text signage board and huge loudspeakers. I saw so many wrecked coast guard vessels after the big tsunami in March, it feels good to see the ships that survived working hard!