A zen temple, Gyokusenji is located in Shimoda, Shizuoka. This was where the first American consulate in Japan was placed. Japan had closed the country from the 17th to the mid-19th centuries. During that period, Japan developed in the unique way but fell far behind Western countries in industry and technology. The U.S Commodore Matthew Perry and his black fleet made Japanese gape and forced the country to open in 1854. Then Townsent Harris was deployed as the first consul to Shimoda, a small seaside town in 1856.
Harris left a diary. It shows that he was struggling to fit into his new life in this far-east country.
On the temple compounds you could see the graves of American and Russian crews (they are buried separately) who died during their long voyages. Though they must have wanted to return to their home, I hope they like this scenic hot spring town now.
The then U.S President Jimmy Carter and his family visited this temple in 1979.