Yokosuka City has long played an important role in the history of the Japanese navy. When Commodore Matthew Perry landed at the Port of Yokosuka in 1853, Japan’s modernization era began. Today, the naval facilities at the Port of Yokosuka are used by both United States and Japanese military. Because the US had already selected the Port of Yokosuka for its post-war naval base, the Port of Yokosuka did not suffer the heavy bombing that befell other Japanese cities. Visitors to the city will want to check out these sites.
In 1865, the Tokugawa Shogunate asked French engineer Francois Leonce Verny to design the Yokosuka Arsenal, a facility for building and repairing ships, in the Port of Yokosuka. When Verny completed the Arsenal, he also oversaw the construction of the Hashirimizu Waterworks and the Kannonzaki Lighthouse, establishing the Port of Yokosuka as a leader in Japanese modernization. Verny Park recognizes his achievements and contribution to Japan’s development. With French gardens, the park overlooks the site of the Arsenal. The park contains rose gardens, arbors, and many cherry blossom trees. Its waterfront boardwalk offers relaxing strolls. In the center of the park are statues of Verny and Oguri Kozukenosuke Tadamasa, a magistrate of the Tokugawa Shogunate who was instrumental in realizing the projects.
Within Tokyo Bay, Sarushima Island is the only natural island. Until the end of World War II, it was a military fort closed to civilians. Today, ferries make regular trips from the Port of Yokosuka’s Mikasa Wharf to the island where visitors can explore the remains of the fort, fish, picnic, or swim. Each spring and autumn, you can enjoy a fishing contents on the island.
Visitors will love the Port of Yokosuka’s Kurihama Hana-no-Kuni Flower World, where they will find a foot spa, a herb garden, a playground, a golf course, an archery range, and an air-rifle range. Couples can visit the Well of Love. But the park is famous for its flowers: over a million poppies bloom in May and June, and beautiful cosmos flowers bless the park in September and October.
The Kannonzaki Lighthouse was Japan’s first western-style lighthouse. Constructed in the Port of Yokosuka in 1868 under the instruction of Verny, its beacon was lit in 1869. Today, a third-generation lighthouse will watches over Tokyo Bay. The exhibition room contains some items from the original lighthouse that was destroyed by an earthquake in 1923.
Visitors to the Port of Yokosuka will want to see the Battleship Mikasa, Admiral Togo’s flagship during the Russo-Japanese war of the early 20th Century. The ship led the destruction of Russian forces in the Battle of Tsushima. While the surrounding Mikasa Park is free, admission to the battleship costs 500 yen.