Sea-bathing Place at Ito, Shizuoka Prefecture, c. 1930.

1930sAmusements & RecreationsOutside Tokyo
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“Itō is one of the well known hot spring resort resort towns near the greater Tokyo metropolis, and tourism is the mainstay of the economy.

“It was in this area that the Tokugawa Shogunate ordered Englishman William Adams to construct Japan’s first Western-style sailing vessels in 1604. The first ship, an 80-ton vessel, was used for surveying work; the second ship, the 120-ton San Buena Ventura, was sailed to Mexico. The period is commemorated in Itō by a street named after Adams (Anjinmiura-dori).

“The area was reorganized into four villages (Tsushima, Itō, Komuro and Usami) within Kamo District the cadastral reform of the early Meiji period in 1889, and were transferred to Tagata District in 1896. On January 1, 1906 the village of Itō was elevated to town status.”


Sea-bathing Place at Ito, Shizuoka Prefecture, c. 1930.

“In 1600 an English sailor named Williams Adams, who had served with Drake and fought the Spanish Armada, had arrived in Japan. The Dutch ship he was on, drifting and desperate with its crew starving, had dropped anchor. Adams was rescued by Japanese fishermen and taken to the nearest authority, the future shogun, Ieyasu.

“For the Portuguese, who were on the way toward converting an astonishing half-million Japanese to Roman Catholicism, the arrival of a bedraggled English heretic was not welcome. With true Christian thoughtfulness, the Jesuits suggested to Ieyasu that they crucify Adams.

“Instead, the open-minded ruler cross-questioned the Englishman about ships, God and mathematics, and appointed him his adviser. Ieyasu was intrigued by the idea of building up a powerful ocean fleet of his own, and in 1605 Adams oversaw the construction of two excellent European-style ocean-going ships at a new dockyard at Ito.”

A History of the World, Andrew Marr, 2012

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