Latest Observation

2010.07.07 Wed

Uraga and Yokosuka, Japan

The Miura Peninsula and Its Surroundings
The Miura Peninsula and Its Surroundings

caption on

caption off

Fig. 1. The Miura Peninsula and Its Surroundings

Figure 1 is an image of the Miura Peninsula and its surroundings taken by ALOS (Daichi) on September 6, 2009. The Uraga channel, a gateway to Tokyo Bay between the Miura Peninsula (on the left) and the Bouso Peninsula (on the right), is visible in the center of the image. Over 500 ships, including cargo ships, container ships, and tankers, pass through the channel each day, making it one of the busiest sea routes in the world.

Uraga and Kurihama are famous in Japan for being the location where Commodore Perry’s fleet first landed. Uraga, Kurihama, and Yokosuka are located on the east side of the Miura Peninsula and face the Uraga channel. The Kan-nonzaki lighthouse, the first Western style lighthouse in Japan, was built at the eastern end of the Peninsula in 1868. Tokyo Bay Marine Traffic Center, located 250 meter from the lighthouse, provides traffic information to ships and controls them while they are in Tokyo Bay. Both facilities contribute to the navigational safety of ships in the Uraga channel.

Uraga and Kurihama
Uraga and Kurihama

caption on

caption off

Fig. 2. Uraga and Kurihama

Uraga and Kurihama (kmz, 4.3 MB, Low Resolution) as seen on Google Earth

Figure 2 is an enlarged image of Uraga and Kurihama on the east side of the Miura Peninsula.  Four ships of the U.S. East India Squadron, led by Commodore Perry, crossed the Atlantic, stoppingat Cape Town, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Okinawa and the Ogasawara Islands, before arriving at Uraga Harbor on July 8, 1853. Perry’s arrival at Uraga surprised and confused Japan. A famous comic tanka (a style of Japanese poetry) was composed as “Awoken from the sleep of a peaceful quiet world by Jokisen tea, drinking only four cups of tea, one cannot sleep even at night,” which jokingly commemorates the landing (see below). The Tokugawa Shogunate ordered Perry to land at Kurihama, one cape south from Uraga, and he landed there on July 14, 1853. The Tokugawa Shogunate received the letter from the President of the United States and promised Perry to respond it next year.

Commodore Perry returned to Japan in February, 1854 and the Convention of Kanagawa was concluded. Perry’s arrival triggered the opening of Japan to the world and paved the way to the Meiji restoration. There are now a monument to the landing and a museum at Kurihama.

A comic tanka, “Awoken from sleep of a peaceful quiet world…”

“Awoken from the sleep of a peaceful quiet world by Jokisen tea, drinking only four cups of tea, one cannot sleep even at night.”
This famous comic “tanka” has two meanings through the use of Japanese homophones. “Jokisen” is the name of an excellent brand name and also means “steamships” in Japanese. The word “hai” means cup and is also used to count ships. The word “taihei” means “peaceful quiet world” and also means “Pacific Ocean.”Therefore, this “tanka” also has the meaning “only four steamships upset the Tokugawa regime.” In reality, the confusion caused by Perry’s fleet was a fiction. The Tokugawa Shogunate had already received word of Perry’s impending arrival through the Netherlands but the Japanese officials in the area were unable to prevent the common people from seeing the arrival of the ships which led to the confusion.

Perry’s Landing Monument

A retired midshipman from Perry’s fleet, Mr. Beardslee, later revisited Kurihama and was shocked to find that there was nothing to indicate that this was the spot of Perry’s landing. Through Beardslee’s work, a monument to commemorate Perry’s landing was constructed in 1901 by the Friends of America Association. Hirobumi Ito, Japan’s first Prime Minister, wrote the words which were inscribed upon the monument.

Yokosuka and Its Surroundings
Yokosuka and Its Surroundings

caption on

caption off

Fig. 3. Yokosuka and Its Surroundings

Figure 3 shows Yokosuka and its surroundings. Uraga and Kurihama belong to Yokosuka city. Yokosuka faces Tokyo Bay in the east and Sagami Bay in the west. The image is of central Yokohama on Tokyo Bay.
With the help of France, the Tokugawa Shogunate constructed an ironworks at Yokosuka, a small fishing village at the time. The Yokosuka ironworks was transformed into anaval factory by the Meiji Government and became a leading military city in the world. The Mikasa Park is seen in the middle of the image. The battleship Mikasa was the Japanese flagship during the Russo-Japanese War. The battleship Mikasa isdisplayed at the Park and can be seen in the enlarged image. Saru-shima (Monkey Island) is seen to the east of the Mikasa Park. The Saru-shima is the only natural island in Tokyo Bay. A fortress was constructed on the island at the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate period and the remains can be visited by ferry from Mikasa Park. Saru-shima is a popular spot for swimming, barbecuing, and fishing.

Hakkeijima Sea Paradise amusement park is visible in the upper part of the image. Hakkeijima Sea Paradise is an artificial island belonging to Yokohama City.The headquarters of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology is located on reclaimed land below Hakkeijima. The research center has facilities such as a high-pressure test tank and a pier where marine research vessels are moored.

Saru-shima (Monkey Island)

Saru-shima was originally called “Toyo-shima” until the year 1253 when a holy Buddhist priestnamed Nichiren sailed from Chiba district to Kamakura.. His ship was damaged by a typhoon and almost sank. During the emergency, the priest chanted a prayer and a white monkey suddenly appeared and led him safely to the island. After this event, the island was called the Monkey Island. Ancient ruins have also been excavated on the island.

Explanation of the Images:

Satellite: Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) (Daichi)
Sensor: Advanced Visible and Near Infrared Radiometer-2 (AVNIR-2)
Panchromatic Remote-sensing Instrument for Stereo Mapping (PRISM)
Date: 01:36 (UTC) on September 6, 2009 (AVNIR-2, PRISM)
Ground resolution: 10 m (AVNIR-2) and 2.5 m (PRISM)
Map Projection: Universal Transversal Mercator (UTM)

AVNIR-2 has four observation bands. The color composite images are produced by assigning red to Band 3 (610 to 690 nm), green to Band 2 (520 to 600 nm) and blue to Band 1 (420 to 500 nm). The resulting images have natural coloring as if seen by the naked eye. Each color indicates the following ground objects;

Dark green: Forests
Bright Green: Grass fields
Bright Grey: Urban areas
Brown: Landfills
Blue: Sea surface
White: Clouds or buildings

PRISM is an optical sensor for observing ground surfaces with visible and near-infrared signals in the 520- to 770-nanometer (one-billionth of a meter) band. The image is monochromatic but has a higher resolution. PRISM has three independent optical systems to acquire images in the view of nadir, forward, and backward simultaneously. Only the nadir images are used in these figures.

The above AVNIR-2 color composite image is decomposed into, hue, saturation, and intensity. The intensity portion is replaced by PRISM data. The hue, saturation, and intensity data are then reversed into a color image. This color image has a virtual 2.5-m resolution. A color image composed by combining a higher resolution monochromatic image and a lower resolution color image is called a pan-sharpened image.

Hakodate, Japan – Celebrating 150 Years of Opening its Port to the World

Stay Connected