HAKODATE, Hokkaido (Kyodo) The refurbished Old British Consulate of Hakodate was opened to the public Sunday as the Hokkaido city this year celebrates the 150th anniversary of the opening of its port.
The consulate had been a tourist attraction since it was converted in 1992 as a memorial structure introducing the history of Hakodate port, which opened in 1859 along with Yokohama and Nagasaki as Japan’s first sea trade gateways.
Visitors can get a glimpse of what the port and the world were like 150 years ago with a huge map painted on the first-story floor, which also charts the courses followed by U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry, who compelled Japan to open to the West.
The second floor features various exhibits and attractions, including a re-creation of the consul’s office and living room.
The building, used by British consuls from 1859 to 1934, drew an annual peak of 115,000 visitors in the mid-1990s, but the number started to decline,
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