Temple Bell, Annapolis

Temple Bell, Annapolis

Installed in a specially constructed belfry, to the left of Bancroft's Hall entrance to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, is a large bronze replica of the Temple Bell that United States Commodore, Matthew Perry, brought back from Japan following his mission there in 1855. This bell was among the items “given” to Commodore Perry, upon his explicit request, by the Regent of the Ryukyu Kingdom during the fourth and final exchange of gifts between the U.S. and the Kingdom on 11 July 1854. Attesting to this is a commemorative plaque with the inscription "Replica of the Temple Bell presented in 1854 to Commodore M. C. Perry, USN by the Regent of the Lew Chew Islands (Okinawa)".

Otherwise known as the Gokoku-ji, the original bell, cast in 1456, for many years remained at the Academy, presented here in 1859, by the Commodore’s wife, after his death, according to his wish. The inscriptions on this bell read: “Daiku Emon-no-jo Fujiwara Kunimitsu” (The [Japanese] Imperial Official Master Metalworker, Fujiwara Kunimitsu); “Keitai shichi-sai” (the seventh year of the Ming dynasty Ching t’ai period [1456]), along with a lengthy votive epitaph. In translation it says in part: “May the sound of this bell shatter illusory dreams, perfect the souls of mankind, and enable the King and his subjects to live so virtuously that barbarians will find no occasion to invade the kingdom.”

Both, the original bell and its replica have played a role in the U.S. Naval Academy traditions, ringing to celebrate each time the Navy defeated the US Army in an annual football game between the teams of USMA and USNA.

On 22 July 1987 the original Gokoku-ji bell was returned to Okinawa, Japan, courtesy of retired Marine Maj. Gen. James L. Day, who successfully led the return negotiations. It is now displayed in the Okinawa Prefectural Museum at Naha.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Annapolis. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Temple Bell on Map

Sight Name: Temple Bell
Sight Location: Annapolis, USA (See walking tours in Annapolis)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Annapolis, Maryland

Create Your Own Walk in Annapolis

Create Your Own Walk in Annapolis

Creating your own self-guided walk in Annapolis is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Best Pubs and Taverns in Annapolis

Best Pubs and Taverns in Annapolis

As Annapolis is the sailing capital of Maryland, the city enjoys numerous exciting places offering great beer and seafood till late at night. There are pubs, saloons and bars, the majority of them hosting live music nights, as well as different contests. This self guided tour introduces you to the best bars and pubs in Annapolis.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles
Annapolis Historical Houses Tour

Annapolis Historical Houses Tour

Having served as the capital of both the Colony/Province and the State of Maryland, Annapolis is rich in history, predating the Revolutionary War by decades, and is one of the first planned cities in colonial America. Although many structures from that era are either gone, destroyed by neglect, or completely renovated, several magnificent 18th century homes are still in place and retain their...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Naval Academy Campus Walking Tour

Naval Academy Campus Walking Tour

Established in 1845 under George Bancroft, the US Naval Academy is Annapolis' most prominent complex, situated right at the confluence of Severn River and Chesapeake Bay. The Academy's campus has on its territory some of the most beautiful structures in the city. Follow this self-guided walk to explore a variety of attractions, including the museum, outstanding buildings, monuments, the...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Annapolis Introduction Walking Tour

Annapolis Introduction Walking Tour

Located on the banks of the Severn River, which flows into the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland’s state capital Annapolis, also dubbed “America’s Sailing Capital”, thrives on its nautical roots and colonial history. The town has more 18th century buildings still in use than any other U.S. city. Annapolis is also home to multiple cultural and historic sites, such as the fabulous Kunta Kinte-Alex...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles