Yokohama is Japan’s second largest city with a population of over three million. Yokohama is located less than half an hour south of Tokyo by train, and is the capital of Kanagawa Prefecture. Yokohama’s population of 3.7 million makes it Japan’s largest incorporated city. Yokohama developed rapidly as Japan’s prominent port city following the end of Japan’s relative isolation in the mid-19th century, and is today one of its major ports along with Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya, Hakata, Tokyo, and Chiba.
Yokohama was a small fishing village up to the end of the feudal Edo period, when Japan held a policy of national seclusion, having little contact with foreigners. A major turning point in Japanese history happened in 1853–54, when Commodore Matthew Perry arrived just south of Yokohama with a fleet of American warships, demanding that Japan open several ports for commerce, and the Tokugawa shogunate agreed by signing the Treaty of Peace and Amity. Port facilities were built across the inlet in the sleepy fishing village of Yokohama. The Port of Yokohama was officially opened on June 2, 1859.Read More
US fleet at Yokohama
To protect British commercial and diplomatic interests in Yokohama a military garrison was established in 1862. With the growth in trade increasing numbers of Chinese also came to settle in the city.Recreational sports introduced to Japan by foreign residents in Yokohama included European style horse racing in 1862, cricket in 1863 and rugby union in 1866. A great fire destroyed much of the foreign settlement on November 26, 1866 and smallpox was a recurrent public health hazard, but the city continued to grow rapidly attracting both foreigners and local Japanese.After the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the port was developed for trading silk, the main trading partner being Great Britain. Western influence and technological transfer contributed to the establishment of Japan’s first daily newspaper (1870), first gas-powered street lamps (1872) and Japan’s first railway constructed in the same year to connect Yokohama to Shinagawa and Shinbashi in Tokyo.
Yokohama street in 1880
The early 20th century was marked by rapid growth of industry. Entrepreneurs built factories along reclaimed land to the north of the city toward Kawasaki, which eventually grew to be the Keihin Industrial Area. The growth of Japanese industry brought affluence, and many wealthy trading families constructed sprawling residences there, while the rapid influx of population from Japan and Korea also led to the formation of Kojiki-Yato, then the largest slum in Japan.Yokohama was rebuilt, only to be destroyed again by thirty-odd U.S. air raids during World War II. An estimated seven or eight thousand people were killed in a single morning on May 29, 1945 in what is now known as the Great Yokohama Air Raid, when B-29s firebombed the city and in just one hour and nine minutes reduced 42% of it to rubble.
Places Not Miss:
Minato Mirai 21:Read
Minato Mirai 21 is a modern urban development that was created, and continues to evolve, on 186ha of land. With the development of Minato Mirai 21, the two city centers were linked and now form part of the business and central ‘core’ of Yokohama. The name “Minato Mirai 21”, was selected by a public opinion poll, and means “Port of the Future in the 21st century”.
The area is now flourishing as one of the newest urban business districts in the Greater Tokyo Metropolitan area, symbolized by Landmark Tower, Japan’s third tallest skyscraper, the three Queens Square Towers, which contain a large shopping mall, the Pacifico Yokohama convention center, the Intercontinental Hotel, the Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris wheel, and more. Next to Landmark Tower is the Yokohama Museum of Art.
Minato Mirai is blessed with a great location along the water and has a wealth of attractions. Visitors to the area will be able to find shopping centers, hotels, a convention center, an amusement park, a relaxation center with hot spring baths, museums and park space. Minato Mirai 21 is full of great experiences. The liberating expanse of Tokyo Bay and the dynamic appeal of the contemporary architecture contribute to the area’s strikingly unusual beauty, which you can enjoy from the elegant surroundings of several first-class hotels. For the shopper, more than 600 stores offer an astonishingly broad selection of goods ranging from top fashion brands to animation character merchandise. Apart from excellent Japanese cuisine, delicious food from around the world is available at more than 200 restaurants. Theme parks offer exciting rides, parks a place to sit and enjoy the seascape. Packed with pleasure, Minato Mirai 21 is a fun place to visit with family and friends at any time of year, on any occasion, and for so many different reasons.
Yokohama Chinatown is the largest Chinatown not only in Japan but also in Asia and it is one of the largest in the world. There are roughly 250 Chinese-owned/themed shops and restaurants scattered throughout the district, with the highest concentration centered on a 300 square metre area.Yokohama Chinatown quickly developed, after the port of Yokohama had been one of the first Japanese ports to be opened to foreign trade in 1859. It became the residence of the many Chinese traders who settled down in the city. Today, there are more businesses than actual residents living in the area
There are 2 main Chinese temples found in Yokohama Chinatown. The largest Chinese temple in Yokohama Chinatown is called Mazu Miao Temple and is located directly across from the China Museum. The Mazu Temple was opened on 17thh March 2006. Mazu, the Goddess of the Sea is worshipped at the Mazu Temple.
The main attraction of the Yokohama Chinatown, however, is the cuisine offered at its many restaurants and food stands. Popular favorites include steamed buns (manju), ramen noodles and a wide array of other Chinese dishes, many of which have been Japanized to a certain degree.
It is where international cruise ships dock when they visit Yokohama. The 400 meter pier has walkways and green spaces that are open to the general public, making Osanbashi Pier an interesting attraction even for travelers not boarding a ship.
Its bold new design incorporates grass and floor boards that mimic rolling waves. The pier is one of Yokohama’s best spots for a walk, and for unobstructed views of the Minato Mirai skyline. Below the walking area there are boarding facilities, shops, restaurants and a hall for small exhibitions and events.
Major cruise ships such as the Queen Elizabeth 2 were at one time embarked here, although 90,000 GWT ships such as MS Queen Elizabeth are often obliged to use nearby container terminals owing to their enormous size. The pier is also known as one of the best places to see the Yokohama Three Towers.
Hakkeijima Sea Paradise:Read
Hakkeijima Sea Paradise is a leisure land surrounded by nature. It is located at the tip of Yokohama Bay and is a new generation style amusement park.
Aqua Museum is a conventional aquarium where visitors are able to view walruses, dolphins, sea lions, seals, polar bears, whale sharks, giant turtles, sea otters and many other sea creatures. There are also daily marine mammals shows in which animals put on a series of performances.
Visitors have the option of buying a day pass or paying for each attraction separately. With 4,770,000 visitors in 2007, it ranks sixth among Asian amusement parks in terms of attendance. It is 22 years old.
Sankei-en is a traditional Japanese-style garden in Naka Ward, Yokohama, Japan, which opened in 1906. Sankei-en was designed and built by Tomitaro Hara (原富太郎?) (1868–1939), known by the pseudonym Sankei Hara, who was a silk trader. Almost all of its buildings are historically significant structures bought by Hara himself in locations all over the country, among them Tokyo, Kyoto, Kamakura, Gifu Prefecture, and Wakayama prefecture. Ten have been declared Important Cultural Property, and three more are Tangible Cultural Properties of Japan designated by the City of Yokohama.
The garden was built by Hara Sankei and opened to the public in 1904. Among the historic buildings exhibited in the park are an elegant daimyo (feudal lord) residence, several tea houses and the main hall and three storied pagoda of Kyoto’s old Tomyoji Temple.