Wednesday, 24 May 2017



Kimi and Elchi in Yokohama

Yokohama is a port city, some 30 kilometers south of Tôkyô at Tôkyô Bay. It is Japan’s second largest city with approx. 3.7 million inhabitants. Yokohama’s past as a center for the exchange with foreign cultures is still very present in the city, which creates a very unique and exciting atmosphere. Moreover, the location on Tôkyô Bay is very beautiful with a certain maritime flair.

In Yokohama there are five major tourist areas: (1)   The futuristic Minato Mirai 21 district, Yokohama’s former harbour ; (2)   The waterfront including Yamashita kôen Park and Ôsanbashi pier  (3)   The hilly Yamate district with its Western houses and the elegant Motomachi Shopping Street on foot of the hill; (4)   Chinatown with its numerous restaurants and magnificent Chinese gates, houses and temples; and (5)  the Kannai area with its impressive monuments and Western boulevards and Isezaki Shopping Mall.

Some history

During the Edo period (1603-1868) Yokohama was not more than a small fishing village. This changed rapidly when Japan – upon pressure from the US – had to open the country for foreign trade. In 1853, four steamships under the command of United States Commodore Matthew C. Perry (1794-1858) arrived at Kanagawa Prefecture, blowing thick smoke into the air, for which reason they were called “Black Ships” (kurobune, 黒船).
Copy of the black ship Susquehanna
Perry presented a letter from the U.S. government with the request to open for trade with the West. Serious rifts occurred within the Japanese government about the question how to deal with the matter. To add weight to his demands, Perry fired blank shots from his cannons, claiming it was for the celebration of America’s Independence Day. The Japanese government who finally realized that they could not win the battle against such technology agreed to accept his letter. Perry left for Hong Kong, promising to return within one year to receive the response. Many Japanese leaders, however, wanted the foreigners to be expelled from the country instead of negotiations. Sonnô jôi (尊王攘夷), “Revere the Emperor, Expel the Barbarians”, was a major slogan amongst those opposing the opening of Japan. In the end, however, those in favor of negotiations gained the upper hand.

Commodore Perry as seen from the Japanese perspective
When Perry returned in 1954 he insisted to drop anchor at the capital of Edo, however, foreigners were not allowed to enter the city, which is why the Japanese proposed Shimoda, in the South of Izu Penisula for treaty negotiations. Perry steadily resisted anchoring in far-away Shimoda and eventually, Yokohama was designated as the negotiation site. The “Japan-US Treaty of Peace and Amity” (Nichi-Bei heiwa jôyaku, 日米和親条約 ) or Kanagawa Treaty (Kanagawa jôyaku、神奈川条約), which granted the Westerners one-sided economical and legal advantages in Japan, was signed in the site adjacent to the current Yokohama Achieves of History in 1854, and the swampland of present-day Yokohama was designated as the foreign settlement. It was decided that port facilities were built in the sleepy fishing village and in 1859 the port officially opened. After that, Yokohama quickly became a hub for foreign trade. With the opening of Japan, many foreigners entered the country and settled here, at first at the low-lying Kannai district, which soon became home to international trading companies and diplomatic missions. Later, Western foreigners inhabited the hilly Yamate district, also referred to as “The Bluff”, which overlooks the city and the port. Many of the foreigners had been in China before, which, after the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, had to open major ports for trade with the West like Hong Kong, Shanghai or Canton at the conclusion of the First Opium War. They brought with them their Chinese cooks, servants, and cashiers. The Chinese were also wanted as interpreters, compradors, tailors, bakers or barbers. They flocked in droves to Japan and soon the Chinese became the most numerous ethnic group in Japan. The Chinese inhabited the backstreets of the foreign settlement, which is today’s Chinatown. Yokohama’s past as a center for the exchange with foreign cultures is still very present in the city, which creates a very unique and exciting atmosphere. Moreover, the location on Tôkyô Bay is very beautiful with a certain maritime flair.


Arriving in Yokohama   

Most people arrive at Yokohama Main Stn. (JR) or at Shin Yokohama Stn. (Shinkansen). Both stations are nor very central. If you arrive by Shinkansen, then take the municipal subway (Blue Line) to Yokohama Stn. or the JR lines to Yokohama Stn. or Kannai Stn. (close to Chinatown). From Yokohama Stn. there are several options: the Minato Mirai Line to Motomachi-Chûkagai (Chinatown), the JR train to Sakuragichô Stn. (Minato Mirai) or Kannai Stn. (Kannai/ Chinatown), the JR Negishi line to Motomachi Ishikawachô Stn. (Yamate-Motomachi/ Chinatown)


(1) Between Yokohama Stn. and Yamashita Park: Minato Mirai 21 (港未来21)

Train service between Yokohama Stn., presentday Sakuragichô Stn., and Shinagawa began on May 7, 1872. However, a new station was built soon thereafter and the old Main Stn. was renamed Sakuragichô Stn. in 1915. The new Yokohama Main Stn. collapsed during the Great Kantô Earthquake of 1923. The third main station, the one at the present site, dates from 1928. Today it is a major interchange railway station, the busiest in Kanagawa prefecture and one of the busiest in the world. There are numerous huge department stores in and around Yokohama Station as well as restaurants, bars and hotels and it has a big underground shopping zone, which is directly connected to surrounding buildings.

Minato Mirai as seen from Yamashita kôen
Between Yokohama Stn. and Yamashita Park, there are several attractions and sightseeing spots, referred to as “Minato Mirai 21”, a seaside urban area in central Yokohama whose name means "harbor of the future". Start the tour from Sakuragichô Stn, East Exit (東口) or from Yokohama Stn., East exit (東口) passing the Nissan Global HQ Gallery.

Minato Mirai 21 was created by the redevelopment of Yokohama harbour with its docks and warehouses. The preservation of early port artifacts has hereby largely guided the development. Minato Mirai has many high-rise buildings, including the Landmark Tower, which was Japan's tallest building from 1993 until 2014: Nearby you will find the Yokohama Museum of Arts (Yokohama bijutsukan, 横浜美術館). The museum shop, which is open to the public, has a variety of good souvenirs.

Yokohama Landmark Tower
In front of Sakuragichô Stn.’s East Exit you will find the Nippon Maru Memorial Park (日本丸メモリアルパーク). The Nippon Maru, “The Swan of the Pacific”, as she was known, is a Japanese museum ship, which is permanently docked in the park and can be visited. The park was converted from a former dockyard (No. 1 Dock) into a wonderful waterfront park in 1985. No. 2 Dock was dismantled and rebuild nearby at the base of the Landmark Tower, known as the Dockyard Garden. Today it hosts numerous bars and restaurants and serves as an event space. Both docks are designated as Important Cultural Properties by the Japanese government.

Rinkô Park (臨港パーく), situated alongside Yokohama Bay, was the first Western-style park in Japan that was opened to the public in 1876. It has a very maritime atmosphere and you can enjoy a beautiful bay view from here. Shaped like a white yacht under sail, Yokohama`s National Convention Hall, The Pacifico is located here. 

Red Brick Warehouses, Yokohama

The Red Brick Warehouses (Akarenga sôko; 赤レンガ倉庫), former government bonded warehouses, which date back to the Meiji era, are today a major tourist spot. They host a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants.

If you are a noodle-lover, you can visit the Cup Noodles Museum, located not far from the Warehouses. From here you can follow the waterfront promenade to Yamashita kôen Park, which is a very pleasant walk.
The homepage of the Cup Noodles Museum, which also provides a map of the area, can be found here…




  (2) Yamashita Kôen Park (山下公園) and Ôsanbashi Pier (大さん橋)

Minato Mirai as seen from Yamashita kôen
Yamashita Kôen stretches about 750 meters along Yokohama’s waterfront. It is nice for a walk, especially in the evening. From here you have the best view of the lights of Minato Mirai with its illuminated Ferris wheel.

Within the park, the Hikawa maru (氷川丸), a former ocean liner that serviced the Yokohama-Seattle/ Vancouver line, has dropped permanent anchor. You can visit the ship and its first-class cabins that were booked by the imperial family and by Charlie Chapin, who traveled on the Hikawa Maru for part of the round the world tour he made in 1932. Very impressive are the public rooms for the first-class travelers, such as the dining room with an original menu card, or the smoking room. If you wish to know how the third-class passengers had to travel, go downstairs and imagine to stay in the belly of the ship throughout the entire journey to the US. The third-class passengers were forbidden to go on deck or to the first- or second-class levels; instead, they helped the crew to prepare the meals for the other passengers in order to kill time and to receive some fresh food.

Yokohama Marine Tower
Marine Tower (横浜マリンタワー) is 106 meters high. It was built in 1961 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Yokohama port’s opening. There is an observation floor on the 30th floor, which affords a Fuji view in winter. We recommend visiting during sunset so you can enjoy beautiful views of Yokohama Bay, Bay Bridge, and Minato Mirai. The tower is especially beautiful when lit at night.

Ôsanbashi Pier and Yamashita kôen
At Ôsanbashi Pier dock international cruise ships  when they visit Yokohama. The pier in the form of a whale is one of Yokohama’s best spots for a walk, and for splendid views to the Minato Mirai district. On a clear day in winter and spring, you can even see the snow-covered Mount Fuji from here. It's extensive, gently curving observation deck with green spaces and walkways make it an interesting attraction.

Hotel New Grand, giant staircase
In front of the Yamashita Park, you will find the Hotel New Grand (ホテルニューグランド). The New Grand opened in 1927 and has welcomed many famous people and historical figures, such as Charlie Chaplin, Babe Ruth, famous Japanese writer and native of Yokohama, Osaragi Jirô (1859-1973), or the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, General Douglas MacArthur.

Today it comprises the “old” hotel and the tower hotel, with fantastic views. If you got some money left, you can stay in the suite, where McArthur spent his first nights in Japan or rent the Kurama Tengu room, called after the hero of Osaragi’s period novels, many of which he wrote in the Grand.

Kimi and Elchi in the New Grand
You can visit the old Grand even if you are not staying in the hotel. On the ground floor of the old Grand, you can enjoy some coffee or tea or a Western lunch. These "yôshoku" (Western-style) dishes, such as spaghetti, originated at the Hotel New Grand and spread across Japan from here. Walk up the giant staircase and have a look at the former main entrance. The walls are decorated with gilded Art Deco fretworks and reliefs of Indian motives. Replicas of bronze temple lanterns hang from the ceilings, creating a perfect harmony of Eastern and Western design elements. Here you really can experience the flair of bygone days.


(3) Yamate (山手) and Motomachi (元町) 


Harbour View Park (Minato ga mieru kôen; 港が見える公園)

Bay Bridge as seen from Harbour View Park
The park with its fine view of the port and Yokohama Bay Bridge opened in 1962 to the public. You can enter the park via the steps from Yamashita Park that lead upstairs to the hill. The park is located within the former foreign settlement of Yamate. The park is not only famous for its beautiful view of the bay but also for its roses and other flowers in spring and autumn. If you enter from Yamashita kôen, you will pass the site of the former French military garrison. On its premises, you will also find the British House, the Yamate no. 111, one of the preserved Western houses (see below). From here you can start your tour through Yamate and the Bluff District. If you are interested in Japanese literature, visit the Osagragi Jirô memorial museum, located in the Harbour View Park before starting the tour. Famous Japanese architect Urabe Shizutarô (1909-1991) designed the building to reflect Osaragi’ taste and his affinity to France.

The Bluff District(ブラフ)

Berrick Hall, Yamate, Yokohama
When the period of isolation ended in the 1850s, Yokohama was among the first five ports that were opened to foreigners and foreign trade. From that time onwards, Westerners settled in the hills of the Yamate area, which was also called “The Bluff”. During the Great Kantô earthquake, that struck the Kantô plain at 11:58 a.m. on Sunday, 1 September 1923, many of the brick houses collapsed, and lots of Westerners left Japan to settle in Shanghai and elsewhere. Most of the remaining foreigners left for good at the outbreak of WWII. Some of the Western buildings are preserved and open for visitors (admission free). Most of the houses are decorated with original furniture. By some rose drops or lavender bath or have a nice cup of tea. Note that most of the houses have a “shoe outside” policy. Please change to slippers before entering. If you do not have the time to see all, visit at least the Berrick Hall and the two villas within the Yamate Italian Garden.

Berrick Hall is the largest pre-war foreign residence in Yamate. It is a beautiful Spanish-style mansion with a Mediterranean flair. It belonged to the British businessman B.R. Berrick (1878-1972) and was designed by the American architect J.H. Morgan (1868-1937) in 1930, thus post-dating the Great Earthquake

Kimi and Elchi in the Italian Garden
Bluff No. 18 and the Diplomat’s house are located in the Yamate Italian Garden. Bluff No. 18 was first built as a foreigners' residence, but after World War II the house became the parish house of the Yamate Catholic Church until 1991. The Diplomat’s house is a Victorian-style residence which was originally the house of diplomat Uchida Sadatsuchi (1865-1942) in Tokyo but moved to Yokohama in 1997.

Yamate Museum
There are several other buildings of interest such as the Yamate Museum (small entrance fee), the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Yokohama Christ Church or the Museum of Tennis. The tennis club in Yamate is considered to be the birthplace of tennis in Japan and the museum displays the equipment used and explains the early history of tennis in Japan

Ruins of the McGovern house
Directly below the Ehrisman residence, formerly the home of the Swiss silk merchant Fritz Ehrismann, are the ruins of Yamate no. 80, once the house of Mr. and Mrs. McGovern. The brick building was completely destroyed during the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 and only the bare walls remained. The ruins are preserved as a memorial of the devasting power of nature.

You will also find Western-style restaurants and cafes in Yamate. From the Italian Garden, you can walk downhill to Motomachi.
A map of Yamate and a full list of houses can be found here...


Yokohama Foreign Cemetry (gaikokujin bochi, 外国人墓地)


View from Yokohama Foreign Cemetry

The Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery, located between Motomachi and the Bluff, has some very interesting graves. Overall, some 4,500 souls rest here. If it is closed (it opens only on special days.) you can peer through the fence beside the Motomachi downhill entrance gate. Here you can see the grave of Charles Lenox Richardson, who was slain by retainers of the Satsuma domain in September 1862 near Namamugi village, now part of Yokohama’s Tsurumi Ward (the Namamugi incident or Richardson affair).

Originally foreigners were not allowed to travel more than seventeen miles from their settlement. Richardson and his fellows wanted to visit the temple Kawasaki Daishi,, a favourite sightseeing spot, which was located within this limit when they encountered the procession of Shimazu Hisamitsu, the father of the Satsuma daimyô. Since Richardson and his fellows continued to ride along the side of the road without dismounting, they were attacked by Satsuma retainers, who believed they were guilty of disrespect. Mortally wounded, Richardson fell from his horse, while his fellows managed to escape. In those days in Japan samurai had the legal right to strike anyone who showed disrespect, but however, British nationals were exempted from these rules. The story is longer, but in the end, Satsuma domain had to pay compensation to Britain, and Richardson received an impressive graveyard. The tomb below Richardson’s belongs to the Dutchmen Nanning Decker, Captain of the merchant ship Henriëtta Louise, and Captain Vessel De Vos, which both were cut down by samurai in 1860 in Yokohama’s main street on their way to buy some food for the next day. On the other side rest the Russian Naval Officers, Roman Mofet, and Iwan Sokolow, slain by samurai in 1859, who were among the first foreigners who found eternal rest at the cemetery. Besides merchants and soldiers who lost their lives in a foreign country, many victims of the 1923 earthquake sleep here.

The homepage of the cemetery can be found here:..



Motomachi (元町)

Motomachi, located immediately west of Yamate and east of Chinatown, consists mainly of the Motomachi shopping street. Lined up are many well-established brand shops, shops selling original Yokohama fashion and many other Western goods. There is a symbolic arch with a phoenix-shaped sculpture at the entrances on both ends of the main street. Located here is the “Motomachi Union”, one of the first Western supermarkets in Japan, who sells high-quality and overseas food that is hard to find anywhere else in Japan.


(4) Chinatown (Chûkagai, 中華街)

West entrance to Chinatown's main street
Chûkagai is Japan’s largest Chinatown. After the port of Yokohama opened in the late 1850s, parts of Kannai became the residence of many Chinese traders who settled here. Four colorful gates stand at the entrances to Chinatown, oriented in accordance with the laws of feng shui, the ancient Chinese system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment. Five more gates can be found within Chinatown. 

Since the port opening, the Chinese were always the most numerous ethnic group in Yokohama. They came as trades, interpreters or because of their expertise in the tea business. They were also sought after as accountants, because of their calculation skills by using the abacus. At the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War (Nisshin sensô, 日清戦争) in 1884, many Chinese repatriated, but however, with peace in 1895, their number rose quickly to more than 6,000 in 1909.
Yokohama, Chinatown

To the Japanese, the Chinese with their brocade robes, pigtails and their stiff black caps were as exotic as were the Westerners. In 1897, famous Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) was in exile in Chinatown. Form here Sun worked to raise Japanese support and money for the revolutionary cause. He made friends with many Japanese political activists like Miyazaki Tôten (宮崎 滔天, 1871-1922), like Sun an ardent supporter of East Asian unity.  

During the great earthquake, Chinatown disintegrated and numerous Chinese died. Thereafter, their number plummeted to 200 but removed to 3,000 by the end of the 1920s. After the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War (Nitchû sensô, 日中戦争) in 1937, the Chinese merchants were considerably complicated by import restrictions and boycotts. During the air raids of WWII, Chinatown burnt to the grounds, but directly after the war, bars and cabarets sprang up like mushrooms to cater the Occupation Forces and sailors. In February 1955, an inscription gate with the characters for “Chûkagai”, Chinatown, was erected over the west entrance. From this time onwards, the quarter is called Chûkakai, instead of “Nanking Town”, as the Japanese had called it.

Yokohama, restaurant in Chinatown

When the GIs left Japan and the sailors dissipated due to the containerization of the maritime trade, Chinatown became a major tourist spot. Restaurants opened and expanded and today you will find all kinds and levels of Chinese gastronomy here. Don’t miss to have a lunch or dinner here. In Chinatown’s main street, Chukagai ôdori, you will find the prestigious restaurants, in Shiba dori or Hongkong dori you can dine in a more familiar way. 

Kanteibyô, Yokohama
Chinatown also hosts two temples, Kanteibyô (関帝廟) and Masobyô (媽祖廟). Kanteibyô (or Guan Di Miao in Chinese), who is said to date from 1862, is dedicated to Guan Yu, a famous historical figure, who was well known for this integrity, and bravery. He is a major character in The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a very well-known semi-historical novel, dating from the 14th century. The values embodied by Guan Yu served as inspiration for these new migrants as they began life in a new land, who worship him as the “god of business and prosperity”. Today’s Kanteibyô has been rebuilt three times. The first temple vanished in the earthquake of 1923, the second was destroyed during the air raids of WWII, and the third by a fire in 1986.

Masobyô, Yokohama
Masobyô (or Ma Zu Miao in Chinese), who opened in March 2006, is for devotees of the sea goddess Ma Zu. Both are very elaborately designed and imposing temples, with beautiful and intricate patterns all over. Chinatown is best by night when the red lanterns are lit.

You will find more information on Chinatown here:

(5) Kannai Area (間内) 

Yokohama kôen (横浜公園) and Nihon Ôdori (日本大道り)


Yokohama Customs Building

Kannai, the “Gated Within”, was the area where the foreigners lived and worked. Initially, checkpoints, known as Kanmon (関門) were placed at the entries and exits of the settlement to prevent contact between samurai and foreigners. Today it refers to an area south of Kannai Station. Yokohama Park, situated just in front of Kannai Stn. was designed by young Scottish engineer Richard Henry Brunton in 1871. In former days, it included cricket and baseball fields. Later, cherry trees, a fountain and a pond were built. Part of the park hosts now the Yokohama Baseball Stadium. Nihon Ôdori, Japan’s Broad Avenue, was completed in 1871. The street, also planned by Brunton, was widened after the earthquake and ginkgoes were planted between roadway and sidewalks, a novelty in Japan. The eastern side of the avenue was reserved for consulates, such as the British Consulate, today’s Yokohama Archives for History. It stands on the historic site where Japan and the U.S. signed the Treaty of Kanagawa. At the end of Nihon Ôdori you will find a group of historical towers, the Yokohama three towers, nicknamed Queen, King and Jack: The Yokohama Customs Building (横浜税関, Yokohama zeikan, The Queen), the Kanagawa Prefectural Office (神奈川県庁本庁舎, Kanagawa kenchô honchôsha, The King), and the Yokohama Port Opening Memorial Hall (横浜市開港記念会館, Yokohama-shi kaikô kinenkan, The Jack).
Yokohama Port Opening Memorial Hall
At the time when they were constructed, there were not many high-rise buildings in the vicinity, thus the trio was regarded as a point of reference for ships entering the
port of Yokohama at that time. The three buildings withstood the Great Kantô Earthquake and are (partly) open to the public. The towers can be viewed best from Ôsanbashi Pier.

Bashamichi (馬車道, Horse-Drawn Carriage Street)  was built in 1866 to provide a straight roadway to the coastline. The street’s name dates back to the time of the port opening, when numerous carriages throng the street, carrying foreigners up and down. Bashamichi was the street, where the first gas lights in Japan were introduced, the first roadside street trees were planted and the first ice cream was sold. At that time, it was too expensive for Japanese to buy ice cream; however, they flocked in droves to watch the curious foreigners eating ice. The concentration of banks and insurance companies made Bashamichi the Wall Street of Yokohama. Today, still a variety of impressive old buildings can be found here such as the Yokohama Specie Bank (Yokohama shôkin ginkô, 横浜正金銀行), which is now the Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History (Kanagawa kenritsu rekishi hakubutsukan, 神奈川県立歴史博物館).
Former Yokohama Specie Bank
The museum became focussed on cultural history and highlights the Kamakura Shogunate (1185-1333) and the treaty-port days. Designed in a German-style baroque, it lost its dome in the 1923 earthquake, however, the main building weathered the quake and many fled to the fire-resistant structure. Since not all could squeeze in, more than 100 burned to death in the entranceway. After the Second World War, the Specie Bank was reorganized as the Bank of Tokyo. In 1967, the dome was restored and the building became a museum, and two years later the building was designated as an Important Cultural Property.


Isezakichô Shopping Mall  (関内駅と伊勢佐木町)

On the other side of Kannai Stn. lies Isezakichô, the former theatre district. Many theatres gathered here along with cheap bazaars, teahouses, public baths and restaurants. At the end of the Meiji period (1868-1912) the first motion pictures, a wonder like electricity or telephone were shown at the Odeonza theatre, and in the late 1920s, the Matsusakaya department store was established here. After WWII, clubs opened to cater the Occupation Forces, and with the black GIs interest in Jazz rose. The Yokohama jazz scene was established here and clubs performing jam sessions rose up. In 1951, Isezakichô was illuminated with decorative streetlights, and the following year an arch was erected over its entrance. In 1978, it was closed to traffic and became a pedestrian mall. The golden days of the mall are over and the Matsuzakaya is gone, but nevertheless, the arch has remained and it is still a pedestrian zone to shop and stroll – a rarity in Japan.


Around Yokohama

Sankeien garden (三渓園)

Sankeien, Yokohama
Sankeien is one of the best Japanese style landscape gardens opened to the public in 1904. It was formerly owned by Hara Zenzaburô, a rich silk trader. His adopted son, Tomitarô (1869-1939), began building the garden in 1900. He collected many historical buildings; some of them are designated as Important Cultural Properties, among them an elegant daimyo residence, several tea houses and a three-storied pagoda from Kyoto’s Tômyôji Temple. In those days the garden provided a fabulous view of Tôkyô Bay.

Sankeien, Yokohama
In 1906, Tomitarô opened the garden for the public, free of charge. Common people were welcome to spend their day in the garden. The garden was badly damaged during WWII and in 1953 given to the City of Yokohama. Sankeien was then restored almost to its former condition. The park is still splendid; however, the nice view has long gone. From the late 1950s onwards, the land was reclaimed at the seaside and an oil refinery was built on it. Above the old site of the beach, a highway was built, where countless vehicles pass by. 

You can access by bus from Sakuragichô or Yokohama stations to Honmoku Sankeien mae (bus no. 8 or 125), from where Sankeien is another 5 minutes walk; or, take the Negishi line (from Kannai or Motomachi Ishikawachô Stn.) to Negishi and then a bus to Honmoku. Form there Sankeien is another 5-10 minutes by foot. Alternatively, you can walk from Negishi Stn. in 30-45 minutes. Please view its homepage



Hakkeijima (八景島) / Kanazawa Bunko (金沢文庫)



Just a short ride southwards from Yokohama you can find Hakkejima Sea Paradise, an artificial island, which serves as an amusement park, as well as a very nice, beautifully located beach. Since entry is free, you can walk around the island or have a lunch here. From here you can walk to Shômyôji Temple (称名寺), which was built by Hôjô Sanetoki (北条実時, 1224-1276), the founder of the Kanazawa Bunko library, in 1258. At its height of prosperity, it had seven majestic buildings including a three-story pagoda. 


Shômyôji Temple
However, the temple slowly decayed after the fall of the Kamakura Shogunate in the 14th century. The current buildings were restored during the Edo period. Most impressive is the beautifully rebuilt Jôdo Garden (Pure Land Garden) with two red bridges over the serene Ajigaike Pond. The temple is very beautiful throughout the year. From here you can walk to Kanazawa Bunko Museum which features a collection of art objects from the Kamakura period.



Villa of Itô Hirobumi



If  you make a trip to Kanazawa, do not miss to see the villa of Itô Hirobumi (Kyû Itô Hirobumi Kanazawa bettei , 旧伊藤博文金沢別邸), one of the famous leaders of the Meiji government. It is an elegant Japanese-style house on Kanazawa bay, built in 1896 as a summer residence. The villa was restored to the original state and opened to the public in 2009. You can walk from Hakkejima along the beach to the villa.

Yokohama, Marina



On the way back to Yokohama you can stopover at the “Marina”, Japan’s largest marina with more than 1,500 boats and yachts. There are many outlet stores and restaurants, where you can dine and watch the yachts floating in and out.

Access: Hakkejima: Negishi line from Yokohama Stn. to Shin Sugita Stn. Change to the Kanazawa Seaside line (Hakkejima Stn.). Kanazawa bunko: Keikyû mainline (Kanazawa Bunko Stn.) to Yokohama Stn. Villa of Itô Hirobumi: Kanazawa Seaside Line (Nojimakoen Stn.), 2 stops from Hakkejima Stn. Marina: Kanazawa Seaside line (Torihama Stn.).

A map can be found here...

If you want to learn more about Yokohama and its history read Burritt Sabin’s book “A Historical Guide to Yokohama: Sketches of the Twice-Risen Phoenix (ヨコハマ歴史ガイド). Yokohama: Yurindo, 2002. Read more....