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att. Travel - Yokohama
att. Travel - Yokohama
You are here: att.JAPAN > Travel Guide > Yokohama
att.JAPAN Issue 6, May 2002

Yokohama

Map Well Known for its early contact with western cultures, Yokohama is full of east-meets-west grounds, buildings, and stories. See the historical side of Yokohama.

 A Historical Land where West meets East head on
Imagine a spacious place where the crisp ocean air rolls in off the East wind to kiss a seaside harbor of skyscrapers, parks, and buildings of antiquity; where Western culture leaked in long ago to interrupt the course of the indigenous Eastern way and lend itself to the creation of a different pace and style. A place with 1,000's of vantage points to ease your mind on a nightscape scenery of city lights aglow like twinkling stars that mirror and sparkle off the rippling bay below. Such a place can be none other than Japan's bay at Yokohama. An area spanning southward from Yokohama station, which covers the proceeding four train stations lies an area where you can find a variety of historical spots. Just one station south of Yokohama station on the Negishi line is Sakuragi-cho, the gateway to massive tower-like architecture and modern side of Yokohama where you can shop till you drop in a wide and spacious American style mall, ride the once world's largest ferris-wheel, play all the arcade games and roam around in a refreshing spaciousness that goes against the grain of Japan's small and narrow entirety. More interesting perhaps is the area of Yokohama that is blanketed with a feeling of antiquity. It dots the city and is ever present in the area's every corner through fascinating establishments from days of old, and interesting historical grounds. If you take to your venturous side you can discover this unique world full of Yokohama's highly admirable antique architectural 'ruins' from a time that has never sunk into ruin; a time that is very much still here and now.

 Take a slow stroll down Motomachi
In Motomachi, you can feel what it is like to be o-share (meaning fashionable). Take a stroll down its main street or any of its side streets. The general theme here is that of style and class distinctly Yokohama. Many of the shops here can be found nowhere else in the world. The sweet smell of bread shops, and cafes, fresh baked goods hang in the air. Take the Negi line 3 stops from Yokohama Station to Ishikawa-cho Station. It is located less than 5 minutes walk from there.

 A Famous Cemetery Full of History
Right around the corner from the end of Motomachi's main street is the Gaikokujin Bochi (Foreigner's Cemetery). Although you probably wouldn't think it, with the Japanese being one of the world's most major sightseers, plus the fact that this cemetery has famous historical foreigners at rest, this cemetery always draws a crowd of sightseers. Indeed, while it may seem a bit morbid to some, there are some impressive artistically appreciative, intricately carved gravestones.

 Take a Look Across the Entire Bay
Bay Bridge From the cemetery make your way seaward to the neighboring park with a spectacular view of the entire bay, and a very long name- "Minato-no-Mieru-Saka-Koen," meaning "the hill park from which you can see the harbor." Looking straight out from the circular cement deck you will see the Yokohama Bay Bridge jutting out from isle to isle. Going out to the edge of the deck and looking up the coast of the bay you will find a great view of Minato Mirai with its Landmark Tower, Queen's Square, and surrounding buildings. A park of shaded trees surrounds the deck, which together with the cool ocean breeze, plus given there is fair weather equals a great summer picnic place with a great view.

 Japan's First Settlement of Foreigners
China Town One of the greatest attractions from Yokohama's Kannai Station is China Town (or "Chu-ka-"). The story of Yokohama's China Town goes back to around 1859, when Japan opened its ports from isolationism. Yokohama was the largest of Japan's trade areas at the time. Chinese people came on their own to trade in Yokohama, and were brought along side-by-side with western traders to act as interpreters between the two, gradually coming to settle in the area. Upon entering China Town's streets, if the beautiful building designs and their colors don't catch your eye, the delicious aroma will envelop and capture you. Come on in for a cup of tea. You can get to China Town by walking east from the Yokohama Stadium from the Kannai Station.

 Yokohama's Newspaper Museum
From Kannai Station in the Naka-ku district are quite a variety of museums. Places like the City of Yokohama Japanese Newspaper Museum tell the whole story of the port of Yokohama through historical facts. Fortunately most museums have the foreigner in mind and include explanations through English captions. The Newspaper Museum is seaward of and neighboring the Yokohama In the stadium area where the harbor meets the land is a cool shaded park stretching along the water, the Yamashita Koen Park. This park is much like the Minato-no-Mieru-Saka-Koen with its shade trees, spacious lawn, sitting areas and panoramic view of the bay, bridges and buildings surrounding it. Parked up close right there on the pier is the famous Hikawa-Maru, a luxury passenger ship from the 30's inside which is a restaurant. Right behind you is the Marine Tower jutting high above the Naka-ku district's buildings of old architecture. Take a 15 minute walk following the harbor-side or short taxi ride to the Akarenga Soko, or Redbrick Warehouse nearing Minato Mirai, and closest to Sakuragi-cho Station. You can see some marvelous early 1900's architecture on the outside from the historic time of a bustling Yokohama port, while enjoying a variety of the best shopping and restaurants inside. There are two warehouses. Warehouse 1 concentrates on cultural entertainment for the public, while warehouse 2 will feature unique, fine restaurants and shopping.

 Discover Tradition Back on the East Side
Map Sankei-en, a large traditional Japanese style garden and park offers a look into ancient Japan. If your stay in Japan does not bring you to Kamakura, Kyoto, or any other traditional location, Sankei-en is a must see. Sankei-en is much more than just a garden. It is a place of living Japanese antiquity completely 'decorated' with the very ancient buildings that used to rest in Kyoto and Kamakura themselves- shipped directly by the original owner of the property. Making your way through the park is like a step back in time, or perhaps to the eternal, as the winding pathways, themselves works of art, deliver through to a beautiful landscape that has no end. Take a 5-minute walk from Honmoku Sankeien bus stop. Buses take 25-35 minutes and come directly from both Yokohama and Sakuragi-cho Stations. After coming to see Yokohama, it isn't hard to see why it is such a popular place for Japanese to spend their free time. Although most of the time it is for the stylish atmosphere, relaxation by the seaside, or shopping, it is also very interesting to get around to see the ancient gems and hear the stories that go way back- to get a taste of the area from deep inside its center.

 Maps
Japan Railway Map PDF 414 KB
Yokohama Kannai PDF 273 KB
Yokohama MM21 PDF 207 KB
Yokohama Station PDF 135 KB
Yokohama Subway Map PDF 205 KB

 Links
Kanagawa Prefecture Tourist Information
Yokohama City
Yokohama City Tourist Information

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