Yokohama is a port city with the second largest population of 3.6 million South from Tokyo on the bay of Tokyo. (Tokyo has 13 million.) Before the sea port was opened in 1859, Yokohama was a small village of about 100 households on the small inlet. After the sea port was opened and shipping lines started services, Business men and their families began to come and live in the foreign settlements in Yamashita and Yamate areas. They built Consulates, hospitals, houses, churches, schools, water system and various facilities in the neighborhood. They enjoyed horse races and other sports during weekends, brewed beer, baked bread and made locals cultivate western vegetables, to name a few. They brought their life style into the neighborhood of Yamate, Motomachi and Yamashita. Yokohama was a kind of a showcase of the Western life-style. A tiny sleepy village on the inlet turned into colorful town with exotic atmosphere. Yamashita and Yamate areas still keep the atmosphere here and there.

Yamashita area, where the trading houses from the Western countries had their offices, is the face of the city. There are Yamashita Park, the passenger ship Hikawa Maru, the Yokohama Marine Tower, Osanbashi international passenger terminal, etc. Yokohama Chinatown, the largest Chinatown in Japan, is just across the street from Yamashita Park. On the South side of the Yamashita area, Motomachi, known for its shopping streets, and hilly area of Yamate are located. On the hill of Yamate both the British and French troops once stationed to protect their citizens in the settlements. There are old buildings designed by the Westerners on the hill. Newly developed area of the Minato Mirai district is stretched on the East side. The streets are lined with high-rises, shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, museums, etc. Now the area is known as the new face of Yokohama.

It takes about half an hour from Shibuya and Shinagawa to Yokohama Station. There are many hotels near Yokohama Station, Minato Mirai and Yamashita.

Most of the city’s tourist attractions are in these areas. You can look around the city in a day efficiently using public transport system such as subway, buses and trains or renting a bycle. There are a lot of events being held throughout the year. I hope you can enjoy your stay in Yokohama.

Sakura is coming to town! March 18, 2015

Sakura and Muteki Bridge

Sakura in the Harbor view Park 2014

One day we have a spring-like sunny warm day, the next day we have a dark chilly day. It is the typical weather at this time of year. Repeating this, we are heading to Spring. This year, Sakura, Cherry blossoms, is expected to bloom around Mar.26 around Tokyo area. It is almost the same as usual. Blossoms of Kobushi Magnolia are now in bloom. Hikan Sakura, one of the cherry varieties known for dark pink color, has started to flower. Somei-yoshino a Sakura variety will follow soon. You would see Sakura blossoms from around March 26 until around the middle of April at many places in Yokohama. “read more at blog”