I often wondered what it is about Yokohama that most people find interesting. I know little about this city except for the fact it is renowned for producing world class tires.
So when the opportunity came, I am happy to indulge myself in its fast-paced atmosphere but which is little laid-back and breezy than Tokyo. It is so close to Tokyo, I originally thought it is part of Tokyo, but it’s a separate city that is part of the Kanto region.
History has it that Yokohama was just a small fishing village up until the end of the Edo period in Japan before it became a city of commerce. It had little connection to the outside world because Japan before then held a policy of national seclusion. But in 1853-1854, before the Second World War, Commodore Matthew Perry forced Japan to open its ports for trade. The Tokugawa Shogunate agreed and signed an agreement with the United States popularly known as the Treaty of Peace and Amity. (Source: Wikipedia)
Yokohama quickly rose to become the base of foreign trade in Japan. Japan Herald, the Japanese first English language newspaper was first published here in 1861. Japanese are voracious readers of newspapers and Yokohama is actually one of its cities that exemplify its love for shimbun as it is the birthplace of Japanese daily newspapers.
The Great Kanto Earthquake that struck in September 1, 1923 destroyed nearly most areas of Yokohama. The city was rebuilt only to be destroyed again during the World War II when the US staged the Great Yokohama Air Raid.
Now, this second largest city of Japan, located at Tokyo’s south, boasts of being the major commercial hub of the Greater Tokyo Area.
In August last year (2010), I got to visit this city to witness their preparation for the 2010 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting. Prior to this, Yokohama hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup final held at the International Stadium Yokohama.
During my stay, I got to see the tallest Ferris wheel in the world located at the Minato Mirai 21 port, Japan’s major development project which started on 1983. A visit to Newspark, their newspaper museum, displayed various newspaper activities from past to present. It also features a vast collection of newspapers reflective of the Japanese era since the Meiji restoration. Yokohama’s China Town is definitely a place you also must see here.
My favorite part in Yokohama is Minato Mirai. This cool park near the port area is so lovely and serene. I love the fact Japan features the coolest parks in Asia. My friends had a blast while we were walking along here.
It’s such a quiet romantic place–an ideal date venue for lovers and lovebirds…
At Yokohama, one can also find Newspark or the Japan Newspaper Museum. Newspaper lovers would love to visit this museum. I’m writing a separate story about this…
Japan’s Chinatown is also located here in Yokohama. After a visit to the NewsPark, we came here for lunch.