You wanna walk on the beautiful street as Europe? Yes, there is one in Yokohama! You will surely like it!
The Yokohama Yamate district used to be a thriving foreign settlement for Europeans and Americans. You can feel a different atmosphere from other residential areas in Japan when you take a walk around this neighborhood.
The Yamate area retains a number of sites relating to its history as the main residential district of Westerners in Yokohama. However, because of the Great Kanto Earthquake, few of them predate 1923. Present day Yamate is still for the most part a hilly residential area with some pleasant parks. As visitors travel between Yamate’s sightseeing spots, they will see by the international schools and churches that the presence of Western residents continues to this day.
After Yokohama Port opened, more than 2000 business people from Europe and America flooded in and started to live and work here. They were given official permission to find living and working space by the Japanese government. However, they were prohibited from going outside of a very strict set of physical boundaries, which the government had established. British, American, French, Italian, German, and other foreigners were all living together in the district.
Yamate has a number of parks within walking distance from each other. The largest is the Harbor View Park, which is named after the view that the park affords onto the water and the Yokohama Bay Bridge. On the park grounds one can find some of the area’s preserved western buildings. Mostly former residences, the buildings are open to the public and most have been furnished in their original style.
Below the hills of Yamate is the Motomachi shopping street, which runs parallel to the Nakamura River. The street served the needs of the first foreign residents of Yokohama, and introduced many products to Japan. It still has a certain European feel. There are a lot of higher end fashion shops, as well as cafes and restaurants.
The Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery was established in 1854 when a sailor, Robert Williams, on Commodore Perry’s flagship The Mississippi died after a fall on Perry’s second voyage to Japan. Permission was asked of the Japanese shogunal authorities to bury the sailor onshore and to provide a resting place for any future Americans who died in Japan. An interesting museum in the gate house details some of the most famous people buried in the cemetery and also provides a map of how to visit their graves. In addition there are interesting panel displays of photos of Yokohama and details of some of the fascinating people and events associated with Yokohama during its early history as a Treaty Port when foreigners first began to live and visit Yokohama. You will not get bored surely even whole day for staying here! Interesting? Please check it out!