Yokohama, a capital of Kangawa prefecture, situated south of Tokyo, with its population of 3.6 million is the largest incorporated city and most populous "bedroom" city in the world. Being a small fishing village, just like Tokyo, it started to grow during Tokugawa shognate and was a place where a lot of significant accomplishments were achieved. At the end of Japan's isolation in the middle of XIX century, black ships of Commodore Perry arived south of Yokohama, demanding the opening of Japan's ports to commerce. Port buildings were built in a small fishing village Yokohama and officially it was opened in June 2nd, 1859.
After that, Yokohama became the most significant foreign access point in Japan. First English language newspaper in Japan was published there (Japan Herald), first gas-powered street lamps (in 1872), first railway (connecting Shinagawa and Shimbashi). As it happened with Tokyo, Great Kanto earthquake damaged the city, as well as bombings during WWII but nothing could stop development of the most significant port in Japan.

When I visited Yokohama for the first time two years ago, I went to Minato Mirai 21 together with my friends from USA. Building of Minato Mirai 21 (Future Port 21) started 25 years ago, in 1983. but, according to some information I have found on the Internet, about half of the area still remained unoccupied. Area is consisted with a lot of buildings (Yokohama Landmark Tower 295.8m, the tallest building in Japan, Queen's Square shopping mall, Pacifico convention center), a beautiful sail shaped hotel Intercontinental (somehow it remind me on Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai), Cosmo Clock 21, which was the largest Ferris wheel in the world when it was built in 1989. and some museums.

Free space is the most expensive thing in Japan's big cities. But even though every square meter is covered with concrete and glass and steel, you can find things like this:

I made this photo from my hotel room's terrace. If you are attentive observer, you will find such miniature parks or shrines everywhere. They are almost invisible among buildings, or rail tracks but they are here. And they present, even in a small, a connection between modern and medieval times. The next photo is made in Tsurumi, a northern ward of Yokohama:

Sลji-ji shrine is also placed in Tsurumi, just a few minutes of walk from Tsurumi station, west entrance. made around 740. in Noto peninsula, Shingen and later Soto Zen temple suffered significant damage after fire in 1898. After that a leaders of temple insisted that it has to be reconstructed somewhere near Tokyo so they can spread Soto Zen in eastern Japan. It happened in 1911. when temple started with religious services in Tsurumi.

This is Sanmon or Inner gate. It was constructed in 1969. by donations of Toyojiro Kihara. He was a big forest owner and he thought that he owes succeess in business because of his wife Yoshi. When she died in 1966. he decided to became a priest and burried her ashes in the temple`s graveyard. The gate was built in memory of his wife and is among largest of its kind in Japan.

Taisodo or Founders` Hall is among biggest buildings in temple`s area. Built in 1965. in memory of the 600th anniversary of death of the Second Chief Priest Shoseki Gazan (1275-1365). Inside, building floor is covered with 1000 tatami mats (one tatami is 90x180x5cm). Also, there are statues of Priest Keizan in the center, Priest Dogen to its left and Priest Gazan to its right.

Butsuden or Main Hall was built in 1915. (construction started in 1907.), made totally of zelkova trees, has double and semi-gabled roofs.
This is part of what was always attracting me to Japan. A country of 21st century, far beyond the rest of the world but at the same time so connected to its past. In next few posts I will go deeper in Japan`s history, especially to its warrior, samurai part. Hope you will like it ๐Ÿ™‚

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53 Responses to Yokohama

  1. Furie says:

    Beautiful houses. I love the shrines. They give credence to some excellent ghost stories from that region.

  2. MizzMartinez says:

    WOW! :eyes: It's beautiful! I really want to visit it! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  3. Furie says:

    Beautiful houses. I love the shrines. They give credence to some excellent ghost stories from that region.

  4. LorenzoCelsi says:

    Thanks for your post.

  5. Zaphira says:

    I'd love to go there some day. It is amazing how present and past seem to meet there. :up:

  6. gdare says:

    MizzM – well, you just need to save some money and to try to find the way to go there :DLorenzo – you are welcome :)Mik – reminding you on Rashomon, right?

  7. MizzMartinez says:

    Money and time is what's needed. I'll definitely visit the place in my life…the question is when! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Furie says:

    You just added a film to my list. Sounds excellent. I've long talked about the fact that absolute truth is an impossible thing to attain.

  9. gdare says:

    MizzM – no; I don`t feel that brave :PRose – typo :PPam – thanks Pam; I think you should make few posts about Vietnam and how you saw this country ๐Ÿ’ก

  10. gdare says:

    Zaphira – you would not be disappointed :yes:MizzM – When you find it suitable! No need to hurry :DLorenzo – ๐Ÿ˜†

  11. LorenzoCelsi says:

    Given she brings a big supply of nyponsoppa and Julmust, Kerstin could walk to the coast of China, then swim to Okinawa, take some rest and finally swim to Japan.

  12. MizzMartinez says:

    ๐Ÿ˜† You mean that I would have to pay for my trip with Nypponsoppa and Julmust or that if I drank both I would have enough energy to do the travelling? ๐Ÿ™„ :p

  13. gdare says:

    Rose, "bedroom ciry"? Now you lost me ๐Ÿ˜† You mean "city" I suppose. Bedroom city is a term for a city where most of the inhabitants have appartments and work in another city, in this case Tokyo :)Those miniature parks are everywhere. I ahve seen one of them in front of the restaurant and another in the backyard of the owner of sake factory. Sake is alcocholic drink made of rice :drunk:

  14. PainterWoman says:

    Great reading Darko. The small shrine garden is wonderful. I saw many of these in Vietnam. There were small herb gardens and fruit trees growing on top of concrete buildings and on balconies or along walkways in between the home and a block wall. I saw one that was maybe ten feet long but only two feet wide and part of that two feet was taken up by stepping stones for the gardener. You can make an herb garden in the tiniest of places.

  15. LorenzoCelsi says:

    Who ever would buy nypponsoppa and julmust out of Sweden? You drink it during the travel and if you keep the empty carton and bottles you can even build a raft for crossing the sea. Besides, I guess they have plenty of weird food and beverages in Japan.

  16. MizzMartinez says:

    Are you completely sure? Have you even tried it? :doh:

  17. rose-marie says:

    I love the miniature park and the temple architecture :D.Interesting story here too, but what's a bedroom ciry? :sherlock:

  18. gdare says:

    Pam – it sounds as you have as many ideas as those post cards in boxes; I envy you, because sometimes it is so hard to find appropriate idea for blogging; and I don`t like too much "killing time" posts – but have to use it anyway to keep my friends awared of me :PMik – you haven`t seen it before? it is an old one, directed by Akira Kurosawa; but if you can find this one, it will satisfy your need for ancient ghost stories from Japan ๐Ÿ™‚ Director was my favourite japanese film maker, Masaki Kobayashi, based on a book by Lafkadio Hearn.

  19. PainterWoman says:

    Darko, I might do that. I've many more photos I need to upload in my Vietnam Opera album. I thought I'd done a post but I guess haven't. Besides a work in progress on my painting, I've about 6 other ideas in mind. Remember your chair post? I'm going to do one on all my chair projects eventually plus one on old post cards. I have my dad's collection from 1945 to 1999, about four shoe boxes full.

  20. MizzMartinez says:

    Exactly…then :zip: it! :p

  21. gdare says:

    Mizz, I don`t drink they will buy nypponsoppa. Sake has a better taste ๐Ÿ˜€

  22. rose-marie says:

    Oh, har-dee-har, mister "I ahve seen one" :p.

  23. Furie says:

    I think I've seen that one. A few years back I raided the asian cinema rental section of all it's horror films. Most were in mint condition as no-one in this country can read well enough to deal with subtitles. Some were obviously taken out of the DVD players by illiterates who rented them and didn't notice they were subtitled, then used as coasters or dog toys for a while. The black hair story sounds very familiar to me.

  24. Dacotah says:


  25. edwardpiercy says:

    Another great tour. Looks like I missed out on the saki, though. Drat.I heard/read somewhere that a glass of whiskey in Tokyo cost something like $60 US. Is that true?

  26. gdare says:

    Mik – people tend to behave thaat way, I know ๐Ÿ˜ฆ luckily there is always possibility to buy another dvd if you are a real collector; sometimes I think, God bless the digital recording :DCarol – :)Ed – Tokyo is very expensive city and especially in some areas it is insane; I have never been in these parts though, but I have heard similar stories, especially about 100 USD cup of coffee :faint: and, I got recommendation from a friend who lives in Japan never to buy anything in Ginza (part of Tokyo); the same stuff can be bought in affordable prices somewhere else ๐Ÿ™‚ but if I ever find out I will tell you :up:Eric – today, it seems like people have no imagination at all – same buildings, same cars, same clothes *shaking head*

  27. CedarFox says:

    Nice post :up: The old architecture is beautiful, especially compared to all the identical building being built now.

  28. Dacotah says:


  29. LorenzoCelsi says:

    it seems like people have no imagination at all – same buildings, same cars, same clothes

    It is because most things are made by machines, not by human hands. Automated and optimized process.

  30. gdare says:

    Lorenzo, ideas are made in human minds, so I think people who decide (in corporations) are going "the safe way", producing and building what will be sold for sure. It goes for cars, at least.

  31. LorenzoCelsi says:

    People would buy crap if you write "chocolate" on the package.Cars and other modern industrial goods are produced with the main goal of reducing production costs, in fact many different firms sell the same car with different names or slightly different cars based on the same frame. The reason why cars look the same is because they actually ARE the same.Then today's design and engineering make large use of computers to calculate structures and materials, this also produces converging results given the same introductions. This is quite obvious in the average construction works.Yes, there is also marketing. People working in marketing basically spend 99% time in looking at what other marketing people do and copy. This explains why they do the same things over and over.

  32. PainterWoman says:

    You must remember that people in big corporations who make decisions for us have degrees in business, marketing, mathematics, accounting, management, etc. All very analytical type thinking. If they put someone in charge, who had some creative background in art, along with their 'analytical' degree, things might have a different outcome. Just my opinion:D

  33. LorenzoCelsi says:

    Most people in big corporations don't even know what the corporation produces and how. Business, marketing, accounting and such is mostly about selling crap as chocolate (when you are customer oriented) or some sort of internal prostitution (when you are "management" oriented). In short, most managers in big corporations are useless or even negative. Why do they exist? Because big corporations work a lot around politics, both internal and external. Politics needs burocracy so all those people are actually burocrats. The "creative" part was possible in the middle ages when each single stone used to build a cathedral was squared by hand and by hand put in place with million other stones. This changed with the industrial revolution. Nowadays the machines make million pieces all exactly the same from a single prototype and "creativity" means to find the better/optimized solution given some pre-requisites. Industrial design is mostly about "functions" and about "technology" (meaning "to know how to make stuff"). To make a comparison it is like the old decorated manuscripts versus a document written with Office and printed with a laser printer.

  34. gdare says:

    Thanks for the link Pam ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. LorenzoCelsi says:

    Exactly what I meant.Compare to this: (Siena in Italy)

  36. LorenzoCelsi says:

    It is not that different. Think of the "tatami", it is a module. Same for the wooden houses the Americans build, they are assembled with pre-defined modules as well, produced elsewhere. Now you bring this to the industrial age and to buildings made with steel and glass. It is again about assembled modules. Probably some very expensive building makes use of tailored pieces but on average is just a Lego game. It becomes obvious for low cost mass-production buildings but it exists almost everywhere.

  37. gdare says:

    Good old times… middle of 70s look now as middle ages, so far away, but then was possible to find different cars design. As for buildings… well, it is quite different story.

  38. LorenzoCelsi says:

    It is not "unusual", it is how homes and buildings in general were made till some time ago. BTW I am pretty sure you would prefer to be living in Siena than in one of those "cubes" from the above link.It is where modern architecture fails, the scale. The old architecture was made at human scale, while the modern architecture is somehow out of scale and that induces some stress.

  39. gdare says:

    Very unusual ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. PainterWoman says:

    You might be interested in seeing the architectural design on Henar's blog: module but, at least, colorful with an interesting layout.

  41. Cois says:

    I really would like to visit there one day.. *dreams* ok I'll live vicariously through you for now Darko:p

  42. PainterWoman says:

    Are there city ordinances about painting on the outside walls? Even if I lived on the top floor, I'd somehow find a way to paint on the walls. Sort of what I did to the six foot block wall surrounding my backyard. They were drab gray until I painted on them. I got the idea for the rusty orange color with the yellow streaks from a one foot square piece of marble flooring I had. Then, of course, I had to paint Starry, Starry Night. There are no city ordinances for what you do on the inside of your property line but there are if other people have to see it.

  43. gdare says:

    Well, unusual for what I usually see ๐Ÿ˜€

  44. LorenzoCelsi says:

    Not much different from: These buildings are just more of "austrian" style but I am sure you can see the similarities and you can compare to Tokio.

  45. gdare says:

    ๐Ÿ™„ You should start to save your money. There is nothing better than the real thing ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. Cois says:

    Yeah.. :left: but first my own country before another ๐Ÿ˜‰ i've only travelled half around South Africa., so much to see.. So many lions to feed :awww:

  47. rose-marie says:

    …so little of you :awww:

  48. gdare says:


  49. SittingFox says:

    Such a modern looking city in many ways, yet traditional architecture still survives – even being built fairly recently. Interesting :up:

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