( ) is the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture. It lies on Tokyo Bay, south of Tokyo, in the Kantō region of the main island of Honshū. It is a major commercial hub of the Greater Tokyo Area.
population of 3.6 million makes it Japan's largest
developed rapidly as Japan's prominent port city following the end
of Japan's relative isolation in the mid-19th century, and is today
one of its major ports along with Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya, Hakata, Tokyo, and
Yokohama's foreign population of nearly 75,000 includes Chinese
, and Brazilians
. Among the attractions are festivals
Yokohama was a small fishing village up to the end of the feudal
, when Japan held a policy of national seclusion
, having little contact
with foreigners. A major turning point in Japanese history
happened in 1853–54, when Commodore Matthew Perry arrived just
south of Yokohama with a fleet of American warships,
demanding that Japan open several ports for commerce, and the
Tokugawa shogunate agreed by
signing the Treaty of Peace
initially agreed that one of the ports to be opened to foreign
ships would be the bustling town of Kanagawa-juku (in what is now Kanagawa
Ward) on the Tōkaidō, a strategic highway that
linked Edo to Kyoto and
However, the Tokugawa shogunate
Kanagawa-juku was too close to the Tōkaidō for comfort, and port
facilities were instead built across the inlet in the sleepy
fishing village of Yokohama. The Port of Yokohama was opened on 2 June 1859.
Yokohama quickly became the base of foreign trade in Japan. Japan's
first English language newspaper, the Japan Herald
, was first published there in
1861. Foreigners occupied a district of the city called "Kannai" (
, "inside the barrier"), which was surrounded by a moat
, and were protected by their extraterritorial
status both within and
outside the moat. Many individuals crossed the moat, causing a
number of problems. The Namamugi
Incident, one of the events that preceded the downfall of the
shogunate, took place in what is now Tsurumi
Ward in 1862; Ernest Satow
described it in A Diplomat in Japan.
Meiji Restoration of 1868, the
port was developed for trading silk, the main
trading partner being Great Britain.
Many Western influences first reached Japan
in Yokohama, including Japan's first daily newspaper (1870) and
first gas-powered street lamps (1872). Japan's first railway
was constructed in the same year to connect Yokohama to Shinagawa and Shinbashi in Tokyo.
In the same year, Jules Verne
set Yokohama, which he had never
visited, in an episode of his widely-read Around the World in
, capturing the atmosphere of a
fast-developing, Western-oriented Japanese city.
Foreign ships in Yokohama
A foreign trading house in Yokohama in
In 1887, a British merchant, Samuel
, built the city's first power plant. At first for his
own use, this coal-burning plant became the basis for the Yokohama
Cooperative Electric Light Company. The city was officially
incorporated on 1 April 1889. By the time the extraterritoriality of foreigner areas
was abolished in 1899, Yokohama was the most international city in
Japan, with foreigner areas stretching from Kannai to the Bluff area and the large Yokohama
The early 20th century was marked by rapid growth of industry.
Entrepreneurs built factories along reclaimed land to the north of
the city toward Kawasaki
eventually grew to be the Keihin
. The growth of Japanese industry brought
affluence, and many wealthy trading families constructed sprawling
residences there, while the rapid influx of population from Japan
and Korea also led to the formation of Kojiki-Yato, then the
largest slum in Japan.
Yokohama was destroyed on 1 September 1923 by the Great Kantō
The Yokohama police reported casualties at
30,771 dead and 47,908 injured, out of a pre-earthquake population
of 434,170. Fuelled by rumours of rebellion and sabotage, vigilante
mobs thereupon murdered many Koreans in the Kojiki-yato slum. Many
people believed that Koreans used black
to cause the earthquake. Martial
was in place until 19 November. Rubble from the quake was
used to reclaim land for parks, the most famous being the Yamashita
Park on the waterfront which opened in 1930.
Yokohama was rebuilt, only to be destroyed again by thirty-odd U.S.
air raids during World War II
estimated seven or eight thousand people were killed in a single
morning on 29 May 1945 in what is now known as the Great Yokohama
Air Raid, when B-29s
the city and in just one hour and nine minutes reduced 42% of it to
During the American occupation
Yokohama was a major transshipment base for American supplies and
personnel, especially during the Korean
. After the occupation, most local U.S. naval activity moved
from Yokohama to an American base in nearby Yokosuka
The city was designated by government ordinance
on September 1, 1956.
The city's tram
system was abolished in 1972, the same
year as the opening of the first line of Yokohama Municipal Subway
Construction of Minato Mirai 21 ("Port Future 21"), a major urban development
project on reclaimed land, started in 1983.
Minato Mirai 21
hosted the Yokohama Exotic Showcase in 1989, which saw the first
public operation of maglev trains
Japan and the opening of Cosmo Clock 21, then the largest Ferris wheel
in the world. The 860m-long
Bridge opened in the same year.
Minato Mirai saw the opening of the Yokohama
Landmark Tower, the tallest building in Japan.
2002 FIFA World Cup final was
held in June at the International Stadium
In 2009, the city will mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of
the port and the 120th anniversary of the commencement of the City
Administration. An early part in the commemoration project
incorporates the Fourth Tokyo
International Conference on African Development
which was held in Yokohama in May 2008.
Kanagawa Prefectural Office
Minato Mirai at night
||Rank among cities in Japan
||6th, behind Kobe, Kyoto,
Nagoya, Osaka and
||5th, surpassing Kobe
||4th, the city government of Tokyo
having been disbanded in 1943
||3rd, surpassing Kyoto
||2nd, surpassing Nagoya
||1st, surpassing Osaka
The city has a strong economic base, especially in the shipping
, and semiconductor
will move its headquarters to Yokohama from
is serviced by the Tōkaidō
Shinkansen, a high-speed rail line with a stop at Shin-Yokohama Station. Yokohama Station is also a major station, with two million
The Yokohama Municipal Subway
Places of interest
The historic port area is Kannai
the waterfront Yamashita Park is Yokohama Marine Tower, the tallest inland lighthouse in the world.
inland lies Yokohama
Chinatown, the largest Chinatown in
Japan and one of the largest in the world. Nearby is Yokohama
Stadium, the Silk Center, and the Yokohama Doll Museum.
Isezakichō and Noge areas offer many
colourful shops and bars that, with their restaurants and stores
catering to residents from China, Thailand, South
Korea, and other countries, have an increasingly
The small but fashionable Motomachi
shopping area leads up to Yamate
, or "The
Bluff" as it used to be known, a 19th/early 20th century
Westerners' settlement overlooking the harbour, scattered with
foreigners' mansions. A foreigners' cemetery and the Harbour View
Park ( , Minato no mieru oka kōen
) is in the area. Within
the park are a rose garden and the Kanagawa Museum of Modern
( , Kanagawa kindai bungakkan
There are various points of interest in the futuristic Minato Mirai
21 harbourside redevelopment. The highlights are the Landmark
Tower which is the tallest building in Japan, Queen's
Square Yokohama (a shopping mall) and the Cosmo Clock 21, which was
the largest Ferris wheel in the world when it was built in 1989 and
which also doubles as "the world's biggest clock".
Shin-Yokohama district, where the Shinkansen station is located, is some distance
away from the harbour area, and features the 17,000 capacity
Arena, the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum, and Nissan Stadium, known as the International Stadium Yokohama when
it was the setting for the final for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
The city is home to the Central
team, the Yokohama BayStars
, and the soccer
and Yokohama F.C.
Sankei-en is a traditional Japanese-style garden in Naka Ward.
and built by businessman Tomitaro Hara, it contains seventeen old
buildings bought by Hara himself all over Japan, ten of which have
been declared Important National Cultural Property.
Politics and government
The Yokohama Municipal Assembly consists of 92 members elected from
18 Wards. The LDP
has minority control with 30 seats with Democratic Party of Japan
close 29. The mayor is Fumiko
, who succeeded Hiroshi
in September 2009.
A Map of Yokohama's Wards.
Yokohama has 18 wards
Twin towns — Sister cities
Yokohama has sister-city relationships with these eight cities
Public elementary and middle schools are operated by the city of
Yokohama. There are nine public high schools which are operated by
the Yokohama City Board of Education, and a number of public high
schools which are operated by the Kanagawa Prefectural
Board of Education
Yokohama in fiction