Sunday, November 8, 2009

Western homes walking tour of Motomachi and Yamate

Last week the temperature dropped across the Kanto plain forcing me to buy a coat (a great find by the way at a second-hand store), but autumn is not quite yet ready to leave and the temperature jumped back up for a fine weekend to walk around and explore. I was invited to meet up with some old friends in Yokohama so I decided to head out a few hours earlier and walk around the Motomachi/Yamate area.

150 years ago the port of Yokohama was opened up to foreigners. Westerners came and set up shop making Yokohama one of the largest foreign settlements in Japan. They built Western-style homes around Motomachi and in the Yamate hills located next to Yokohama's famous Chinatown. Much of the area was destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, but today, many of the rebuilt homes have been preserved and make for a nice walking tour of this historical neighborhood.

From the Motomachi Chukagai station, I started off at the Harbor View Park for a view of the city.

The British House is located in the park. Inside, the rooms have been restored and decorated with furnishing of the era.

Yamate 111 Ban-kan is also in the park. There are a lot of tea houses in Yamate for all the walkers, including one in this former home of an American businessman.

The Yokohama Foreign Cemetery is one of the highlighted historical spots in Yokohama. People like the guy who built the first railway in Japan are buried here.

The Yamate Museum (200yen) is located across from the cemetery. Inside you can see odds and ends used in the Western homes.

The Tin Toy Museum (200yen) is a cool place to check out in Yamate. It's located just around the corner from the Yamate Museum.

This is the Ehrismann Residence located in Motomachi Park.

I deviated from the walking tour to go see the remains of the old horse race track in Negishi. From Motomachi Park it's about a 30 minute walk.

From Negishi, I trekked it back down the hill to meet my friends at the Motomachi shopping street. Lots of good places to eat here. In Japan, they already put up Christmas decorations and lights.

The day ended with dinner in Chinatown.

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