With the arrival of the Chinese New Year, it is high time to visit Yokohama. With the biggest Chinatown in Japan and in Asia (and one of the biggest in the world), they have just started a two week celebration marathon.
Yokohama is “la petite soeur de Tokyo”, i.e. the little sister of Tokyo and the second largest city in Japan with a population of approx. 3.7 million. Located about 30 km south of Tokyo, it was a sleepy fishing village up until mid-19th century when it became one of the first Japanese ports opened to foreign trade.
Since then it quickly grew as the base of foreign trade, attracting commercial and diplomatic interest and a number of foreign residents. It was Yokohama to attract western fashion and photography, to publish the first English language newspaper, to produce the first ice cream and to brew the first beer in Japan.
Yokohama port was used to trade silk, what also brought technological advancements, such as railway connection to Tokyo, gas powered street lamps and even ensured an appearance in the Jules Verne’s book “Around the World in Eighty Days”.
Unfortunately, big part of the city was destroyed in the Great Kantō Earthquake in 1923 and then again during the Second World War. Nevertheless, the City has been rebuilt and expanded using the reclaimed land. That is where today you can find Yamashita park and Minato Mirai 21 (“Port of the Future”) district with the famous Landmark Tower.
Currently Yokohama has one of the biggest foreign population in Japan, competing perhaps only with Tokyo.
If you happen to be in Tokyo or around, come over for a walk!