Lying on Tokyo Bay, south of Tokyo, Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan by population after Tokyo and most populous municipality of Japan.
Yokohama was a small fishing village up to the end of the feudal Edo period, when Japan held a policy of national seclusion. As seclusion was relaxed, Yokohama rapidly became the base of foreign trade in Japan. Indeed, Japan’s first English language newspaper, the Japan Herald, was first published there in 1861.
The early 20th century was marked by rapid growth of industry in Yokohama, but sadly much was destroyed in 1923 by the Great Kantō earthquake. Yokohama was rebuilt, only to be destroyed again by U.S. air raids during World War II.
The city was rebuilt yet again and soon achieved a number of technological firsts. In 1989, Yokohama Exotic Showcase saw the first public operation of maglev trains in Japan and the opening of Cosmo Clock 21, then the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. In 1993, Minato Mirai saw the opening of the Yokohama Landmark Tower, then the tallest building in Japan.
To take a peek at old Yokohama, pop over to the Noodle Museum with its recreation of a 1958 Tokyo street scene, with real ramen noodle bars. Kitsch, but tasty.