Yokohama is on Southern Honshu Island 30 km (18.6 miles) from Tokyo. It is the capital of Kanagawa prefecture and the second largest city in Japan. The Keihan Industrial zone, the area between Yokohama and Tokyo, is the centre of Yokohama’s manufacturing district.
In 1854, US Commodore Matthew C. Perry visited Yokohama when it was a small fishing village. The city began to flourish in 1859 with the opening of the port. When Japan opened its doors to foreigners, under the Meiji Restoration (1868–1912), Yokohama had an influx in traders.
Japan’s first railroad, in 1872, linked Tokyo and Yokohama. The area surrounding the original Yokohama station (now Sakuragicho station) developed as a nucleus for foreign business. The city of Yokohama was formerly established in 1889.
Yokohama was almost entirely destroyed in the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake and subject to heavy bombardment in World War II. Since then, Yokohama’s trade has flourished. Major industries include steel mills, oil refineries and chemical plants, which all play a major role in trade and industry in Japan. Other exports include electrical equipment, textiles and processed food.
In 1989 Yokohama celebrated the 100th anniversary of the City Government and the 130th anniversary of the opening of the Port. Yokohama’s success as Japan’s trading port has led to further improvements. Daikoku Pier was completed in 1990 and the construction of Minami Honmoku Pier commenced the same year. The Yokohama Port International Cargo Center Co. Ltd. was established and the operation of the Yokohama Air Cargo Terminal (YAT) commenced in 1992. An international passenger port terminal opened in 1993. Tokyo’s Haneda airport and Narita airport in the Chiba prefecture both serve Yokohama. West of Yokohama, Atsugi airport serves domestic airlines.
Places of Interest
The Landmark Tower is the fourth tallest structure in Japan and also has the world’s second fastest elevator. Museums include the Yokohama Maritime Museum, Yokohama Museum of Art, Mitsubishi Minato Mirai Industrial Museum, the Silk Museum and Yokohama archive of History. Yokohama is home to Kanazawa library, established in 1275 and known for its collection of historical documents. There are two private and two public universities and many Shinto shrines and temples.