Comfort Hotel Yokohama Kannai
3-33 Sumiyoshi-cho, Naka-ku
Phone: (81) 45 650-4711
Fax: (81) 45 650-4712
This metallic monument resembling an early camera outside Gold's Gym on Bashamichi is a tribute to Renjo Shimo-oka, who set up a photography studio here after learning the skills of photography from Henry Heusken, a Dutchman and interpreter for the first US Ambassador to Japan. Shimo-oka photographed the SS America, which caught fire while berthed in Yokohama and experimented with night photography. Shimo-oka's first studio was in Noge. He moved to this site in 1868. -AH
This large copper etching on the wall shows a cheering BayStars team. It is surrounded by the hand prints of the team and commemorates 1998, the year the Yokohama BayStars won the Japanese Baseball Grand Championships. This part of the street is nicknamed BayStars Street. -AH
On the corner of a street very close to the BayStars monument, you'll find an engraved stone monument with a metal etching of an Edison-type generator. This monument commemorates the coal-fired power plant that used to be on this site. The plant was built by the Yokohama Kyodo Electric Light Company. It began supplying electricity to 700 houses in the city in 1890. -AH
Standing side by side on the Kannai side of Yoshidabashi Bridge are two iron monuments. One has a map of the early settlement of Yokohama on it and the other has a picture of the first iron bridge that stood here. The bridge was built in 1869 by Henry Brunton, a Scottish engineer, who was also responsible for many lighthouses in the region, the design of Yokohama Park and the layout of Nihon Odori. It was built at the request of the Kanagawa governor, and at a time when bridges were traditionally made of wood and replaced regularly, such a strong and durable construct would have been quite amazing. Across the road, standing on the now concrete bridge, is a pillar. It marks the checkpoint on Yoshida Bridge that was established soon after the opening of the port in 1859 to protect foreigners living in the settlement. -AH
This Presbyterian church was built in a French Gothic style in 1926 after the original red brick church on this site collapsed in the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. The theory is that the church has one tower rather than two because its design was influenced by the original Romanesque style church that stood here. It was founded by Dr. Hepburn, a medical missionary of the Presbyterian Church of America, who translated the bible into Japanese and practiced medicine in the Kanagawa province. The church was named after his church in Milton, Pennsylvania. The inside of the church was destroyed in the bombing raids and fires of World War II and has since been restored. Once in a residential area, Shiloh church is now somewhat out of place among the shops and office buildings. Services are held on Sunday mornings and evenings. -AH
The records of Kirin Brewery Co. indicate that beer was first brewed commercially in Japan in Amanuma area. Kirin Park is a small city park that covers part of the old Amanuma area, and features the special old well known as "Beer's Well", or the biru ido, which supplied the pure water with which that first beer was brewed. Naka Ward has established a Commemorative Monument to the Birthplace of Beer in Japan at this site. Do reflect on this fact, of all the new, exotic technologies, fashions, foods, and drinks that foreigners brought through Yokohama into Japan, perhaps beer and baseball have made the greatest impact on the leisure habits of the average Japanese.
Yokohama Park is located next to Yokohama Stadium, home of the Yokohama Bay Stars, Yokohama's baseball team. Yokohama Park itself was opened in 1876 and was the first public park with a Western-style garden in Japan. Yokohama Park also has a Japanese-style garden, a broad grassy play area, and a plaza with a statue of an elephant. Water gushes from the elephant's trunk and creates quite a picturesque image. Legend has it that during the catastrophic 1923 earthquake all those who made it to Yokohama Park survived. The extensive water pipe system for the gardens ruptured and turned the large grassy areas into a sea of mud and a sea of life. Every year a memorial bazaar is held here to commemorate the opening of the Port of Yokohama from the last week of May to the first week of June.
Richard Henry Brunton was born in Scotland in 1841. He was initially employed by the Japanese Government as an adviser to build lighthouses. He arrived in Japan in 1868 and left in 1876 after a disagreement. However, during his time in Japan, he designed some 26 lighthouses mostly in the area of Tokyo Bay. Additionally, Richard helped with the design and building of numerous other projects including bridges, waterworks, the Yokohama harbor and Yokohama Park, where his statue is placed. - AH
The stone monument in Yokohama Park is a reminder that Yokohama Park was the first such park opened in Japan for the use of both foreigners and Japanese. It was designed by Richard Henry Brunton, a Scottish engineer (his statue also stands in the park), after fire destroyed the area in 1866. The park was opened in 1871 and included a cricket ground. In 1923, the park provided a refuge to people after the Great Kanto Earthquake and in 1929 a baseball stadium was built. The current stadium was opened in 1978.
The Yokohama City Hall is an impressive building situated adjacent to Yokohama Park and the Yokohama Stadium. The Yokohama City Hall is a terrific source of information about everything from the history and culture of Yokohama, to sightseeing in the City, and even help if you're interested in doing business, or even starting your own business, in Yokohama. If you are a foreign resident, Yokohama City Hall is the best place to start to find out information about the which of the 19 ward offices (local government offices) within the City of Yokohama that you need to visit to take care of such matters as Alien Registration, family registry, personal seal registration, and getting children enrolled in Elementary and Junior High Schools. Ward offices also administer National Health Insurance and National Pension Plans, and are where residents must go to file their local taxes.
Yokohama Stadium is the home of the Yokohama Bay Stars, Yokohama's baseball team. Japan has perhaps the most eclectic culture on earth, choosing to adopt what it considers to be best in other cultures. And sports are no exception. Baseball was first introduced from the US in 1873, and it was love at first strike. Today baseball is Japan's national sport. However, like everything foreign that has been adopted and assimilated into Japanese society, baseball has been re-cast to match Japanese culture. The most striking change to American observers is that Japanese players do not steal bases. Why? Because in this group-oriented society it is the team that counts, not the individual, and such actions as stealing bases stress individual accomplishment and are thus frowned upon. The bizarre exception to this rule is the idol worshipping of the coaches. Everyday during baseball season, images of coaches are plastered in newspapers and broadsides on all commuter trains. And during televised baseball games, the camera intently focuses on the faces of the coaches for as much as 50 percent of the game, as if the coaches were mentally controlling the movements of the players on their teams. And the Japanese fans love it. But don't take anyone's word for it, come to Yokohama Stadium, feel the excitement surge through the crowds, and decide for yourself.
The monument to Yokohama Chokai-jo, which served as Yokohama's first town hall in the Meiji Era, is located inside the Yokohama Port Opening Hall. The monument, which marks the site of the Yokohama Chokai-jo, is located to the left of the stairway at the entrance to the building. The Yokohama Chokai-jo functioned as Yokohama's administrative office from the beginning of the Meiji Era in 1868 until 1889, when Yokohama became a municipality.