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Yokohama Travel Guide, Japan

Yokohama: Japan's Premiere Port City  

As one of the cities in Japan most accustomed to seeing visitors, Yokohoma, Japan has developed into having a population with various multicultural inhabitants. It has various attractions with multicultural themes and roots. Found on the main island of Honshu, located inside the Kanto Region and serving as the capital of the Prefecture of Kanagawa, Yokohama has risen to become a port city when Japan's cultural and economic isolation ended in the late 1900s.

During the final feudal years of the Edo period in Japan Yokohama's minimal contact with the outside world ended. M. Perry, a commodore of the American envoy of warships, planned to open up Japan's trading ports. It was done with the Tokugawa Shogunate accepting the ending of trade seclusion. The year was 1954.

At first what was then known as a connecting highway between Edo and Kyoto/ Osaka was agreed as the major port. It was determined that it was too much in the proximity of the Tokaido; so the port plan was moved to the quiet fishing village known as Yokohama. From here on the fishing village became a point of contact with the world.

Yokohama was a witness to the downfall of the shogunate in 1862. During the Meiji Restoration of 1962, the city built commercial ties with Great Britain primarily in the domain of silk. Development was pushed by commerce and soon Yokohama reached international city stature by 1889. Major western influences only served to bolster the city's development. Its first daily newspaper came in 1870, gas-powered lamps on the street in 1872 and the city's first electric company in 1887.

The massive Kanto earthquake of September 1923 and the bombings and American occupation during and following the Second World War only gave pause to Yokohama's development. Afterwards the city surged back into an international port city. 2009 marks a historical year in Yokohama's history: its 150 anniversary since the opening of its port.

What began as a tiny fishing village Yokohama is now renowned as a maritime city carrying a population of nearly-four million. As a crucial port, it is connected to Chiba, Osaka, Kobe, Nagoya, Tokyo and Hakata.

Yokohama's firm economic base continues to bring in revenue to the city through its endeavors channeled through biotechnology semiconductors and of course shipping. It has been reported that car manufacturing giant Nissan will be shifting its base from Tokyo to Yokohama in less than five years.

Visitors may wish to spend time and money indulging in sights to see malls to maul and local cuisine to sample. As a city that had many years of isolation and then gradual cultural diversification and industrial modernization, it would not be surprising to see side by side the souvenir shops that evoke Shanghai spiritual influences along with the Silk Museum filled with Japanese traditions.

Other sites of note include the Marine Tower Lighthouse, the Yamashita Parks in the Yokohama Waterfront area, the Bay Bridge, the Sankeien Japanese Garden and the Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise.


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