Our City, Yokohama ~ A Compact City Opened to the World
350 years ago from today. The Kannai/Kangai area of central Yokohama was a shallow inlet.
Through the tremendous efforts over 10 years of Kanbee Okina Yoshida who was a lumber merchant of Edo and his predecessors, the shallow seaside was irrigated and landfilled and is now the central part of our city, Yokohama.
Only until this preparation of the land, could Yokohama become an open port.
The arrival of Admiral Perry's Black Ships in 1853, followed by the opening of the port in 1859 brought many Westerners accompanied by Chinese who served as translators and brokers and their visitations and the exchanges of Western economic culture with Japanese merchants, Yokohama developed to what it is today.
At that time, a route, "Yokohamamichi (Yokohama Road)", to connect "Tokaido (Tokai Highway)", main route of Japan that lead to Edo, to Yokohama (near the port) was prepared.
At a point where this "Yokohamamichi" and the connecting area with the port, a "Kan-mon (gateway)" was setup to prevent conflicts between Westerners and the Samurai.
The port side of this gateway was Kannai (inner side of Kan-mon) and the land side was called Kangai and even today near Kannai Station there is a bridge where you can recall that time in the past. In the area where Kannai and Kangai is centrally located, there are modern roads that developed in all directions including "Bashamichi (Horse-drawn Carriage Road)", said to have been named such because of the Westerners that came and went on the road in horse-drawn carriages at the time.
The rail lines of JR, private railways, subway lines, etc., and also bus routes connect various locations in the city and transportation is convenient in this area.
Currently the Kanagawa Prefectural government, Yokohama City Hall, offices of banks and companies, historical restaurants and shops and many businesses gathered here.
This area is energetic and at the same time has many places symbolizing Western culture being brought into Japan for the first time and you can feel the deep history of this area. From the Bay Area to the Motomachi Yamate District, there are many conference halls, hotels, restaurants, historical shopping districts and new shopping malls and all are within walking distance in a compact area.
Alongside the port, the fragrance of the sea drifts in the air, an open park with lush greenery and Japan's largest Chinatown that lets you feel the passing of history from the port opening. Yokohama is a land completed through reclamation and preparation by our predecessors where Western culture flowed in to develop its rich internationalization and is a compact city opened to the world.