A Brief History of Yokohama

Yokohama began as a small fishing village under the rule of the Tokugawa Shogunate. In 1859 the Port of Yokohama was opened for foreign trade and grew rapidly into a bustling centre of international commerce. A myriad of foreign traders established homes in the Kannai and Yamate districts, some of these houses can still be seen today. During the Meiji Restoration, Japan’s first newspaper, gas-powered street lamp, railway, beer and ice cream were all produced from the melting pot that Yokohama had become. The disastrous Great Kanto earthquake of 1923 levelled some of the city, which was then rebuilt. The air raids of WWII took their toll on Yokohama as well. The city has thrived in spite of these blows and is now Japan’s second largest city after neighbouring Tokyo. With a rich history filled with cultural intricacies, Yokohama is a city to explore and absorb.