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Best Historic Locations in Yokohama

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The Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery

Yokohama has four cemeteries for foreigners, but the gaijin bochi is the best known and is also the oldest. It was established in 1859 when two Russian marines were interred on the grounds of Zotokuin Temple. Now there are about 4,500 graves, which include those of Meiji government employees, missionaries, teachers, journalists, traders, ships' crewmen, and military. There is an exhibition space with panel displays and photographs that outline the history of the foreign community in Yokohama. It should be mentioned that a volunteer organization, the Gaikokujin Bochi wo Aisurukai, offers tours.

Yokohama, Japan
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Soji-ji Temple

One of the largest temples in eastern Japan, Soji-ji is a major temple belonging to the Soto-sect of Zen Buddhism. It was established in 1321 in Noto Province by Jokin Keizan (1268-1325), but after a disastrous fire, it was relocated to Tsurumi in 1911. Both the statue of Miroku Bosatsu, which dates to 1276, and the bell (cast in 1269) have been named important cultural properties. Along with Eihei-ji (in Fukui prefecture) in 1615, Soji-ji was named a major Zen center by the Tokugawa government. The public is welcome to participate in meditation sessions at this very active Zen temple.

Yokohama, Japan
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Taya Caves

Taya Caves are adjacent to Josen-ji Temple and are located on the side of a hill. One story regarding the history of the caves is that the Hojo family excavated them in the mid-twelfth century for safekeeping of their possessions. It is believed that some members of the Shingon-sect had the caves expanded so that they could practice their esoteric/mystical rituals. Note the Buddhist drawings on the walls and ceiling which include some characters in Sanskrit. The dimensions of the caves are width one meter, length 1.5 kilometers and height two meters.

Yokohama, Japan
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