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Best Local History & Culture in Yokohama

By: Cityseeker
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Yokohama Archives of History

Opened in 1981, and housed in the former British Consulate, the archives building was rebuilt in 1931, after having been destroyed in the Kanto earthquake in 1923. The first floor of the Archives gives one an overview of the opening of Japan, with the coming of Commodore Perry. The second floor is used for periodic exhibits, often highlighting early foreign residents and their business. The extensive reading room has not only English language newspapers (published in Shanghai, London, Yokohama and Kobe during the treaty port years until 1923), but also rare first-edition books, mainly from the two major collections of Don Brown and Paul Blum.

3 Nihon-Odori, Yokohama, Japan, 231-0021
Silk Museum

The Silk Museum is a delightful museum that portrays the role that silk has played in the history of Yokohama. In the years after Japan opened its doors to the world, silk was its major export, and Yokohama was the primary port for the silk shipping industry. In addition to explaining the role that silk has played in Yokohama's past, the Silk Museum houses a wonderful collection of silk kimonos and antique costumes fashioned from silk. It also houses a library of Japanese books and a movie theater. For those interested in the history of Japanese costumes, and those enraptured by the unique beauty of flowing silk kimonos, the Silk Museum is a rare treat.

No. 1, Yamashita-cho, Yokohama, Japan, 231-0023
Yokohama Maritime Museum

Located on Yokohama's waterfront, this museum was established in 1989 in the newly developed Minato Mirai complex. It was built to commemorate the 130th anniversary of the port opening. Exhibits illustrate the pivotal contribution of Yokohama towards Japan's modernization, with general information on marine transport and displays focusing on Japan's international sister-city ports. Open from Tuesday to Sunday 10am.

2-1-1 Minato Mirai, Yokohama, Japan, 220-0012
Japanese Overseas Migration Museum

This museum charts the history of Japanese migration overseas, primarily to the Americas and Hawaii. Scenes depict the early migrants to Hawaii who worked in the sugar industry, the next wave of migrants who went as settlers to countries such as Peru and Brazil, and then the post World War II migrants who went in search of a better life. Each part of the exhibition has English and Japanese explanations and there are documents, videos (with subtitles) photographs and artifacts. The journeys of the migrants are explored and scenes from their new life are recreated in the museum. A huge amount of material has been collected for this museum; much of it is displayed on video or computers. It is closed Mondays. -AH

2-3-1 Shinko, Yokohama International Centre, Yokohama, Japan, 231-0001
Sail Training Ship Nippon Maru

Nippon Maru is one of the oldest ships, built in 1930, anchored in front of Sakurgicho Station. The ship was built as a training ship, and has been a prop in coaching over 12,000 cadets in a span of 54 years. The ship has sailed an equivalent of almost almost 45.5 trips around the globe. Nippon Maru stopped sailing and training in the year 1984, and was docked at Yokohama City. Nippon Maru is now open to public, who can go about the ship, through every deck, read about its history and know what being on a ship feels like. Nippon Maru is a great way to learn and experience something unusual, historical and impressive. There are volunteers on board to guide visitors with information related to Nippon Maru. Various events are held around Nippon Maru, the Full-Sail Exhibition, where Nippon Maru’s beauty is unrolled to all the viewers, the Brass Band Concerts where local schools and various bands perform. A must visit and a great getaway with families and friends.

2-1-1 Minato Mirai, Sakuragi-cho, Yokohama, Japan, 220-0012
NYK Hikawamaru Exhibits

NYK Hikawamaru was a liner built in 1930, to transport passengers and goods to and fro from Japan and Seattle, and an epitome of naval architecture of its time. Now converted to a museum, visitors get to see the liner as it was back then, with fantastic interiors, large decks, the plush first-class accommodations, the commoners' cabins, the wheelhouse and the engine rooms, all telling you of the historic voyages of the liner, with the departed era still, somehow, lingering around.

279 Yamashita-cho, Yokohama, Japan, 231-0023
Yamate Museum

The quaint green wooden house that is the Yamate Museum was part of a larger Western/Japanese house constructed in 1909 for Mr Kanekichi Nzkazawa. It was moved to the current location, without the Japanese part, and is now the last remaining Western wooden house in Yokohama. The two-room museum has a collection of artifacts from the time of the establishment of the foreign settlement in Yokohama including glassware, tiles, chinaware and an organ. Upstairs is a model of the nearby Foreign Cemetery and information about some of the more notable graves. The museum also gives a glimpse into life in the early development of Yokohama and the foreign community that lived here. Some of the information is available in English. - AH

247 Yamate-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken, Yokohama, Japan, 231-0862
Hasseiden Local Museum

The Hasseiden was built in 1933 on the headland of Honmoku Hatiouj, by Adachi Kenzo, a politician. The three-story octagonal building is modeled on the Yumedono of Horyu-ji temple. Young people attended lectures in the second floor room, where on a small stage stand eight sages, four either side of the a divine mirror. In 1937, Kenzo donated the building to the Yokohama City, along with the land that became Honmoku Koen. It is now a local museum displaying fishing and farming implements and part of a farmhouse from the Meiji era. The many photographs record a gentler pace of life in Yokohama and record the huge reclamation scheme along the coast here. There is very little English in the museum, but an English leaflet is available. Paths behind the museum lead to Honmoku Koen and have a good view of the coast and port. - AH

76-1 Honmoku Motomachi, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, Yokohama, Japan, 231-0082
Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum

What ramen do you prefer? Not a question most Westerners are usually posed, because all we really know is the cheap stuff we ate as starving students. Well, in Japan it's a whole different story, one the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum wants to help you both discover and enjoy. Across three floors, you can taste at least nine different versions of one of Japan's staple foods, from traditional to more modern recipes. What's the difference, who knows, but it'll sure be fun finding out. The Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum is a great place to learn something about Japan while filling your gut. Don't be shy; their raison'd'etre is to feed and educate you, so skip breakfast and head on down to the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum.

2-14-21 Shinyokohama, Yokohama, Japan, 222-0033
Yokohama History Museum

Besides real artifacts that chronicle Yokohama's 20,000-year history, there are numerous, models, exhibits and displays for further learning. Of particular interest is the model of a teahouse from the Tokaido highway. The seven-floor building includes the following facilities: a library, reading room, auditorium, seminar room and a gallery for special exhibitions.

1-18-1 Nakagawa-cho, Yokohama, Japan, 224-0002
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