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Yokohama

By: Mary Johnson
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1979


Umi-no-Koen

Umi-no-Koen, literally "Seaside Park", is a one-kilometer stretch of beach located right next to Hakkeijima Sea Paradise. This man made beach is one of Yokohama's prime spots for sun bathing. Also a great spot for families with young children. The beach is clean and the bay water is very shallow, so toddlers and infants can "swim" safely. Umi-no-Koen's facilities include clean toilets, showers and changing facilities in several locations. Although there are no baby change tables, the handicapped toilets have plenty of space for changing. There are also drink vending machines, a souvenir shop and a beachfront restaurant. The park has nice barbecue facilities that can be rented for a half-day.

Yokohama, Japan
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Sankei-en

Amid the urban din of southern Yokohama lies a serene, picturesque sanctum. Based on an ingenious design conceptualized by Tomito Hara, this traditional, Japanese-style garden is riddled with trickling rivers and winding trails. Tomitaro Hara began by acquiring several buildings including tea houses, a farmer's house, a pagoda and various villas, and then placed them on his property amidst ponds, wooded slopes and landscaped gardens; these were later opened to the public in 1906. The picturesque, undulating landscape of the park is dotted with a troupe of iconic buildings which are as striking to look at as they are historically significant. Sankei-en also features lovely tea houses which further augment its allure. Although there are sixteen separate buildings, the Rinshukaku villa, with paintings by Kano-school masters, is particularly noteworthy. In addition, the famed pagoda, Tenzui-ji Juto, Gekka-den, Tenju-in, Choshu-kaku, Shunso-ro, Tokei-ji, the Yanohara House and the main hall of Tomyo-ji have been designated significant cultural properties, too.

Yokohama, Japan
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Negishi Forest Park and Track

Negishi Shinrin or literally Negishi Forest, is also known by several names that celebrate its past and present status as a place for play, enjoyment and relaxation. In 1866, the Yokohama Race Club chose Negishi as the first permanent Western-style horse racing track. Hence, another of the park's names is Negishi Keiba Kinen Koen or the Negishi Memorial Race Track Park. Racing continued here until 1943. You can still see the distinctive oval shape with the old blackened concrete stands on the side. After the war the Americans turned the area into a golf course. And, today it is one of the largest expanses of green space in Yokohama, and a prime spot for picnics and touch football games.

Yokohama, Japan
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Yokohama Zoo 'Zoorasia'

Zoorasia is not only one of Japan's largest zoos, but it is also the most child-friendly zoo in the country. It covers an area of about 53 hectares and holds more than 1,500 animals of over 150 species; everything from elephants to alligators, and tropical birds to piranhas. The beauty of this zoo is that the animals are housed in environments that are as close as possible to that which they inhabit in the wild. Even the vegetation and terrain are as natural as possible.

Yokohama, Japan
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Kodomo-no-Kuni

Kodomo-no-Kuni, or literally "Children's Land," is a 976,000 square meter park devoted to family and the raising of children with "sound minds and sound bodies." Kodomo-no-Kuni water activities including rowing, pedal boats, and fishing with nets. Kodomo-no-Kuni has outdoor swimming pools and waterslides. Two attractions for landlubbers are Kodomo-no-Kuni's zoo and its working dairy farm. The children's zoo features lots of birds, sheep, goats, deer, rabbits and guinea pigs. that kids can hold to their heart's content. The working dairy farm let's children see where milk comes from. If you wish you can buy some of the fresh milk, as well as homemade dairy ice cream. Families with infants and toddlers can rent strollers at the park. Check website for admission fee.

Yokohama, Japan
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Yamate Italian Garden

This quiet and peaceful garden is designed in an Italian style with a symmetrical layout featuring planting beds bordered by clipped hedges, a water course and a fountain. It was called Italia Yama or the Italian Hill, as this is where the Italian consulate was located from 1880 to 1886. There is a view across Yokohama to Minato Mirai 21 from the garden, and on a clear day it is possible to see Mount Fuji behind the fountain. Two Western houses, the Diplomat's House and Bluff 18 Ban-kan have been rebuilt on the grounds of the garden, both of which are open to the public. -AH

Yokohama, Japan
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Honmoku Jinja (Shrine)

Honmoku Jinja was established in 1192. The original Shrine, then known as Honmoku Juni Ten Ja was located at the foot of Honmoku-Juniten, which was then on the shore of Tokyo Bay. Honmoku Jinja enshrined the gods who were the guardians of fishermen and the local people. Thus, it was of great importance to all fishermen, and the shrine even received monetary support from the Kamakura Shogunate. Sadly, the original shrine, seven centuries old, was destroyed during the air raids of World War II. Honmoku Jinja was rebuilt in 1954 at a different site. Finally, in 1993 it was moved to its current location.

Yokohama, Japan
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Bluff No.18 Ban-Kan

The hills of Yamate had a lot of foreign settlement, and has seen a lot of changes in Yokohama. This place is strongly connected historically to the city and can be seen in the beautiful western houses on this hillside few of which survived the 1923 earthquake. Seven have been preserved including Bluff 18 Bankan.

Yokohama, Japan
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Motomachi Park

Motomachi Park is a grassy, wooded island of peace in the heart of Yamate, and just a short walk from the popular Motomachi shopping district. Motomachi Park sits at the base of the famous Bluff area, minutes away from the trendy shops of Yokohama's "Golden Half Mile" and adjacent to the Foreigners Cemetery, which is an interesting sightseeing destination in its own right. In addition to grassy lawns and shade trees, Motomachi Park offers visitors a kyudo archery range, a large swimming pool, and a living museum of life in Yamate during the Golden Years before the 1923 earthquake--the Ellisman Mansion.

Yokohama, Japan
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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.

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1979