Yamate and Motomachi

To fully enjoy Yokohama, take a tour of the Western-style houses and try out the shopping in Motomachi

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The Western-style houses of Yamate, filled with an exotic atmosphere. Have a taste of the culture born from the brands of Yokohama, the first city to take in Western culture with the bags and jewelry from Motomachi
Yamatecho Naka-ku Yokohama-shi Kanagawa
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Yamate retains a deep flavor from 150 years previously when the country was opened

When it comes to the Western-style houses of Yamate, there are 2 houses by the Italian Garden Park, 3 houses around Motomachi Park and 2 houses at Harbor View Park. The Diplomat’s House at the Italian Garden Park is nationally designated as an Important Cultural Property. A highlight is the luxurious ornamentation to the American Victorian style of the house.

Bluff 18 House was used up to 1991 as a priest’s house to a church. The furnishings of that time have been restored and displayed, and the lifestyle of a foreign residence in the early Showa Era has been recreated. Berrick Hall was the residence of a British trader. Used as a dormitory for an international school up to the year 2000, it is the largest structure surviving from pre-war days as a Yamate foreign residence.

The Ehrismann Residence, surrounded by greenery, was designed by Antonin Raymond known as the father of modern architecture. One feature is the sunroom that overlooks the garden along with a smoking room. You can enjoy having cake and other desserts at the café. Yamate 234 House was built as an apartment complex geared toward foreign residents. It was considered to be an unusual apartment house back then and is one of the few surviving structures.

Yamate 111 House leaves an impression with its red-tiled roof and white walls. Many people visit the adjacent rose garden in the peak months of May and October. Yokohama British Hall was built as the residence of the British Consul-General. The hall on the 1st floor is used for events such as concerts and the 2nd floor can be toured with its exhibition room and bedrooms.

Motomachi became prominent in quickly adopting Western culture

When Yokohama Harbor was opened, Yamate was the first to gather shops to cater to foreigners. In the late 1970s, the Motomachi-born Hamatora fashion became a huge trend. Shops such as Kitamura for bags and Star Jewelry for accessories were brands that could be found in Yokohama.

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8 years ago
A very nice peaceful area in Yokohama
The Yamate area is made up of interlocking stone pathways, that bend and crawl at various steep degrees. The area reminds me of my home town; steep hills and Western-style houses. Considering that this area (known to the locals as simply ‘The Bluff’) houses many tourists, I am surprised to find that the maps in these hills are mostly in Japanese. Needless to say, I get lost and stumble into a random Spanish style house. There is no charge to enter the house, but I do have to remove my shoes. For no reason that I can see, there is a woman playing flute, accompanying another woman on piano. I recognise the melody but can’t seem to give it a name. I wander around, having the opportunity to view a real Spanish kitchen, complete with old cutlery. I discover that the house was built by an American, but designed by a British architect; so where the Spanish theme comes from is once again beyond me. The Bluff features many houses of this style, where you can freely wander around and take a look at what the architecture is like in other countries. From the balcony window, I can see what is known as ‘British House’ in the distance. I head into the dining room, expecting to see tables and chairs, but instead, I find some strange artwork that clearly doesn’t belong. I leave the house, and continue my exploring The Bluff. I wander through a cemetery for British soldiers, and out the other side. I find the oldest wooden Christian church in Japan, but it is of very little interest to me. I walk for about an hour through maze-like streets, before finally finding a map in English. I see a sign for the Tin Toy Museum, walk back up steep hills, and through twisting alleyways. Teruhisa Kitahara's personal collection of tin toys can be viewed inside the museum, and some small souvenir gifts are also sold; including robots! Overall, the Yamate area is great for a stroll and to get away from the busy Yokohama City. Although there are some tourist attractions along the way, the streets are mostly free of people. The views from The Bluff are also excellent, and you can see Yokohama Pier in the distance.
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