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.