Being so close to China it is no mystery that Japan would have a few well developed Chinatowns and the one in Yokoahma, the Chukagai, is the biggest of all of them. The history of Yokohama Chinatown starts in 1859 when some Japanese ports were opened for trading with foreign countries. Many Chinese traders settled in the parts of Yokohama that were designated as zones for foreign residents in Japan, and they built schools and factories in these areas. Even today the area between Chinatown and Motomachi are home to many consulates, ambassador’s residents, foreign churches and a famous foreigner’s cemetery.
Yokohama Chinatown’s prosperity was hampered by the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 and the war in 1937, but it picked back up after the war and grew steadily until the big growth in the 1970s when diplomatic relations with China improved and again in 2004 when the Minatomirai Line gave the area a dedicated subway station. Today there are a few thousand Chinese living in the area. There’s much more to say about Chinese history in Japan and the history of Chinatown but I am saving that for a post for the coming week!
There are four main gates into the area and in the first few photos you can see one of them. Chinatown spills out beyond the gates but once you pass one you can be sure you are inside the Chukagai. The area is very popular with tourists, both Japanese and foreign and the streets are very lively, especially here in Yokohama which is even quieter than Tokyo.
The second batch of Sakura or Cherry blossom photos I took for the Special.T commercial campaign back in spring. This was on one of the very few truly fine days of the spring so I got out and took as many photos as I possible could. I saw one happy couple having their wedding photos taken in the famous park on top of the Yamate area near Yokohama’s Yamashita park. I hope they had a great marriage and a big party afterwards! Just looking at these photos make me long for next year’s cherry blossom season!
Better late than never – here are some photos from the gorgeous sakura season a couple of months ago, this time in Yokohama’s Minator Mirai area. I took these for the sakura tea campaign for the French Special.T brand, you can find more of my photos on their Pinterest page, along with several other photographers both Japanese and foreign. I think I have gotten hooked on getting photos of kids trying to catch or smell the flowers, I always manage to get one of those shots! Enjoy!
Feeding birds seems to be an almost universal pastime for the elderly of all nations on Earth. Here is a gentleman that I met in Yokohama who was kind enough to allow my photography as he was feeding the local gulls one fine afternoon in the sun. When I get to be his age I hope I can return the favor and do my share of bird feeding as well!