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Nostalgia in Yokohama

Yokohama is still something of a grand dame. Perhaps no longer the celebrated talk of the town, but with sparkle showing that, in her heyday, she was a beauty to be reckoned with.

The long wandering walk from Kannai to Nihon Oodori gives a glimpse into the exciting Meiji and Showa days, when this port brought the world to Japan, and viceversa. The sweeping stone buildings, reminiscent of Paris or London, topped with copper that has gone green with age.

The New Grand hotel, nearby the port-facing Yamashita Park, is another splendid reminder of Yokohama's cosmopolitan past.

Those born and raised in Yokohama are called Hamakko, children of the port. And even now, when in Tokyo more and more remnants of the past are torn down and replaced with conbini, Yokohama still protects her children and her history.

Stained glass, the scenes very different from those I grew up with in Europe, show in their tints the earliest memories of 'gaikokujin', of terrifyingly large ships and palanquins, overseen by the immortal phoenix.

Yokohama is a 35 minute ride on the express train from Shibuya on the Toyoko line. Exit at Motomachi- Chukagai, for easy access to the famous China Town, Yamashita Park and area of historical houses.

by Chiara

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