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City of Yokohama
Map of Kanagawa Prefecture with Yokohama highlighted in purple
Country Japan
PrefectureKanagawa Prefecture
 • MayorFumiko Hayashi
 • Total437.38 km2 (168.87 sq mi)
 (October 1, 2016)
 • Total3,732,616
 • Density8,534.03/km2 (22,103.0/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+9 (Japan Standard Time)
– TreeCamellia, Chinquapin, Sangoju
Sasanqua, Ginkgo, Zelkova
– FlowerRose
Address1-1 Minato-chō, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken
"Yokohama" in new-style (shinjitai) kanji
Japanese name

Yokohama (Japanese: 横浜, pronounced [jokohama] (listen)) is the second-largest city in Japan by population[1] and the most populous municipality of Japan. It is the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture. It lies on Tokyo Bay, south of Tokyo, in the Kantō region of the main island of Honshu. It is a major commercial hub of the Greater Tokyo Area.

Yokohama developed rapidly as Japan's prominent port city following the end of Japan's relative isolation in the mid-19th century and is today one of its major ports along with Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Tokyo and Chiba.



Yokohama (横浜) means "horizontal beach".[2] The current area surrounded by Maita Park, the Ōoka River and the Nakamura River have been a gulf divided by a sandbar from the open sea. This sandbar was the original Yokohama fishing village. Since the sandbar protruded perpendicularly from the land, or horizontally when viewed from the sea, it was called a "horizontal beach".[3]


Opening of the Treaty Port (1859–1868)

Yokohama was a small fishing village up to the end of the feudal Edo period, when Japan held a policy of national seclusion, having little contact with foreigners.[4] A major turning point in Japanese history happened in 1853–54, when Commodore Matthew Perry arrived just south of Yokohama with a fleet of American warships, demanding that Japan open several ports for commerce, and the Tokugawa shogunate agreed by signing the Treaty of Peace and Amity.[5]

It was initially agreed that one of the ports to be opened to foreign ships would be the bustling town of Kanagawa-juku (in what is now Kanagawa Ward) on the Tōkaidō, a strategic highway that linked Edo to Kyoto and Osaka. However, the Tokugawa shogunate decided that Kanagawa-juku was too close to the Tōkaidō for comfort, and port facilities were instead built across the inlet in the sleepy fishing village of Yokohama. The Port of Yokohama was officially opened on June 2, 1859.[6]

Yokohama quickly became the base of foreign trade in Japan. Foreigners initially occupied the low-lying district of the city called Kannai, residential districts later expanding as the settlement grew to incorporate much of the elevated Yamate district overlooking the city, commonly referred to by English speaking residents as The Bluff.

Kannai, the foreign trade and commercial district (literally, inside the barrier), was surrounded by a moat, foreign residents enjoying extraterritorial status both within and outside the compound. Interactions with the local population, particularly young samurai, outside the settlement inevitably caused problems; the Namamugi Incident, one of the events that preceded the downfall of the shogunate, took place in what is now Tsurumi Ward in 1862, and prompted the Bombardment of Kagoshima in 1863.

To protect British commercial and diplomatic interests in Yokohama a military garrison was established in 1862. With the growth in trade increasing numbers of Chinese also came to settle in the city.[7] Yokohama was the scene of many notable firsts for Japan including the growing acceptance of western fashion, photography by pioneers such as Felice Beato, Japan's first English language newspaper, the Japan Herald published in 1861 and in 1865 the first ice cream and beer to be produced in Japan.[8] Recreational sports introduced to Japan by foreign residents in Yokohama included European style horse racing in 1862, cricket in 1863[9] and rugby union in 1866. A great fire destroyed much of the foreign settlement on November 26, 1866 and smallpox was a recurrent public health hazard, but the city continued to grow rapidly – attracting foreigners and Japanese alike.

Meiji and Taisho Periods (1868–1923)

After the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the port was developed for trading silk, the main trading partner being Great Britain. Western influence and technological transfer contributed to the establishment of Japan's first daily newspaper (1870), first gas-powered street lamps (1872) and Japan's first railway constructed in the same year to connect Yokohama to Shinagawa and Shinbashi in Tokyo. In 1872 Jules Verne portrayed Yokohama, which he had never visited, in an episode of his widely read novel Around the World in Eighty Days, capturing the atmosphere of the fast-developing, internationally oriented Japanese city.

In 1887, a British merchant, Samuel Cocking, built the city's first power plant. At first for his own use, this coal-burning plant became the basis for the Yokohama Cooperative Electric Light Company. The city was officially incorporated on April 1, 1889.[10] By the time the extraterritoriality of foreigner areas was abolished in 1899, Yokohama was the most international city in Japan, with foreigner areas stretching from Kannai to the Bluff area and the large Yokohama Chinatown.

The early 20th century was marked by rapid growth of industry. Entrepreneurs built factories along reclaimed land to the north of the city toward Kawasaki, which eventually grew to be the Keihin Industrial Area. The growth of Japanese industry brought affluence, and many wealthy trading families constructed sprawling residences there, while the rapid influx of population from Japan and Korea also led to the formation of Kojiki-Yato, then the largest slum in Japan.

Great Kanto earthquake and the Second World War (1923–1945)

Much of Yokohama was destroyed on September 1, 1923, by the Great Kantō earthquake. The Yokohama police reported casualties at 30,771 dead and 47,908 injured, out of a pre-earthquake population of 434,170.[11] Fuelled by rumors of rebellion and sabotage, vigilante mobs thereupon murdered many Koreans in the Kojiki-yato slum.[12] Many people believed that Koreans used black magic to cause the earthquake. Martial law was in place until November 19. Rubble from the quake was used to reclaim land for parks, the most famous being the Yamashita Park on the waterfront which opened in 1930.

Yokohama was rebuilt, only to be destroyed again by U.S. air raids during World War II. An estimated seven or eight thousand people were killed in a single morning on May 29, 1945 in what is now known as the Great Yokohama Air Raid, when B-29s firebombed the city and in just one hour and nine minutes reduced 42% of it to rubble.[10]

Post-World War II growth

During the American occupation, Yokohama was a major transshipment base for American supplies and personnel, especially during the Korean War. After the occupation, most local U.S. naval activity moved from Yokohama to an American base in nearby Yokosuka.

The city was designated by government ordinance on September 1, 1956.[citation needed]

The city's tram and trolleybus system was abolished in 1972, the same year as the opening of the first line of Yokohama Municipal Subway.

Construction of Minato Mirai 21 ("Port Future 21"), a major urban development project on reclaimed land, started in 1983. Minato Mirai 21 hosted the Yokohama Exotic Showcase in 1989, which saw the first public operation of maglev trains in Japan and the opening of Cosmo Clock 21, then the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. The 860m-long Yokohama Bay Bridge opened in the same year.

In 1993, Minato Mirai saw the opening of the Yokohama Landmark Tower, the second tallest building in Japan.

The 2002 FIFA World Cup final was held in June at the International Stadium Yokohama.

In 2009, the city marked the 150th anniversary of the opening of the port and the 120th anniversary of the commencement of the City Administration. An early part in the commemoration project incorporated the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) which was held in Yokohama in May 2008.

In November 2010, Yokohama hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting.



Yokohama has a total area of 437.38 km² and is located 5 meters above sea level. It is the capital of Kanagawa prefecture, bordered to the east by Tokyo Bay and located in the middle of the Kantō plain. The city is surrounded by hills and the characteristic mountain system of the island of Honshū, so its growth has been limited and it has had to gain ground from the sea. This also affects the population density, one of the highest in Japan with 8,500 inhabitants per km².

The highest points within the urban boundary are Omaruyama (156 m) and Mount Enkaizan (153 m). The main river is the Tsurumi River, which begins in the Tama Hills and empties into the Pacific Ocean.[13]

These municipalities surround Yokohama: Kawasaki, Yokosuka, Zushi, Kamakura, Fujisawa, Yamato, Machida.


The city is very prone to natural phenomena such as earthquakes and tropical cyclones because the island of Honshū has a high seismic activity, being in the middle of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Most seismic movements are of low intensity and are generally not perceived by people. However, Yokohama has experienced two major tremors that reflect the evolution of Earthquake engineering: the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake devastated the city and caused more than 100,000 fatalities throughout the region,[14] while the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, with its epicenter on the east coast, was felt in the locality but only material damage was lamented because most buildings were already prepared to withstand them.[15]


Yokohama features a humid subtropical climate (Köppen: Cfa) with hot, humid summers and chilly winters.[16] Weatherwise, Yokohama has a pattern of rain, clouds and sun, although in winter, it is surprisingly sunny, more so than Southern Spain. Winter temperatures rarely drop below freezing, while summer can seem quite warm, because of the effects of humidity.[17] The coldest temperature was on 24 January 1927 when −8.2 °C (17.2 °F) was reached, whilst the hottest day was 11 August 2013 at 37.4 °C (99.3 °F). The highest monthly rainfall was in October 2004 with 761.5 millimetres (30.0 in), closely followed by July 1941 with 753.4 millimetres (29.66 in), whilst December and January have recorded no measurable precipitation three times each.

Climate data for Yokohama (1991−2020 normals, extremes 1896−present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 20.8
Average high °C (°F) 10.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 6.1
Average low °C (°F) 2.7
Record low °C (°F) −8.2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 64.7
Average snowfall cm (inches) 4
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.5 mm) 5.7 6.3 11.0 10.7 11.1 13.5 12.0 8.8 12.7 12.1 8.6 6.2 118.8
Average relative humidity (%) 53 54 60 65 70 78 78 76 76 71 65 57 67
Mean monthly sunshine hours 192.7 167.2 168.8 181.2 187.4 135.9 170.9 206.4 141.2 137.3 151.1 178.1 2,018.3
Source: Japan Meteorological Agency[18]


Historical population

Year of
Population Rank among cities in Japan
1873 64,602 7th, behind Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto,
Nagoya, Kanazawa and Hiroshima[19]
1920 422,942 6th, behind Kobe, Kyoto,
Nagoya, Osaka, and Tokyo
1925 405,888 6th
1930 620,306 6th
1935 704,290 6th
1940 968,091 5th, surpassing Kobe
1945 814,379 4th, the city government of Tokyo
having been disbanded in 1943
1950 951,189 4th
1955 1,143,687 4th
1960 1,375,710 3rd, surpassing Kyoto
1965 1,788,915 3rd
1970 2,238,264 2nd, surpassing Nagoya
1975 2,621,771 2nd
1980 2,773,674 1st, surpassing Osaka[20]
1985 2,992,926 1st
1990 3,220,331 1st
1995 3,307,136 1st
2000 3,426,651 1st
2005 3,579,133 1st
2010 3,670,669 1st
2015 3,710,824 1st

Yokohama's foreign population of 92,139 includes Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, and Vietnamese.[21]


Yokohama has 18 wards (ku):

Wards of Yokohama
Place Name Map of Yokohama
Rōmaji Kanji Population Land area in km2 Pop. density

per km2

1 Aoba-ku 青葉区 302,643 35.14 8,610
2 Asahi-ku 旭区 249,045 32.77 7,600
保土ヶ谷区 205,887 21.81 9,400
4 Isogo-ku 磯子区 163,406 19.17 8,520
5 Izumi-ku 泉区 155,674 23.51 6,620
6 Kanagawa-ku 神奈川区 230,401 23.88 9,650
7 Kanazawa-ku 金沢区 209,565 31.01 6,760
8 Kōhoku-ku 港北区 332,488 31.40 10,588
9 Kōnan-ku 港南区 221,536 19.87 11,500
10 Midori-ku 緑区 176,038 25.42 6,900
11 Minami-ku 南区 197,019 12.67 15,500
12 Naka-ku (administrative center) 中区 146,563 20.86 7,030
13 Nishi-ku 西区 93,210 7.04 13,210
14 Sakae-ku 栄区 124,845 18.55 6,750
15 Seya-ku 瀬谷区 126,839 17.11 7,390
16 Totsuka-ku 戸塚区 274,783 35.70 7,697
17 Tsurumi-ku 鶴見区 270,433 33.23 8,140
18 Tsuzuki-ku 都筑区 211,455 27.93 7,535

Government and politics

The Yokohama Municipal Assembly consists of 92 members elected from a total of 18 Wards. The LDP has minority control with 30 seats with Democratic Party of Japan with a close 29. The mayor is Fumiko Hayashi, who succeeded Hiroshi Nakada in September 2009.

List of mayors (from 1889)

Culture and sights

Yokohama's cultural and tourist sights include:


There are 42 museums in the city area.[23]

Excursion destinations

In 2016, 46,017,157 tourists visited the city, 13.1% of whom were overnight guests.[23]

In popular media


Economy and infrastructure

The city has a strong economic base, especially in the shipping, biotechnology, and semiconductor industries. Nissan moved its headquarters to Yokohama from Chūō, Tokyo in 2010.[25] Yokohama's GDP per capita (Nominal) was $30,625($1=\120.13).[26][27]


Yokohama is serviced by the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, a high-speed rail line with a stop at Shin-Yokohama Station. Yokohama Station is also a major station, with two million passengers daily. The Yokohama Municipal Subway, Minatomirai Line and Kanazawa Seaside Line provide metro services.

Maritime transport

Yokohama is the world's 31st largest seaport in terms of total cargo volume, at 121,326 freight tons as of 2011, and is ranked 37th in terms of TEUs (Twenty-foot equivalent units).[28]

In 2013, APM Terminals Yokohama facility was recognised as the most productive container terminal in the world averaging 163 crane moves per hour, per ship between the vessel's arrival and departure at the berth.[29]

Rail transport

Railway stations
East Japan Railway Company
Tōkaidō Main Line
Yokosuka Line
Keihin-Tōhoku Line
Negishi Line
Yokohama Line
Nambu Line
Tsurumi Line
Central Japan Railway Company
Tōkaidō Shinkansen
  • – Shin-Yokohama –
Keikyu Main Line
Keikyu Zushi Line
Tokyu Corporation
Tōyoko Line
Meguro Line
  • – Hiyoshi
Den-en-toshi Line
Kodomonokuni Line
Sagami Railway
Sagami Railway Main Line
Izumino Line
Yokohama Minatomirai Railway
Minatomirai Line
Yokohama City Transportation Bureau
Blue Line
Green Line
Yokohama New Transit
Kanazawa Seaside Line


Public elementary and middle schools are operated by the city of Yokohama. There are nine public high schools which are operated by the Yokohama City Board of Education,[30] and a number of public high schools which are operated by the Kanagawa Prefectural Board of Education. Yokohama National University is a leading university in Yokohama which is also one of the highest ranking national universities in Japan.

International relations

Twin towns – sister cities

Yokohama is twinned with:[31]

Partner cities



  1. ^
  2. ^ "Memories of old Honmoku" . The Japan Times. May 19, 1999. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  3. ^ "Yokohama City History, pg. 3" (PDF).
  4. ^ Der Große Brockhaus. 16. edition. Vol. 6. F. A. Brockhaus, Wiesbaden 1955, p. 82
  5. ^ "Official Yokohama city website it is fresh" . Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
  6. ^ Arita, Erika, "Happy Birthday Yokohama! ", The Japan Times, May 24, 2009, p. 7.
  7. ^ Fukue, Natsuko, "Chinese immigrants played vital role ", Japan Times, May 28, 2009, p. 3.
  8. ^ Matsutani, Minoru, "Yokohama – city on the cutting edge ", Japan Times, May 29, 2009, p. 3.
  9. ^ Galbraith, Michael (June 16, 2013). "Death threats sparked Japan's first cricket game" . Japan Times. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Interesting Tidbits of Yokohama" . Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau. Archived from the original on July 17, 2020. Retrieved February 7, 2009.
  11. ^ Hammer, Joshua. (2006). Yokohama Burning: The Deadly 1923 Earthquake and Fire that Helped Forge the Path to World War II, p. 143.
  12. ^ Hammer, pp. 149 -170.
  13. ^ "Tsurumi River Multipurpose Retarding Basin" . Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  14. ^ "Collection of 1923 Japan earthquake massacre testimonies released" . September 3, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  15. ^ "FNN Remembering 3/11: Yokohama station and surrounding areas at time of earthquake occurrence" . Retrieved January 10, 2016.
  16. ^ "Yokohama, Japan Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)" . Weatherbase. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  17. ^ "Yokohama Weather, When to Go and Yokohama Climate Information" . Retrieved January 11, 2010.
  18. ^ 気象庁 / 平年値(年・月ごとの値) . Japan Meteorological Agency. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  19. ^ Japanese Imperial Commission (1878). Le Japon à l'exposition universelle de 1878. Géographie et histoire du Japon (in French).
  20. ^ Osaka was once more populous than Yokohama is today.
  21. ^ 横浜市区別外国人登録人口(平成30年3月末現在) . Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  22. ^ Webseite des Kulturzentrums
  23. ^ a b c "Statistical Booklet Book of Yokohama 2018" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 16, 2018. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  24. ^ Tagesthemen. Beitrag in der Nachrichtensendung der ARD, Moderation: Ingo Zamperoni, 30. November 2020, 35 Min. Eine Produktion von Das Erste
  25. ^ "Nissan To Create New Global and Domestic Headquarters in Yokohama City by 2010" . Retrieved May 6, 2009.
  26. ^ "Yokohama GDP 2015" .
  27. ^ "Yokohama 2015 population" (PDF).
  28. ^ "Ports & World Trade" .
  29. ^ "Chinese Ports Lead the World in Berth Productivity, JOC Group Inc. Data Shows" . Press Release. AXIO Data Group. JOC Inc. June 24, 2014. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  30. ^ "Official Yokohama city website" . Archived from the original on June 19, 2010. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
  31. ^ "Yokohama's Sister/Friendship Cities" . Yokohama. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  32. ^ "MPSP sets sights on city status" . The Star. August 1, 2016.


External links

Categories: Yokohama | Environmental model cities | Populated coastal places in Japan | Port settlements in Japan | Cities in Kanagawa Prefecture | Cities designated by government ordinance of Japan

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