Kaiko Promenade

Osaka Castle
Osaka Dome
Osaka Grand Cube
Universal Studios Japan
Hiroshima Peace Memorial
Shukkeien Garden
Golden Pavilion
Heian Shrine
Kasuga Taisha
Toji Temple
Nishi Hongwanji
Toshogu Shrine
Irohazaka Drive
Meiji Shrine
Asakusa Kannon
Girl with Red Shoes On
Hikawa Maru
Marine Rouge Cruise
Kaiko Promenade
Yokohama Museums

In “Four Perfect Days in Yokohama,” Glenn described the Kaikō Promenade as follows:

Many of the interesting harborside areas are linked by a walking tour called “Kaikō no Michi,” shown with a red dotted line on your map, and also signposted as the “Yamashita Rinkō-sen Promenade.” It follows the tracks of a discontinued freight rail line from Yamashita Park past Kaiko Hiroba Square, the spot where Commodore Perry signed the Treaty of Kanagawa which opened Japan from isolation 150 years ago, the Archives of History (a small museum), the Customs tower, and the Aka-Renga red brick warehouses (built in the 1910s), from which you can walk to the Minato Mirai (Harbor of the Future) area. It includes several large complexes for shopping and eating, including World Porters, Queen’s Square, and Landmark Plaza (beneath the tallest building in Japan, 296-meter Landmark Tower), as well as an amusement park with the world’s second-tallest Ferris wheel (simultaneously the world’s largest clock) and a sailing ship floating in wet-dock, the Nippon Maru, next to the Maritime Museum. These are all connected to each other and to Sakuragi-chō station on the JR train line.

This map shows the entire route of the Kaikō Promenade.

We ultimately walked most of the length of the promenade, covering it in stages over several days. The center portion, through Yamashita Park, we saw many times.

West End

We tackled the western (Rinkō Line) portion of the promenade on Friday, June 4. Although we didn’t have time to really explore any of the sights along the way, we did see many of the ones Glenn mentioned. And, as you can see, it was a continuing challenge to get the definitive photo of the Ferris wheel clock.

As we approached the west end of Yamashita Park to begin the trek, I captured this view of the harbor: In the foreground the Sea Bass shuttle heads for the Yamashita Park terminus. In the background, a fireboat salutes a cruise ship departing from the passenger terminal.

The “India Water Tower” or Indian water fountain,
presented by an association of East Indians living in Japan, at the west end of Yamashita Park. The promenade begins up a flight of stairs to the left (out of the picture).

A placard showing the route of Rinkō Line portion of the promenade and setting forth the “rules”: “The use of bicycles, skateboards and similar devices is prohibited on the promenade,” and “The use of fire, and other acts that interfere with the passage of pedestrians on the promenade are prohibited.” The sign also announces that, while the entire length of the promenade is wheelchair-accessible, “there are no facilities to access the Yokohama International Passenger Terminal from the promenade by wheel chair.”

The Red Brick Warehouses, or Aka-Renga. These warehouses, built by the federal government between 1911 and 1913, have withstood the ravages of a major earthquake and the Second World War. Over the years, as shipping operations dispersed to other ports, these warehouses were slowly forgotten. They were bought by Yokohama City in 1992, and were refurbished using the latest in renovation technology and earthquake-proof reinforcements while preserving the historically important physical structures. It took a while, but the Red Brick Warehouse Park was reopened in 2002. The smaller Building #1 is mainly for special events: it contains a large theater on the third floor and several smaller exhibit spaces on the second floor, and a few shops on the first floor. The larger Building #2 has three floors of specialty shops, cafés, and restaurants. The open space between the two warehouses is maintained as a park, and in the evening, the two buildings are beautifully illuminated.

This fanciful sculpture stands on the waterfront behind the Aka-Renga complex. In the background is the Yokohama International Passenger Terminal.

First view of the Cosmo World Ferris wheel/clock (note the time: 5:16 p.m.). The photo was probably taken from the Shinkō Circle Walk, an elevated circular walkway above the intersection of Kokusai Odori Boulevard and Bashamichi Avenue.

A closer view taken at the same time.

A minute later, looking down Kokusai Odori Boulevard and showing the Hotel Intercontinental The Grand Yokohama to the right.

One of the markers in the pavement of the promenade.

Possibly the definitive picture of the Ferris wheel, taken at 5:29 p.m.

The Yokohama Landmark Tower (at 296 meters, the tallest building in Japan), as seen from Kishamichi Promenade (a converted railway bridge).

One more try at the Ferris wheel, this time at 5:38 p.m. We have to be back at the hotel by 6, so we’re really rushing now.

Not in too much of a hurry, though, to seize the opportunity to photograph an especially large collection of the varied tiles that dot the pavements throughout this area of Yokohama. These were near the Yokohama Archives of History.

Another assortment.

East End

On the morning of Saturday, June 5, we visited Harbor View Park, on a hill (“France-yama”) at the east end of Yamashita Park, accessed by climbing stairs to the Yokohama Doll Museum and then crossing “French Bridge” and climbing more stairs. An August 2004 article by Natasha Shieh in Yokohama Echo explains the derivation of the name of the hill:

In Naka Ward’s Yamate area, the slopes going down towards the Yokohama Doll Museummake up the area that is still today called “French Hill,” or furansu-yama. The origin of this name comes from the long history of foreigner settlement in Yokohama; about 130 years ago, the French military was stationed near French Hill, while the British had its military in the area of today’s Minato-no-mieru-oka Park/Iwasaki Museum.

The park definitely lives up to its name, providing a view of the harbor industries and Yokohama Bay Bridge.

There’s a lot more to the park than these photos show, and we wandered its trails for some time, but without taking any other pictures. The park is the site of these notable buildings:

  • British House Yokohama, the former official residence for the British Consulate General in Yokohama, a colonial-style building designed by a British engineer in Shanghai in 1937, also designated as a tangible cultural heritage of the city of Yokohama.

  • Yamate 111 Ban-Kan. Built in 1926 as the private residence of a Mr. Laffin (an American), the mansion was designed by J. H. Morgan, famous for his work on the spectator seats of the Negishi Race Track, and the Yamate Seikokai Church, Yokohama. The beautiful red-tiled and white-walled Spanish-style mansion creates an ambience of Western housing characteristic of the colonial days, and the vaulted ceiling and the corridor design on the second floor are unique features in the Yamate area and exclusive to the 111 Ban-Kan.

  • The Kanagawa Museum of Modern Literature. Manuscripts and letters written by novelists and literary masters known for their connection to Kanagawa are displayed here.

  • Osaragi Jiro Memorial Museum, which celebrates the life and work of Osaragi Jiro (18981973), one of the most famous writers in post-war Japan, who was born in Yokohama and is well known for his masterpiece Kurama Tengu. The museum houses his manuscripts and other original works as well as a reproduction of a study he used in his later years.

We undoubtedly saw all these edifices, though without knowing what they were.