The "World Mobility" series focuses on issues of "mobility" from around the world. The first article looks at a city that has its origins as a small port city: Yokohama, the location of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.'s global headquarters.
Growth and development in any city is deeply connected with its roads, railways and other parts of its transportation infrastructure. Even the smallest of roads provide a connection to the vibrancy of the community and its cultural diversity. Let's take a closer look at Yokohama's trans-portation infrastructure, which is depended upon by the 3.68 million peo-ple who live there.
Yokohama (Kanagawa Prefecture)
Population: 3,679,488 people (as of June 1, 2010 / City of Yokohama)
Longitude: 139 degrees 43 minutes 31 seconds (east), 139 degrees 27 minutes 53 seconds (west)
Latitude: 35 degrees 18 minutes 45 seconds (southern), 35 degrees 35 minutes 34 seconds (eastern)
Average temperature: 16.3 °c (2009 / JMA)
Annual rainfall: 1894.0 millimeters (2009 / JMA)
Annual hours of sunshine: 1854.1 hours (2009 / JMA)
Average annual wind speed: 3.4 meters/second (2009 / JMA)
Major roads: Japan National Route 1, Japan National Route 15, Japan Na-tional Route 16, Bayshore Route, Kanagawa No.1 Yokohane Line, Keihin No. 3, Hodogaya Bypass, Yokohama Shindo, Yokohama Yokosuka Road.
Located approx. 24km from Haneda Intl. Airport and approx. 100km from Narita Intl. Airport.
Main railways: JR East, JR Tokai Keikyu, Tokyu Dentetsu, Sagami Railway Co., Ltd., Yokohama Minatomirai Railway, City of Yokohama Transporta-tion Bureau.
Other transportation systems: Buses and marine transport.
Historical Perspectives on the Connections Between the City and its Transportation
From the opening of its port in 1859, the port city of Yokohama flour-ished as a center of trade and cultural exchange. The roads that are part of its infrastructure were essential in the movement of its people, cargo, and commerce. We asked Yoshiko Shimada from the Yokohama City Guide Association to tell us something of the history behind the roads that supported its development.
Navigator: Yoshiko Shimada, Vice President, Yokohama City Guide Asso-ciation (NPO).
Yoshiko Shimada was born in Yokohama and founded the Yokohama City Guide Association in 1992. She is currently serving as its vice president, after serving as its president for 15 years. She is the author of Women Who Live the Yokohama Lifestyle, The Woodblock Prints of a Westerniz-ing Yokohama: A Reading and numerous other books about Yokohama
Crossing Over Reclaimed Land: Yokohama Station Negishi Route
Kannai Station, Bashamichi Station, Yokohama Stadium, Yamashita Park and nearly all other central Yokohama city landmarks rest on reclaimed land. About 400 years ago in the early Edo period, Kanbe Yoshida con-ducted the first large scale land reclamation operation in the city. The reclaimed land was named Yoshida Shinden. A single road was built across this land, connecting Negishi and Noge. This road is now known as the Yokohama Station Negishi Route.
The Road That Carried Silk: Yokohama Road
Yokohama Road was built just prior to the opening of Yokohama's port af-ter the end of the Edo period in the late 19th century. It connected Kannai with Shibou Village, a village centrally located between Kanagawa-juku and Hodogaya-juku on the Tokaido Route, the old highway to the capital city, Edo. In other words, the road connected the port of Yoko-hama to the major route across the country. The road stretches past Noge and continues straight up to Yoshida Bridge. Japanese merchants who lived in the Japanese quarter of Yokohama used the road to transport silk, to sell to foreign merchants. Yokohama Road is known today as To-be Avenue.
Built By Great Fire: Nihon-Odori
In 1866, a great fire broke out in the Japanese quarter that consumed the Miyozaki Red Light District. Today, Yokohama Stadium stands in its place. The fire also caused significant damage to the foreign settlement quarter. Nihon-odori was built to separate the Japanese quarter, which caused the fire, and the foreign settlement quarter. Completed in 1879, it was designed by Richard Henry Brunton, a British civil engineer. Yoko-hama Park was also designed by Brunton. It was completed in 1876 on the ruins of the Miyozaki Red Light District. To commemorate his efforts, a bronze statue of Brunton now stands at the entrance of Yokohama Park.
Commercial District of the Past and Present: Bashamichi
Completed in 1867, Bashamichi Road connected the foreign settlement quarter with the Tokaido Route. At the time, the road was wide enough for horse-drawn carriages to pass (18m) and lined with many shops. To-day, Bashamichi is a bustling commercial district. Horse troughs, a monument to the first gas lamp lit in Japan in 1872 and other vestiges of the past still remain in the area.