Yokohama, the 2nd largest city in Japan it terms of population, is the main seaport for the Kanto Region. Yokohama's port was established in 1859, just a few years after U.S. vessels started sailing in to Japan's waters in the attempt of opening up Japan for trade with North America. Tokyo also has a seaport but is quite small compared to Yokohama's, although Narita Airport is the busiest port in terms of tonnage.
The city of Yokohama consists of 19 wards (ku in the Japanese language): Aoba-ku, Asahi-ku, Hodogaya-ku, Isogo-ku, Izumi-ku, Kanagawa-ku, Kanazawa-ku, Kohoku-ku, Konan-ku, Midori-ku, Minami-ku, Naka-ku, Nishi-ku, Sakae-ku, Seya-ku, Totsuka-ku, Tsurumi-ku, and Tsuzuki-ku.
Expats for the most part are living in Naka-ku, in neighborhoods such as: Honmoku, Motomachi, Negishi, Yamashita-cho, Yamate-cho, and Yaguchidai, where the expat club, Yokohama Country & Athletic Club (AKA YCAC) is located. Yokohama offers a more relaxing atmosphere (usually houses compared to apartments thus more greenery) in the neighborhoods where most expats reside compared to Tokyo. Yokohama's population is estimated around 3 million, having surpasssed Osaka in the early 2000s. Yokohama is the capital of Kanagawa Prefecture (known as "ken" in Japanese).
Like Tokyo the mass transit system including local trains and subways, and buses are incredibly thorough and schedules are adhered to very strictly. The subway lines are color coded to ease navigation.
Expatriate housing for families similarly priced as Tokyo, in the neighborhood of 500,000 ~ 1.5 million yen (US$4,100 ~ $12,500), will be able to get more floorspace and there are generally more houses available than in Tokyo, although at the moment inventory is low! Usually a parking space for one motor vehicle will be included and possibly space for two vehicles. The issue for families/individuals residing in Yokohama but working in Tokyo is the commuting time, which tends to be an hour to 1-1/2 hours (door-to-door). Traveling by car can be more time consuming than by train due to the number of cars and trucks going in the direction of Tokyo.
Now a bustling city, which is now Japan's second largest in terms of population with 3.4 million overtaking Osaka's 2.6 million,
Yokohama affords a comfortable lifestyle for westerners used to greenery and space for children to play compared to Tokyo. There are a
number of attractions around including the world's biggest ferris wheel and International Stadium Yokohama (pictured below), a world-class
sports stadium which hosted the soccer World Cup finals in 2002.
China Town in Naka Ward offers a wide variety of dining options for those who enjoy Chinese cuisine. Minato Mirai 21, built in
the area where the Yokohama Expo was held in 1989, is a futuristic town of modern high-rise buildings including Japan's tallest
structure, the Landmark Tower, as well as Queen's Square Yokohama, and a mega-shopping area with shopping malls and amusement spots.
Nearby, Sakuragi-cho, one of Yokohama's oldest areas, provides a nostalgic atmosphere for its many eating establishments and bars,
as well as some jazz coffee shops.
Other attractions are the Silk Museum (in the Silk Center), the Yamate Museum, which has exhibits related to the city's foreign
community, Yamashita Park, Sankeien, a famous Japanese garden, and the International Cemetery. And in nearby Kamakura, one of the
previous capitals of Japan, one can see one of the Daibutsu, i.e. Great Buddha statute.
Yokohama City & Country Club (YCAC), a private club whose membership consists
primarily of westerners, offers the family a wealth of sporting and social activities as well as competitive teams in baseball, rugby, field
hockey, softball and soccer.
Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau
City of Yokohama - Official city website.
Yokohama Rail Map
Hand In Hand International School - International preschool, kindergarten, enrichment, ESL and after school program with English instructive child care in Motomachi.
St. Maur International School - A private, co-educational, Catholic-ecumenical school founded in 1872, aims to provide children from the international community of all nationalities and religious denominations with a quality education within a caring, nurturing environment.
Yokohama International Christian Academy - A Christian-based K-12 international school open to all families and offers curricula from pre-school to the 12th grade.
Yokohama International School - Offers curricula from pre-school to high school; located in Yamate-cho, Naka Ward.
Rainbow International School - Classes for children aged 18 months to 6 years offering a full Montessori curriculum.
Houses of Worship
Diocese of Yokohama - Provides information about the Diocese and Yamate Church.
Yokohama Christ Church - English-speaking Anglican-Episcopal congregation of Yokohama.
Yokohama International Baptist Church - Established in 1951, located near Negishi Park.
Yokohama Union Church - Founded in March 1872 as an interdenominational and international congregation of English-speaking people.
Asahi Shimbun - Offers Japan news, features from the New York Times and updates from the Silicon Valley via the San Jose Mercury News.
Daily Yomiuri - English-language version of the Yomiuri Shimbun, one of the largest-circulated newspapers in the world. News, weather, foreign exchange rates, features, and other content.
InterFM - Japan's international radio station.
Japan Times - Site content includes updated news, business information, editorials, art and culture features, in addition to other information.
Mainichi Daily News - Features include Top News and Today's Headlines, editorials, features, and more.
Click onto the links below for living guides specifically related to Kobe and Osaka, Nagoya, and Tokyo. We will be adding guides for
other Japan cities in due course.
If you have queries with any Japan real estate matter, even advice, please do not hesitate to contact me at: