Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The Three Towers

When the Black Ship arrived at the south of Yokohama more than one and a half centuries ago, the history of Japan made a radical change. Commmodore Matthew Perry demanded the Edo shogunate to open up its ports to foreign ships, and thus ended Edo's seclusion from the outside world.

Eventually, on 2 June 1859, Yokohama port was opened to foreign traders. This year, the city celebrates the 150th anniversary of the port's opening.

Yokohama is a heaven for photographers. Forget about Minato Mirai, I have had enough of that area. This time, I headed further towards the south-east to the Kannai (関内) area, where the foreigners once occupied. The name literally translates to "inside the barrier" - for it was once surrounded by a moat. Many of the historical buildings were destroyed during the great Kanto earthquake, and some, in the air raids during the world war. But a number of them were restored and remain till today.

Yokohama: King's Tower
Firstly, there is the Yokohama Prefectural Office (横浜県庁舎).

Located just in front of Nihon Dori station is the prefectural office. While most of the departments have their offices here, a few are housed in other buildings around the area, including one opposite this main building.

The old building was destroyed in the great Kanto earthquake, then rebuilt and completed in 1928. Since then, it has also been known as King's Tower.

Yokohama: Queen's Tower
Now, it there is a King's Tower, of course there is a Queen's Tower. This is the Yokohama Customs House (横浜税関), which is located near the pier. The green dome is the symbol of the famous landmark.

Yokohama: Jack's Tower
And guess what? This is Jack's Tower. The tower was built in 1917 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of Yokohama port. During the great Kanto earthquake in 1923, only the clock tower and part of the building survived. It was then restored and later renamed by the allied force, the Memorial Hall. It now serves as the Yokohama Kaikou Memorial Museum ( 横浜開港記念館).

Together, these three towers are commonly known as the Three Yokohama Towers. Sounds Lord-of-the-Rings-ish, eh?

2 persons flung their shoes:

Kim Siang said...

wah wah wah..bring me there!!!

Kryptos said...

when you come to tokyo, why not? but personally, i prefer the yamate area further down. i'll post photos on that later.