Location: Yokohama Archives of History

I love history. I don't know why. I'm all about retro and historical and the stories about people and places  from times gone by. It's somewhat strange, perhaps, because I am, at heart, a science teacher. Part of the allure is probably the "different world" aspect of history. I like the thought of living in a place with a different way of doing things (maybe that's why I wanted to come to Japan so much?) with different clothes and style and technology. I like futuristic stuff too, but most of that is just holographic screens and flying cars with silver jumpsuits for clothes.

In most of my recent travels (around America, Japan, and Taiwan), I've managed to locate and visit at least a few history museums. These are great places for a look at local culture and local history. They're usually very inexpensive and while they don't always give an authentic feel to being back in a particular period of time, they provide a quick lesson in how an area developed.
 The Yokohama Archives of History (English website) gives just a small look at Yokohama's history, focusing on Edo to Taisho-Showa eras. The highlight of the Archives is this building, the former Old British Consulate General.
 You can go inside and see a few memorials and explore a little bit of the building. The Consulate faces the exhibition building, with two permanent exhibition rooms and a special exhibition room. The permanent rooms look at Yokohama around 1865 through the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, and the modernization of Yokohama. For only 200 yen, it's a nice quick primer on the important modern developments in Yokohama. There is a larger Yokohama History Museum somewhere in town that I have yet to visit.
 There are a few historic buildings left in the area, including this church.
 It's nestled between a plaza at the Archives and a large modern building.
 Just down the main street, sitting prominently on the corner, this old brick structure looks beautiful. It is undergoing a little maintenance, as you can see.
It, too, is surrounded by modern buildings. There aren't many historical structures left in Japan, as most of them have been wiped out by progress, earthquakes, fire, and war.

The Archives complex is about two minutes from Nihon-odori Station on the Minato-Mirai line. Or, do as I did and walk from Chinatown (5-10 minutes). Yokohama Stadium (5 minutes) and Cosmoworld/Minato-Mirai (15-20 minutes) are all in the area as well, making most of Yokohama's attractions accessible on foot. It's open 9:30-5:00 every day except Monday (and around New Year's), and depending on your level of interest will take 30 minutes to an hour to explore. Some of the signage is in Japanese only but there's enough English provided to make the exhibits worthwhile.

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