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Yokohama Photo: Akumach / Creative Commons

Yokohama, Japan

almost 2 years ago
Written by Ronald Toppe
Ports > Yokohama, Japan

Yokohama, Japan

almost 2 years agoPorts
Written by Ronald Toppe
Yokohama Photo: Akumach / Creative Commons

Statsraad Lehmkuhl visits Yokohama September 12-15 2022

Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan, with 4.4 million inhabitants. The city is located in Tokyo Bay, and the entire area from Yokohama in the south to Chiba in the north has grown together with Tokyo into one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, with 38 million inhabitants.

Yokohama in 1880. Photo: Creative Commons
Yokohama in 1880. Photo: Creative Commons

Until the middle of the 19th century, Yokohama was a fishing village. In 1859 the United States pressured Japan to open up the country to international trade, and the city quickly became the hub for international shipping.

Throughout the 20th century several factories was established in Yokohama. The city grew in importance, and people from other parts of Japan, Europe, China and Korea settled there.


Japan is located in a volcanically active part of the Pacific Ocean, and on September 1, 1923, the Yokohama was destroyed by a large earthquake. 30,000 people died, and nearly 50,000 were injured, out of a population of 434,000.

Yokohama during the 1945 air raid. Photo: National WWII Museum
Yokohama during the 1945 air raid. Photo: National WWII Museum

The city was rebuilt, but destroyed again by the United States during World War II, first in 1942 and again in 1945.

Trade city

After the war, Japan was occupied by the United States until 1952. The city was the most important Japanese port for the Americans in this period, and served as a naval base during the Korean War.

Still an important port city, Yokohama is now also a center for high-tech industry, finance and commerce. Isuzu, Nissan, and JVCKenwood have their headquarters in

the city.

Yokohama. Photo: Kimjun / Creative Commons
Yokohama. Photo: Kimjun / Creative Commons

Founded by a Norwegian

Not many are aware that the Japanese beer brand Kirin was founded by a Norwegian. Johan Martinius Thoresen from Arendal, born in 1834, learned the art of making beer at Arendal's brewery. He took the knowledge with him when he emigrated to Japan, and when he came across a water source in Yokohama in 1868, he established the Spring Valley Brewery.

His beer quickly became a success, and the brewery is today called Kirin Brewery Company, perhaps Japan's best-known beer brand internationally.

The original brewery was destroyed by an earthquake in 1923, but the source still exists, and is now a fountain inside the factory area (Source: olportalen.no).

Hot and humid

Summer in the south of Japan is hot and humid. Winter can be chilly, but it rarely gets below freezing. It rains a lot, especially during the summer and autumn. Yokohama receives 1,730 millimeters of rainfall a year.

Normal maximum temperature in September: 27.3 ℃
Normal rainfall in September: 241 mm

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