Yamate 山手 District, formerly known as The Bluff, Yokohama

Bluff 111 Residence

Bluff 111 Residence

During the Treaty Port Era, foreign residents in Yokohama settled high up in the Yokohama Hills, which they called The Bluff. Here also was to be found the major foreign consulates of the various Great Powers with trading interest in the city.

Today, the area is known as Yamate, or the Yamate Bluff, and still clings on to an air of foreign-ness and history, feeling not unlike a small (American) hill town somewhere in Maine or Massachusetts, by virtue of the handful of historic buildings that still exist and were built in a very consciously American style.

All of the treaty-port era (1859 – 1899) buildings were destroyed in the aftermath of the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1922, and so almost everything remains today post-dates that terrible disaster.

The exception is the Foreigner’s Cemetery, which still holds the graves of many a Yokohama resident that made his or her home here, halfway across the world from America and Europe.  The cemetery is organised like a miniature foreign settlement, with French, British, Dutch and Russian areas clearly marked out.

With its panoramic view of Yokohama, the cemetery is the perfect spot for a moment of poignant contemplation.

This walk begins at the site of the former French Consulate, crosses over to the Foreign Cemetery and the former British Consulate before winding its way across the Yamate Hills to end at the site of the former Italian Consulate.

Yamate is accessed via Motomachi.

Yamate is accessed via Motomachi.

The former Rue Baltard, near the site of the former French Consulate.

The former Rue Baltard, near the site of the former French Consulate.

The French Consulate park.

The French Consulate park.

Gates to the Foreign Cemetery.

Gates to the Foreign Cemetery.

Panoramic view of the Foreign Cemetery and of Yokohama City.

Panoramic view of the Foreign Cemetery and of Yokohama City.

Close-in on some of the graves in the Foreign Cemetery.

Close-in on some of the graves in the Foreign Cemetery.

The British Consular Residence.

The British Consular Residence.

View of the British Consular Residence.

View of the British Consular Residence.

The Iwasaki Museum is part of the former Gaiety Theatre site built in 1885 by a French architect.

The Iwasaki Museum is part of the former Gaiety Theatre site built in 1885 by a French architect.

The Yamate Museum was a private residence built in 1909, making it the only Western-style residence from the Treaty Port era that survives today.

The Yamate Museum was a private residence built in 1909, making it the only Western-style residence from the Treaty Port era that survives today.

Yokohama Christchurch dates fro 1931.

Yokohama Christchurch dates fro 1931.

Bluff 214 residence

Bluff 214 residence

Bluff 234 Residence was built in 1927.

Bluff 234 Residence was built in 1927.

Bluff 89-6 Residence.

Bluff 89-6 Residence.

Ehrismann Residence was built in 1926.

Ehrismann Residence was built in 1926.

Berrick Hall was built in 1930.

Berrick Hall was built in 1930.

Interior of Berrick Hall, which is a public museum today.

Interior of Berrick Hall, which is a public museum today.

European-inspired residences scattered along the Yamate hills.

European-inspired residences scattered along the Yamate hills.

More european-inspired residences.

More european-inspired residences.

European-inspired residence.

European-inspired residence.

The Yamate Tennis Museum sits in the former Tennis club grounds, and was the place where tennis was first introduced to the city.

The Yamate Tennis Museum sits in the former Tennis club grounds, and was the place where tennis was first introduced to the city.

Yamate was and is still home to a handful of international and local schools, this being one of them.

Yamate was and is still home to a handful of international and local schools, this being one of them.

The Sacred Heart Cathedral was completed in 1933.

The Sacred Heart Cathedral was completed in 1933.

Entrance to the former Italian Consulate grounds.

Entrance to the former Italian Consulate grounds.

This public fountain was erected in 1887.

This public fountain was erected in 1887.

Bluff 18 residence, also known as the "Diplomat's house" is an important American-Victorian style building. It was home to Sadatsuchi Uchida, who was a diplomat during the Meiji era and served as the New York Consul General.

Bluff 18 residence, also known as the “Diplomat’s house” is an important American-Victorian style building. It was home to Sadatsuchi Uchida, who was a diplomat during the Meiji era and served as the New York Consul General.

Bluff 18 Residence.

Bluff 18 Residence.

View of the Italian Gardens towards Yokohama city. Here was where the Italian Consulate sat in the Meiji era.

View of the Italian Gardens towards Yokohama city. Here was where the Italian Consulate sat in the Meiji era.

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About Kennie Ting

I am a wandering cityophile and pattern-finder who is pathologically incapable of staying in one place for any long period of time. When I do, I see the place from different perspectives, obsessive-compulsively.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Art & Architecture, Cities & Regions, Japan, Landmarks & History, Photography, Travel & Mobility and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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