Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Yokohama Waterfront Promenade

This entry is overdue for more than two months already, but anyway here it goes. My trip to Yokohama continued with a walk along the waterfront promenade which is within walking distance from Yokohama Chinatown. Along my way there, I walked past the Marine Tower, a 106 meter tall lighthouse is located nearby and claimed to be the largest onland lighthouse in the world. It is currently closed to the public until 2009 pending change of ownership and renovation. However, I still won't be going up the tower even if it was open for business that day, simply because there is a better tower ahead which I was heading to later.
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Marine Tower.
There are a few more towers that I came across including the Queen's Tower, in which it is now used to house the Custom Department.
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Queen's Tower.
The Yamashita Rinkosen Promenade is a nice waterfront promenade connecting Minato Mirai 21 with Yamashita Park. It used to be the route of the Yamashita Rinko Line, a harbour freight railway line. The promenade starts in the futuristic Minato Mirai 21 district. From there it leads along the waterfront, where many swallows can be spotted flying freely around the area. For some of the birds, they are daring enough to stay still at the spot where they were even though people tried to go near them.
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Those birds look fake, but they are real ones.
Further down the waterfront would be the Red Brick Warehouses also known as Yokohama Akarenga. These warehouses were built on the first modern pier constructed in the East Asia called "Shinko Pier" for Yokohama Customs to control import and export of goods through the port of Yokohama. They were the most advanced warehouse at the time, being constructed with earthquake-resistant and fireproof structures. However, they were no longer used as the warehouses since 1989 because of expansion of the containerization of the marine transport. The City of Yokohama restored them by acquiring from National Government to preserve them as one of the important historical buildings and make them as a symbol of the lively and cultural port.
In April 2002, these warehouses welcomed its grand open as Aka-Renga Soko, which have been transformed into a pleasant shopping and community centre.
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It was a coincidence that when I was there on that day, a flower festival was on and there were a vast amount of different types of flowers being decorated along the square. Those flowers came in a variety of colours and species and most of them were flowers which I have no idea what they were called, except for tulips and wild daisies.
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Flowers shaped into a few balls and long cylindrical sticks.
From the Akarenga, the promenade then passes the architecturally remarkable New Yokohama International Port Terminal, where passenger liners arrive and depart.
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A model of a ship during the older days inside the terminal.
It was also from the same spot that the famous skyline of Yokohama city is at its best view and the clear weather on the day just made it a perfect day for an outing.
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The Landmark Tower, Yokohama Grand Intercontinental Hotel and the Ferris Wheel in between represent the three famous landmark at Minato Mirai 21 area.
What that can be seen at the port of Yokohama today is certainly a far cry from how the port used to look like nearly a century ago. The mural on a wall which I spotted at one section of the city, reminds me of the atmosphere of the port of Malacca during its peak era which I saw in my Sejarah textbook during my secondary school days.
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I just feel that the scene is somehow similar to Malacca.
It has been a while since I put any pictures of mine in the entries of my trip and once again, I shall present you with a picture of me at the Oosanbashi Terminal. Just bear with me for once, okay?
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Taken by an unknown Japanese at the end of the terminal.
The promenade finally leads into Yamashita Park, a public park at the foot of the Yamate hill. It was a sunny day when I was there and the park was crowded with people who came in huge numbers. Some came with their families, some were there to date with their partners, while some elderly were there resting on the benches and enjoying their day.
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One section of Yamashita Park, with the sakura still blooming.
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How four huge containers managed to defy the law of gravity.
There is a statue of a girl wearing a red shoe in the middle of the park, and according to some tales, the statue was placed there in the hope that it will become a cherished landmark for its countless visitors. Apparently, it was one of the must-see-things at that waterfront promenade but when I got there, I didn't see anything special about the statue besides a bronze statue of a girl. Even her shoes were not in red.
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The Hikawa Maru, a passenger ship which served on the Yokohama-Vancouver/Seattle and other routes from 1930 to 1960, is docked in front of Yamashita Park, and is open to the public but a certain entrance fee applies. When you hear that, you know that it will be highly unlikely for me to fork out another few hundred yens to enter that ship. I just settled with taking a picture of the ship from afar.
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The Hikawa Maru.
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One of the bridges that connect the mainland to the other end of the port.
I prefer to walk around the area when I was visiting those places at Yokohama because I find it more convenient and I get to stop at anywhere for as long as I want. However, for people who are lazy to stretch their muscles, there are taxi's services available. These taxis, known as VeloTaxi are not normal taxi you usually see because they are environment friendly. They don't use solar energy, but human strength. If you consider it properly, these taxis are just the modern version of trishaws which is given a more stylish name because of its design. One interesting fact about them is that they are not operated by Japanese, but Westerners who speak fluent Japanese.
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"Hao macchi (how much)?"
I know how fluent was their Japanese when I approached one of them and asked him how do I get to my next destination as I was just too lazy to read my map.


Kae Vin said...

Y would angmoh speak Jap? and the queen's tower look like mosque la! lol

calvin said...

@ specialhuman:
they speak japanese to cater their customers, who mainly consist of the locals. and yea, i think the tower looks like a mosque as well ;)