I like walking the Yamate area in the morning. There are parks and gardens in the area. The area is surrounded by greenery though it is located in the city. I start walking the Bluff road or Yamate Dori from the Washinzaka slope, south of the Yamate Bluff, where you can view the Boso peninsula across Tokyo Bay if the weather permits. I walk through Harborview Park from the entrance of the park near the Korean Consulate, listening to birds chirping. After viewing the port from the observation deck in the park, I start to walk toward the Yamate Sacred Heart Church along the road viewing Yokohama Foreign General cemetery and the Yokohama Marine tower on my right side. Sometime I even walk as far as the Italian Garden near JR Ishikawacho Station, the west side of the area if I am in good condition. I take this route to view Cherry blossoms in the spring, to go to the Motomachi swimming pool in the summer, to enjoy beautiful weather in the autumn, and to feel the crisp air of winter. This is my favorite route to take throughout the year.
There are seven old houses known as “Yokan” or western style houses along the road. Between Christ Church and the Enokitei (a tea house) along the road near Foreign General Cemetery, stands Yamate Residence 234. It was built as an apartment house for westerners by a Japanese architect in 1927. The building had two apartments on each floor and there were two doors and flights of stairs to the second floor on the central porch. Later, an additional veranda was added to the balcony. The apartment house was once occupied by the U.S. Army during the postwar period in the late 1940s. The owner, a man of Russian origin who purchased the building after the Army left, rented to young foreign students or families at rates until the 1980s. The city bought the property, changed the original floor plan and opened it to public as an exhibition space. Only the living room on the left-side from the central porch has been preserved in the way it was built in 1927.
The building is now used as an exhibition space throughout year. Anyone can rent the rooms on the second floor for exhibitions of photographs, paintings, flower arrangements, pieces of pottery, etc. The room on the first floor is decorated with floor arrangements in May and Christmas decorations during Christmas season, On October, Yamate Residence 234 and other western style houses are decorated for Halloween. Many visitors will visit the area during the week of Halloween.
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