Japan Travel recently published a great article about the Yoshidamachi District of Yokohama. I would like to add some additional information from a press tour I joined a few weeks ago to this area.
We began our tour at the Tanakaya Tea House. This gem is hidden on a side street and unless you are on a tour would never recognize the entrance as a business establishment. Yuko Baba our tour concierge opened a red door and we climbed some steep stairs to a cozy teahouse run by Mr. Mamoru Sakuma one of the Yoshidamachi leaders. After being seated we were served green tea with a small sweet, while we watched a 20-minute video explaining the history of this area, along with some visuals presented by Yuko-san of the historic buildings in the Yoshidamachi district.
If you join the local experience tour you will learn the history of green tea and the Tanaka-ya business, which began at the time Yokohama opened her port to foreign trade.
One piece of interesting information is that back in the 1800s this area was completely under water and a wealthy forestry businessman after two tries managed to turn it into dry land.
After WWII the area was occupied by the Americans and to this day still has some U.S. influence with the Antenna America bar. We were treated to a fine micro brewed California beer. I noticed on their food menu they offer chicken wings and beer dogs, a great reason to come back soon.
Our last stop on the tour was to Wadachi Sake Bar operated by Sake Master Sadayuki Matsuoka. He provided a short presentation about Kokuryu Sake from Fukui prefecture and Sagaminada Sake from Kanagawa prefecture. We were given a healthy sample of each and asked to grade our initial response as to taste and impression.
After several hot and cold sake samples the tour participants were able to drop any shyness they may have had and become acquainted with each other.
For a nice evening out in the Yoshidamachi district, I highly recommend you take one of three local tours offered.
Pricing and booking information follows:
- My Odashi: http://www.yokohamajapan.com/events/detail.php?id=83
- Japanese Tea: http://www.yokohamajapan.com/events/detail.php?id=84
- Fresh Brewing: http://www.yokohamajapan.com/events/detail.php?id=85
Yokohama is filled with history, attractions, and unique areas that make it a must stop day or night during your visit to Japan.