Kanagawa Prefecture, located in the heart of the Japanese archipelago, covers an area of about 2,416 square km, making it the fifth smallest prefecture of the country. Kanagawa is home to big cities, such as Yokohama and Kawasaki, and yet it also has gently curving coastlines, mountains, lakes and other beautiful blessings of nature.
The City of Yokohama, located in the eastern part of Kanagawa Prefecture, is a busy crossroads of people and goods, with the Port of Yokohama, Japan's leading international trading port, as its center, and follows the 23-ward metropolis of Tokyo as the second largest city of Japan in population.
Yokohama Station, the hub of Yokohama's commerce and transportation, is only about 30 km southwest of Tokyo. It takes about 90 minutes by train from Narita Airport, and about 25 minutes by limousine bus from Haneda Airport, which accommodates international flights to and from Shanghai and Seoul. The "Minato Mirai 21" area, complete with various convention facilities, is located in a waterfront district and features beautiful scenery centered on the port.
Kanagawa Prefecture has long fostered industrialization, particularly in its eastern littoral zone that has developed as the nation's largest industrial belt and as a zone of industry clusters focusing on heavy and chemical industries. And Yokohama has played a key role in it.
Since the opening of its port in 1859, Yokohama has developed as an industrial city and grown as the nation's largest metropolis next only to Tokyo (which has special administrative status as a capital) with a population of over 3.67 million today. Yokohama is endowed with a superior urban environment necessary for businesses, including the Port of Yokohama, which is the leading international trading port of Japan; a highly convenient transportation network; small and medium enterprises with high technologies; universities and other research organizations; and the vast metropolitan market that includes Tokyo. Yokohama is utilizing such potential capabilities and aggressively inviting domestic and overseas businesses to move into the city while building up biotechnology, IT and other cutting-edge industries, and creating new start-up companies.
At the end of the 12th century, warlord Minamoto no Yoritomo founded the "bakufu" feudal government, the first shogunate, in Kamakura, making Kanagawa the center of Japan's politics and forming the basis for the feudal society that lasted for 700 years.
Yokohama took center stage in history in 1854 when the Treaty of Peace and Amity between Japan and the United States was signed there. The Five-Nation Treaty of Ansei, a series of treaties the Tokugawa Shogunate signed in 1858 with the United States, the Netherlands, Russia, Britain and France, stipulated the opening of the Port of Yokohama in the following year.
After the Port of Yokohama's opening on July 1 (June 2 under the lunar calendar), 1859, various cultures and technologies from other countries spread throughout Japan through the port, with Yokohama spearheading the country's modernization as "the birthplace of Japanese modernization."
Yokohama has developed into a leading "international port metropolis" of Japan by overcoming catastrophic damage from the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, air raids during World War II which burned down 42% of the city, and delays in infrastructure buildup due to the occupation forces' requisition of land and properties in the postwar period.
Kanagawa Prefecture is blessed with traditional culture along with its long history. Kamakura, the ancient capital of feudal lords, in particular has many historic sites, including the popular Daibutsu or Great Buddha, temples and shrines. Also, the traditional dance performance of "Chakkirako," registered by UNESCO as an intangible cultural asset, Kamakura-bori wood carving, Hakone Yosegi-Zaiku marquetry and other traditional craftwork are omnipresent throughout the prefecture.
Yokohama has developed itself as a window on exchanges with the world, encouraging its residents to be "richly curious and warmly welcome visitors with open arms."
Since the opening of the port, the people of Yokohama have learned various knowledge and technologies from foreign visitors. Western vegetables, bread, milk, ice-cream, beer and cocktails spread from Yokohama to the rest of the country while beef hot pot and many other dishes were modified to suit local palates.
In the city are the Sankeien Garden, an authentic Japanese-style garden designated as a national landmark; the Yamashita-Kannai district dotted with historic buildings kept intact since the opening of the port; Chinatown, one of the world's largest attracting about 20 million visitors a year; and the Minato Mirai 21 district, a waterfront area with a row of modern buildings. Visitors can immerse themselves in a unique atmosphere accented by such cuisine and scenery.
Yokohama's charm stems from mixtures of the past and present and of Japanese and foreign cultures.
Yokohama chairs the "Regional Network of Local Authorities for the Management of Human Settlements" (CITYNET) established in 1987, and endeavors to solve various urban problems to help preserve and improve the global environment through exchange and technology cooperation programs in the Asia-Pacific region.
Moreover, Kanagawa Prefecture and the City of Yokohama each have entered into sister city, sister port, and partner city agreements with many local governments and ports in the Asia-Pacific region with an eye to promoting exchange programs in sports, culture and technology.
As Haneda Airport boosts its international flight capabilities in October 2010, Kanagawa and Yokohama will be able to link more easily with the Asia-Pacific region, further promoting international exchanges with countries in the region, improving travelers' convenience, and revitalizing local economies.
Yokohama hosted a succession of major events and conventions in recent years, including the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in 2008 and the 150th Anniversary of the Opening of the Port of Yokohama in 2009. In 2010, the city will host the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (APEC Summit) in November.
Yokohama citizens have participated in the events in various capacities. The port's 150th anniversary celebrations gave the city a good opportunity to talk about the future of Yokohama that eventually resulted in "OPEN YOKOHAMA," a new city brand putting together aspirations of Yokohama citizens. The OPEN YOKOHAMA slogan symbolizes the open and free spirit of the city and its people warmly embracing everything and producing new things one after another.
The citizens of Yokohama welcome you with hospitality, as they put it: "Live for three days here and you are a Hamakko (short for a Yokohama native)." Please come to Yokohama where old and new things blend together.
Kanagawa Prefecture boasts a spirit of innovation and wonderful technological power, which have been instrumental in leading Japan's modernization since the opening of the country to the outside world. It is now home to many R&D institutions and high-tech industries. In particular, the prefecture is making strenuous efforts to build up industries contributing to less global warming, including electric vehicles.
Kanagawa has many attractive cities, including cosmopolitan Yokohama and Kawasaki, the ancient capital of Kamakura, the castle town of Odawara and the international sightseeing and hot-spring resort of Hakone. The prefecture is also rich in natural beauty, including the Tanzawa-Oyama mountains and the beautiful Shonan Beach.
Please come and enjoy the attractions of Kanagawa where you can see harmonious mixtures of modern and historic and traditional things, and of urban allure and rich nature. With these combinations, the prefecture can be described as a miniaturized Japan.
With safe and smooth APEC events in mind, Kanagawa Prefecture, the City of Yokohama, the local economic community, international organizations and other entities numbering 52 set up the "APEC 2010 Promotion Council of Yokohama" on July 17, 2009, with Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi as chairperson. The council will help the holding of the APEC Summit and related events, making publicity efforts at the same time to introduce the allure of Yokohama to the world.
To make sure that the events in Yokohama will succeed, a security headquarters was set up, a medical relief system established, various security measures taken, and port and river security precautions tightened. In addition, the following three basic postures were adopted to make the 2010 APEC meetings more meaningful.
Moreover, the Kanagawa Prefectural Police Department took the initiative in setting up the "APEC Summit Supporting Association" on November 26, 2009, so that the relevant government organizations, private bodies and local residents join hands to support police activities to secure the safety of local communities as well as visiting foreign leaders.
Information will be posted as soon as it is available.
(Information on this page was offered from Yokohama City.)