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Yokohama Origins Tour

Updated: Mar 12

Led by local historian and Yokohama resident, Glenn Scoggins, this tour really gets beneath the surface of Yokohama and its central role in the building of modern Japan. It covers an amazing chapter of Japanese history and the city’s early embrace of art as a means of development and connectivity with the west. It also allows for taking in the area’s most iconic attractions and appreciating them on a deeper, more impactful level.


Japan’s original cultural melting pot, Isezakicho’s Theatre Street (early 1900s)


For Responsible Travellers


For travellers interested in bringing good karma with them along their Japan journey, this tour offers them the chance to:


  • Celebrate Yokohama and Japan’s cultural heritage 

  • Reduce burden on over-subscribed options in major golden route cities

  • Support local community members and lesser-known civic cultural attractions


The Origins


The Yokohama port origins story is absolutely fascinating and one that western travellers can connect with, since we are a central part in its formation, for better and worse. From the late 1800s, after centuries of national isolation, all the action was here, as the first place in Japan to open to the world. The landmarks, old buildings, carefully laid out sections of the bay, tell this story. Join your guide Glenn to see the the following highlights: 


  • Yokohama Archives of History – A delightful little museum that provides an excellent (and brief) introduction to the most compelling period of Yokohama early history, perfectly setting the scene for the rest of the day. 


  • Yamashita Park & Chinatown – Take a leisurely stroll along Yamashita Park overlooking Tokyo Bay. Enjoy the beautiful flowers and delightful “parklife” as well as learn the amazing story behind the building of the park. Time permitting, take a quick look at the bustling and highly photogenic Chinatown. 

Images (Left to right): Glenn in action at the Yokohama Archives of history; Chinatown and Minato Mirai (images from Kanagawa Prefecture)


  • Sankeien Gardens – A completely unique garden showcasing the essence of Japanese culture: from its gardening aesthetic to traditional architecture. Here guests will also learn the incredible story of the visionary altruist and entrepreneur, Sankei Hara, who established Yokohama as a cultural hub and interface between the best of Japanese and international art. 

The 400 year old Samurai Teahouse at Sankeien Gardens (image credit: Sankeien Gardens)


Specialist Historian Guide



Mr. Glenn Scoggins is a retired history teacher from Yokohama’s Saint Maur International School and a Yokohama resident of 47 years. Glenn now devotes some of his time to sharing his knowledge and passion for his beloved “hometown” of Yokohama in various community initiatives, writing for a local magazine, organising talks for local universities and the Yokohama History Society and volunteering at his former school. He also works as a local guide for Yokohama, specialising in sharing his deep insights into Yokohama's fascinating history.




Insights from Glenn:


About Yokohama:

“On almost every street corner, there is a reference to Yokohama’s history (often well-signposted in English as well as Japanese), which attracted me. Its history is short (only 165 years) and therefore easier to grasp on a short visit than in Kyōto or other older cities. Everywhere you walk in the central area, you see reminders of the earliest and continuing contacts between Japan and the West, especially Britain, France, Germany, and the U.S.”


About the Archives of History Museum:

“The Yokohama Archives of History provides an excellent brief introduction to the most dramatic period in Yokohama’s history, from 1853 to 1923, placing it within the context of world events.”


About Sankeien Garden: 

“Sankeien Garden is the jewel of Yokohama. The flowers and trees were carefully chosen so that some would be in bloom at any point during the year—there’s never a wrong time to visit! There are beautiful views in every direction. In addition, the buildings that were transported from all over Japan provide a tour of Japanese art and architecture from different time periods and regions. Compared to gardens in Tōkyō (much larger) and Kyōto (much older) which focus on only one time period, Sankeien provides “one-stop shopping” as an introduction to Japanese gardens and architecture.”


Image credit: Sankeien Garden


For more info on the tour and Yokohama, get in touch with us via our contacts page.

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