Yokohama is a great city to walk around. Today my wife and I just took off this morning and visited the formally infamous Koganecho. After World War II, Koganecho was overrun by criminals where drugs and prostitution ran rampart. My wife was telling me that this was a part of Yokohama that the police could not touch, not really sure of the reason. It was only until a few years ago that the city of Yokohama decided to clean up the area and make it an artists’ haven. As we walked around the area, maybe it was the time of day (mid-morning), it didn’t appear that it was all that active. I guess most artist are not morning people. But anyway, it was interesting to see some of the old one room brothels turned into mini artist studios.
As we walked around Koganecho and along the river to Hinodecho, we enjoyed the hundreds of cherry blossom trees with their sakura leaves falling into the river and floating downstream. It is one of those moments in life where peace and tranquility erupt in the soul. Cherry blossom season in Japan is an annual reminder of how youth is fleeting and those two to three weeks is a time to cherish the beauty of the season.
After walking around the historical neighborhood, the wife and I walked down the Isezakicho shopping district, which is full of interesting and shady characters. It is an area of Yokohama where you can feel an undercurrent of despair in a facade of fun and bright lights. However, there is something authentic about the historical shopping district that has seen better days.
At this point, the wife and I were hungry. Not seeing anything other than fast food joints around Isezakicho, we decided to walk to the business district of Kannai. It was around noon and office workers were streaming out of their offices looking for a place to eat – but most seemed to know where they were going. The wife and I aimlessly walked around until we spotted a Thai restaurant off of Bashimichi Street. The name of the place was Chanpha and was pretty good – I would give it 3 out of 4 stars. Lunch was relatively inexpensive, less than 1,000 yen and included tea and coffee. I had some stir fry pork and vegetables, white rice, noodles and some type of coconut milk desert. Pretty tasty – and moderately healthy too!
After walking around Yokohama for about two and a half hours, I was tired. So after picking up some snacks at a shop on Isezakicho, we caught the bus and headed home. Overall, very successful day of living the simple life.
Other photos in and around Koganecho, Iszezakicho and Kannai during my adventure are below.