Negishi

 

Negishi Station is a railway station located in Isogo Ward of Tokyo. It is served by JR East’s Keihin-Tohoku and Negishi Lines.

 

Negishi is a neighborhood located near the famous Yamate area of Yokohama. This area, which is home to quite a few places of interest, has some situated in the vicinity of Negishi Station. 

 

Yokohama Streetcar Museum

 

The Yokohama Streetcar Museum, located 7 minutes by bus from Negishi Station, is a museum that displays the original streetcars that once ran the streets of Yokohama.

 

Yokohama had streetcars for over 70 years (1900-1972). Fondly called “Chin Chin Trains” by the locals because of their bell sounds, the 52 km long network was at its peak during the 50s and 60s. After the 60s, the number of automobiles sharply increased, and with the resulting traffic congestion, it became difficult for the streetcars to run. Soon the streetcar service started shrinking, and in the 1972, it was finally stopped by the city government.

 

The Yokohama Streetcar Museum was opened in 1973 to commemorate the discontinued streetcars. On display in the museum are seven of the original streetcars, besides several scale models and photographs. The history of the streetcars is also shown through various photographs, documents, and maps of the routes. To make it more interesting, there is a simulator on which visitors can gain hands-on experience. There is also an O gauge layout, which is said to be the largest in scale among all railway models in Japan.

 

The museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Mondays. Entry is 300 yen for adults, 200 yen for youth (teenagers), and 100 yen for children and senior citizens.

 

Hasseiden Archives of Local History

 

Also located 7 minutes by bus, but from the other side of Negishi Station, is Hasseiden Archives of Local History, also called the Hasseiden Museum. This museum is the only ethnological museum in Yokohama, being dedicated to the fishing and farming communities of the surrounding areas. Hasseiden Museum was established by Kenzo Adachi in 1933 to preserve the cultural identity of Yokohama. Adachi set up the museum with his own funds; even designing the three-storied octagonal building himself, modeling it on the Yumedono of Horyuuji. In 1937, Adachi donated the museum and the surrounding land (now known as Honmoku Shimin Park) to Yokohama City. Later the same year, the name of the museum was changed by the City to Hasseiden Archives of Local History.

 

The Hasseiden Archives of Local History is best known for its statues that stand in the middle of the building. These statues, which are called the “eight world sages”, are those of Shotoku-Taishi, Kobo-Daish, Shinran, Nichiren, Sakya-muni, Confucius, Socrates, and Jesus Christ. These life size statues were set up by Adachi the same year that he built the museum after enshrining the spirits of these saints to safeguard the building and museum. What makes this unique is that there is a mirror in the platform center with the eight statues encircling it. The mirror symbolizes the universe, thus depicting the reflecting images as being universal.  

 

The first floor of the building has exhibits relating to fishing, which was once a thriving industry of Yokohama. All aspects of fishery are shown here through various tools, gear, and photographs. The second floor is dedicated to farming. Exhibits include all implements that were used for farming in the area. A special feature here is part of a private house from the Meiji era that has been reassembled, and which also includes a small square dining table and an oblong chest.

 

The Hasseiden Archives of Local History is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Wednesdays. Admission is free.

 

Honmoku Shimin Park

 

Honmoku Shimin Park is the name of the public park on which the Hasseiden Archives of Local History stands. This large park is a place of relaxation for the residents of the surrounding areas. It includes a large lawn plaza, a cycling course, a swimming pool, and tennis courts.

 

A special feature of the park is the Shanghai-Yokohama Friendship Garden – a Chinese-style garden built in 1973 when Yokohama and Shanghai became sister cities for friendship and cooperation. This beautiful garden has exotic flowers, herbs, and trees especially brought in from China. There is also a ‘Pleasure Barge’ with extravagant furnishings.

 

Honmoku Shimin Park is also known for the Yokohama Honmoku Jazz Festival. This festival is held here every year in August and features Jazz artists from around the world. An open-air stage is set up for performances, and spectators either sit on the lawns on mats, or stand and sway with the music. The event, which has taken place ever since 1981, is sponsored by the print and electronic media.
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