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For the Yokohama JR East rail station, see Yamate Station. For the village in Okayama Prefecture, see Yamate, Okayama.
View from Harbour View Park, Yamate towards the Yokohama Bay Bridge
Yamate Museum, former Sonoda Family residence (1909)

Yamate (山手?) is the name of a historic neighbourhood in Naka-ku, Yokohama often referred to in English as the The Bluff. The neighbourhood is famous as having been a foreigners' residential area in the Bakumatsu and Meiji periods.


When the Port of Yokohama first opened to foreign trade under the terms of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 1859, the foreigner's settlement was initially confined to a low-lying area known as Kannai. As commercial activity in the Kannai settlement rapidly outgrew the available space, construction on the elevated Yamate Bluff started in 1862.[1] Initially a residential area for the foreign diplomatic community, one of the first structures to be built on the Bluff was the residence of the British Consul-General, Sir Rutherford Alcock.[2]

From 1863 until about 1875, both the British and French diplomatic missions stationed small troop garrisons at the crest of the hill overlooking the harbour, a location that now serves as Harbour View Park.

Over succeeding years, many senior officers of the Kannai trading companies, oyatoi gaikokujin and the diplomatic representatives of other trading nations established homes in the neighbourhood. Although many of the original foreign resident's accommodation and civic buildings were destroyed in the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, a number of older Meiji and Taisho Period properties have been preserved and relocated to this neighbourhood. Many of these buildings and their ornamental gardens have now been opened to the public and serve as popular tourist attractions.

Sightseeing and local landmarks[edit]

The area features some well-preserved residences from the Meiji and Taisho Period, as well as the campuses of Yokohama International School, Saint Maur International School and Ferris University. Additionally:

  • Harbour View Park Minato no mieru oka koen (港の見える丘公園?) featuring the former British Consul's residence (1937).

Other sites include the Cat Museum (http://www.galerieparis.net/cat.html), Tin Toys Club Museum (http://www.toysclub.co.jp/).

The neighborhood still maintains a reputation as an exclusive residential district today, along with the Motomachi neighborhood located below it.


Yamate is served by Motomachi-Chūkagai Station, the terminus of the Minatomirai Line subway. Pedestrian access to and from the station and the historic properties on the Yamate ridge road is facilitated by elevators and escalators rising directly from the station on Motomachi Shopping Street to America-yama Park.


  1. ^ "Archives". www.yokohamachristchurch.org. Yokohama Christ Church. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  2. ^ D'Almeida, Anna (1863). A Lady's Visit to Manilla and Japan. London: Hurst and Blackett. p. 233. 

Coordinates: 35°26′18″N 139°39′13″E / 35.4381994°N 139.6535468°E / 35.4381994; 139.6535468