Well Known for its early contact with western cultures, Yokohama is full of east-meets-west grounds, buildings, and stories.

Just 35 minutes from Shibuya lies Yokohama for those sick and tired of Tokyo's hustle and bustle, simply hop on a train, head south to Yokohama and recharge your batteries before returning to the big smoke.

They really have it all - sightseeing spots, amusement areas, shopping and dining facilities for locals and tourists alike and then some.

In the mid-19th century, when Japan was in the death throes of centuries of national isolation, Yokohama Harbor opened its gates to the world - in 1859 - an impact that was to last for decades on the locals. Immigrants initially settled in the Yamashita-cho area with Motomachi developed as a shopping area for those foreigners.

In among the immigrants, the arriving Chinese worked at first as translators for the Western visitors or in order to establish new business locations. In doing so, they congregated, worked to support each other and today's China Town was born.

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