A maritime city with international flair, Yokohama was once one of Japan's preeminent ports for international trade. Yokohama's port was the first to open up to foreign trade after the end of Japan's isolationist economic policy in 1854. By 1923, the once small fishing village had emerged as a burgeoning metropolis but faced an early demise after experiencing devastating damage in the Great Kanto Earthquake. Before it could fully recover, World War II fire bombings ravaged the city again. Today, Yokohama steadfastly remains Japan's second largest city with a population of over three million and attracts foreign tourists and expatriates in large numbers. It boasts one of the world's largest Chinatown areas and preserves Western residences built in the 19th century to welcome international traders.
Strolling along the waterfront at Yamashita Park, visitors take in the famous Yokohama Marine Tower, the tallest inland lighthouse in the world. Further inland, a ferris wheel towers over the city, affording views of the industrialized port, quaint residential streets, and ships in the bay. International restaurants cater to visitors and residents from China, Thailand, South Korea, and even western countries. Parks, stadiums, shopping centers, and skyscrapers adorn the city landscape. There's a cosmopolitan feel about the city with a laid back maritime vibe.