On March 27th, Yokohama kicked off its 37th annual Garden Necklace with colorful floral displays throughout the city.
The event will continue through June 13th. The program started as a way to promote greenery and for 2021 it features well over 600,000 flowers throughout the city.
See my 2017 article for details about the Garden Necklace.
Start this year’s flower viewing from Harbor View Park. In 1859 this area was the site of the barracks for British soldiers and in 1945 was occupied by Allied Forces until 1971, when it was returned to the city of Yokohama to become a 72-hectre (178 acre) park. I visit this park many times a year for their excellent rose garden and to take pictures of the various flowers around the fountain. Today you can also have an unobstructed view of Gundam located down below at Yamashita Pier.
A nine-minute walk from Harbor View will bring you to Yamashita Park with flower displays everywhere. This eighteen-acre park began in 1930 and was also occupied by the Allied forces until its return in 1960. What many residents are not aware of is that the current park area was nothing but a pile of rubble due to the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake. A Scottish adviser to the mayor convinced him to convert the mess into a community park. There are many things to see including a rose garden, the Yokohama Indian water fountain, statues/sculptures and the Hikawa Maru Floating Museum. It was once a popular ocean liner, which made trips between Kobe and Seattle.
This year the commercial displays are lined up several feet apart to help ensure covid safety.
Another nine-minute walk brings you to the Red Brick Warehouse. It was originally built in 1920 as a customs inspection office. In 2002 the city converted the buildings into shopping/dining facilities. Make sure to explore Building One for an excellent historical overview. Between the two buildings you will find this year’s bright and colorful Necklace display.
Take an additional fifteen-minute walk to Yokohama Park to see over 70,000 Tulips. The park was founded in 1876 as the first Western style park in Japan and was designated for use by both Japanese and foreigners. Besides the annual tulip display, there is a nice Japanese garden, the oldest registered monument in Japan, and of course Yokohama Stadium, home of the Bay Stars baseball team.
Another Garden Necklace participant is Satoyama Garden near Zoorasia. This 2.5-acre flowerbed is so full of bright colors that you will have to wear sunglasses. The garden was originally farmland/forest, which supplied the local residents with food and wood. Like many farms throughout the country, the land finally played out and the government decided to create eco-friendly conservation areas, using volunteers to maintain the properties. Satoyama is open until May 9th from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is a must see during every Yokohama Garden Necklace.
There are many other parks throughout the city with beautiful floral displays. Walk to any neighborhood park and you will be pleasingly surprised.