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The Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History (神奈川県立歴史博物館 Kanagawa Kenritsu Rekishi Hakubutsukan), also known as Yokohama Museum of Cultural History, is located in Bashamichi Dori in Naka Ward of Yokohama City. The historic building is the former headquarter of Yokohama Specie Bank (横浜正金銀行 Yokohama Shōkin Ginkō), founded in 1880. The building was constructed between 1899 and 1904 in the neo-baroque style of steel, stone and bricks and survived the Great Tōkyō Earthquake in 1923 thanks to its solid construction (only the dome of the building burned down). In 1947, the building became the Kanagawa branch of the Bank of Tōkyō. It was acquired by Kanagawa Prefecture in 1964 and reopened three years later as the Kanagawa Prefectural Museum after a thorough restoration and expansion. In 1969, it was designated an Important Cultural Property and, in 1995, a National Historic Site.

The historical exhibition includes six sections from prehistoric times to late Meiji-era Kanagawa. The sections on Buddhism in the Kamakura Period and an elaborate wooden model of Engakuji Temple in Kamakura mark the highlights of the relatively small but stylishly presented exhibition. Considerable space is devoted to the foundation of the modern port of Yokohama and the establishment of its foreign settlements.

The signs and explanations are all Japanese, and no English pamphlets were available when we visited.

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Haniwa statues

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Statue of a sitting monk from the Izu Peninsula

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Buddhist statues dating back to the Kamakura Period

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A model of Engakuji (円覚寺) in Kita-Kanagawa

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Statue of a praying monk from the Kamakura Period

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Statue of Hōjō Tokiyori (北条時頼, 1227-1263), the fifth regent (shikken) of the Kamakura shogunate

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Coastal battery dating back to the late Edo Period

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Diorama of Yokohama Port with the British and the Russian settlements in the background


More photos in the Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History album:


Link:


Access:

A 5-minute walk from JR Sakuragichō Station.

Address:

5-60 Minaminakadori Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0006; phone: 045-201-7364.

Admission:

300 JPY; open daily 09:00-17:00, closed Mondays (except national holidays) and during the New Year.