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 - after a thorough restoration and expansion - reopened three years later as the Kanagawa Prefectural Museum. In 1969, it was designated an Important Cultural Property and in 1995 a National Historic Site.
The historical exhibition consists of six sections that span from prehistoric times to late Meiji-era Kanagawa. The sections on Buddhism in the Kamakura Period as well as an elaborate wooden model of Engakuji Temple in Kamakura mark the highlights of the relatively small, but stylishly presented exhibition. Large 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 in Japanese, and when we visited there were no English pamphlets available.
Statue of a sitting monk from the Izu Peninsula
Buddhist statues dating back to the Kamakura Period
A model of Engakuji (円覚寺) in Kita-Kanagawa
Statue of a praying monk from the Kamakura Period
Statue of Hōjō Tokiyori (北条時頼, 1227-1263), the fifth regent (shikken) of the Kamakura shogunate
Coastal battery dating back to the late Edo Period
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.
- Official website (in Japanese)