Yohohama’s foreign general cemetery has an history that dates back to 1853 when Commodore Perry first arrived in Japan. The death of a crewman aboard Perrys’ ship prompted the Japanese government to create a foreign cemetery at Perrys’ request. The cemetery was originally part of the Zotokuin temple. As the presence of foreigners in Japan grew, the demand for burial grounds increased as well so that the Japanese tombs and the temple itself were relocated somewhere else in Yokohama. Nowadays, the cemetery can be visited for a small donation amount. It may not be to everyone’s taste but I enjoyed learning about the very first Gaijins of Japan who must have had to overcome far greater challenges than today’s Gaijins to adapt to the culture of their new country.
The Yamate Italian Garden is located on a hill which was known before as the Italian mountain since it was the location of the Italian consulate. Nowadays, the park features a beautiful Italian-style garden and two western-style historical houses that were restored to their original state. These houses used to belong to dignitaries and wealthy foreigners during the Meiji and Showa eras.