Yokohama: Landmarks and Facts

Photo Credit: From the Source Barr, Pat. The Coming of the Barbarians: The Opening of Japan to the West 1853-1870. Pat Barr 1967. This shows the European Quarters within the city of Yokohama.

Jules Verne’s depiction of the landmarks and certain events and places in Yokohama at the time Around the World in 80 Days took place were fairly accurate. When Passepartout first arrives at Yokohama, Verne describes there as being multiple quarters of Yokohama, effectively dividing it into four parts. During the time spent there, Passepartout visits both the European and Japanese quarters of the city and describes them accurately for the most part. Verne describes the European Quarter as having many docks, warehouses, and merchants from all parts of the world with their ships in the port. This description agrees with others at the time which describe the presence of flags from nations all over the world and large groups of merchants looking to trade (Notehelfer, Kitson). Because of the separate quarters of Yokohama, different areas of it had different forms of architecture.

As a whole, Yokohama was described as being a melting pot. This included its architecture changing from quarter to quarter, as the Japanese Quarter’s architecture was more traditional than the European quarter, which had more Western architecture (Partner). In addition to the quarters of Yokohama and their architecture, Verne’s description of steamship travel from Yokohama to America was fairly accurate. Verne states that the steamer Passepartout and his companions used to reach San Francisco belonged to the Pacific Mail Steamship Company. In the 1860s and 70s, this company had steamships run between Yokohama and San Francisco to trade and later became the principle means for Japanese and Chinese immigrants to reach California (Potash). Overall, Verne’s description of places and certain events in Yokohama at the time Around the World in 80 Days took place described what was documented at the time.