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The Grand Hotel, Yokohama

The Grand Hotel opened on August 16, 1873 (Meiji 6) and was soon considered the height of Western culture and elegance in Japan. It was located on the Bund and overlooked Yokohama Harbor.

The Grand Hotel in Yokohama

It is not known who originally designed the Grand Hotel, but it has occasionally been attributed to American architect R. P. Bridgens, who designed Yokohama and Shinbashi stations, Japan’s first railway stations.

As Yokohama became Japan’s main port of entry, the Grand Hotel turned into “the place to stay” for those who could afford it.

English author Rudyard Kipling stayed here and was amazed by the printed menus (menus were usually handwritten at the time), and customers ordering food by citing the menu numbers of the dishes.

The Grand Hotel, YokohamaSadly, the hotel was totally destroyed by the devastating Great Kanto Earthquake of September 1, 1923 (Taisho 12).

In 1927 (Showa 2) the New Grand Hotel was built on a nearby location.

The Yokohama Doll Museum (in Yamashita-koen-dori) now stands where once the Grand Hotel welcomed its guests.

Because the hotel was used by so many foreign visitors to Japan, a lot of photographs and postcards exist of the Grand Hotel. Most images show the hotel’s facade facing the Bund, but occasionally a card surfaces that shows the “back” entrance with the circular lane.

The Grand Hotel, Yokohama

There is a very charming series of the interior of the hotel. Four cards of this series are shown below. There is at least one more card in this series, showing the reception counter in the lobby. If you have cards that seem to belong to this series, please contact me.

The Grand Hotel, Yokohama

Besides its excellent service, one of the main attractions of the Grand Hotel was its magnificent location on Yokohama Harbor. Guests must have had beautiful views from their rooms as can be imagined from the card showing the rows of chairs in front of the window (above) and the card below (left) showing a man enjoying the view from the hotel’s terrace on the Bund.

The Grand Hotel, Yokohama

The card on the right shows the location of the Grand Hotel facing the harbor. The hotel is the building in the center of the background. The harbor can be vaguely seen in the back.

2008-01-05

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