Translated by Tomoka Aono
Visit The Area That Inspired Studio Ghibli's "From Up On Poppy Hill"
Written by Matsurika
Yamate in Yokohama was the model for Studio Ghibli's "Coquelicot-zaka kara", or "From Up On Poppy Hill". Here are tips to see Western houses and other attractions in the Yamate area.
When Western culture reached Japan, the first places where Western culture was introduced were trading port towns such as Yokohama and Kobe. In Yokohama, you can still find Western-style architecture or Western houses in the Yamashita and Yamate areas.
Here are some tips for taking a stroll in Yamate where you can enjoy the unique history of Yokohama to the fullest in Naka ward, Yokohama City.
By the way, it is said that Daikanzaka (Daikanzaka slope) was the model for the Studio Ghibli’s movie "Coquelicot-zaka kara", also known as "From Up On Poppy Hill". Different spots and restaurants you can find in the movie will be introduced in this article.
The stroll takes about 2-3 hours in total, depending on whether you stop to take a rest or not.
Start strolling from Motomachi-Chūkagai station of Minato Mirai Line. Head for exit 6 and take the elevator or escalator to the ground floor.
You will find yourself facing the American Mountain Park. Take a walk in the direction of the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery.
When you reached this point, turn left and head towards Harbor View Park.
After 5 minutes, you will arrive at the park. You can see Yokohama Port, the Bay Bridge, and the industrial zone. You can also find seasonal flowers from spring to autumn such as roses, cherry blossoms, tulips, and lavender.
Inside the park, there are some Western houses such as the British House (closed every fourth Wednesday) and the Yamate 111 Ban-Kan (closed every second Wednesday and for year-end holidays; open on national holidays but closed the next day). You can find Café The Rose on the first floor of Yamate 111 Ban-Kan. Please enjoy a coffee break on the terrace overlooking the garden on a sunny day.
Then, go back to the crossing and go in the opposite direction of American mountain park. Walk straight along Yamate Main Street.
Passing Yokohama Christ Church on the Bluff, French restaurant and café “Yamate jyūban-kan” until you reach Motomachi Park, where you will see the 234 Ban-Kan (234番館) (closed every fourth Wednesday and for year-end holidays; open on national holidays but closed the next day) and the Ehrismann Residence, the pastel green Western house (closed every second Wednesday and for year-end holidays; open on national holidays but closed the next day). There is a café called the Shōyu Café on the first floor of the Ehrismann Residence where delicious custard puddings that melt in your mouth are available to buy (Regular: 600 yen, Premium: 800 yen).
This cute cake shop and café Enokitei is found in front of the Ehrismann Residence. Baked goods perfect for souvenirs are available for purchase on the second floor.
Next to the Ehrismann Residence is Berrick Hall, a big white Spanish-style house with a vast garden (closed every second Wednesday and for year-end holidays; open on national holidays but closed the next day). Berrick Hall is open to the public; here you can see a children's room, bedrooms, a library and salon. Each room is painted in different colors and has antique furniture.
Passing Berrick Hall, go straight until you see the Daikanzakaue crossing, where you turn right.
Daikanzaka is a gentle slope, where you can find various cute shops such as Bluff Bakery, vintage clothes shop and cafés.
Halfway up the slope is Miyazaki Florist, which has been open since 1873. It was used as the model for the flower shop appearing in the animated movie “From Up On Poppy Hill”. The florist was refurbished in 2015 and HAHA CAFÉ was built next door.
Go down Daikanzaka and you will find the butcher Maruei Shōten on your right. This is a model location for the scene in which main characters eat croquettes in “From Up On Poppy Hill”.
Why don’t you get a croquette (100 yen each) for yourself just like the movie? The simple taste of this fried savory treat is quite heart-warming and tastes satisfying.
Once you go down Daikanzaka, you will see Motomachi Shopping Street.
If you turn right, you can go back to Motomachi-Chūkagai station of Minato Mirai Line, and if you turn left, you can go to JR Ishikawa-chō station. If you are interested in seeing more Western houses, you can go to the direction of Ishikawa-chō station.
Walk along the Motomachi Shopping Street until Ōmarudanizaka before reaching the South exit of Ishikawa-chō station.
Bluff 18 Ban-Kan
If you walk up Ōmarudanizaka for 5 minutes, you will find Yamate Italian Garden. You can take a look inside the Diplomat’s House (closed every fourth Wednesday and for year-end holidays; open on national holidays but closed the next day) and Bluff 18 Ban-Kan (closed every second Wednesday and for year-end holidays; open on national holidays but closed the next day). The Bluff Garden Café is a wonderful place where you can overlook the beautiful landscape of Minato Mirai from a vivid green garden.
Wouldn't it be nice to experience the model of the Studio Ghibli movie, "Coquelicot-zaka kara" (From Up On Poppy Hill) by waking up a little earlier than usual on a sunny day and enjoying a stroll in the Yamate area of Yokohama?
Yamate-chō Walking Map
Official Website of the Western houses: Yamate Seiyōkan