By Brian Kowalczyk - OCT 31，2018
Located just ten minutes from Yokohama Station on the Sotetsu Line, Kamihoshikawa feels nothing like the big city. Long ago, this area was known for textile dyeing and other industries. Now it’s more of a quiet residential area. Just out of Kamihoshikawa Station alongside the slow flowing Katabiragawa River, tucked in beneath the JR freight line, is the Kamihoshikawa shopping street. It has more the feel of a small town than a part of the metropolis of Yokohama. Also like a small town, the prices at the two local vegetable shops and fishmonger are significantly cheaper than supermarkets in downtown Yokohama. Pick up some tsukemono (traditional Japanese pickled vegetables) and some fresh, reasonably priced seafood before you leave.
One thing the neighborhood prides itself on is involving the little ones in planning of the shopping district’s future. Eventually, that future will be in their hands, so encouraging them to participate in local activities is a key tenet in Kamihoshikawa. Last year at bathhouse Manten no Yu, local elementary school students sold curry made with vegetables grown in Hodogaya-ku. It was an idea they came up with on their own. On another occasion, they were allowed to create a bath additive using fruit from local orchards. The children toured the bathhouse during one of its off days to learn about the working of the facilities and to get ideas on what customers might enjoy in their bath. Much to the children’s delight the fruit additive was actually used in baths during normal business hours.
Walking roughly 15-minutes from the main area around the station you can find Yokohama Jingashita Keikoku Park, an interesting piece of wilderness hidden along the highway bisecting the area. The park’s name derives from a hunting camp set up by Yoshimori Wada, a commander under Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first shogun of the Kamakura Shogunate (late 12th century). The park is centered on a small gorge which runs through a densely forested area that is a really unexpected sight in the city. The shade of the trees and a stream that cuts a path through the woods keep the park cooler than the surrounding area. The water is shallow in most places, so wading in sandals is possible. Kamihoshikawa shopping street chairman and local shop owner Shinichi Amano recommends a visit to the park for an easy hike and escape from the summer heat. Children should be on the lookout for river crabs, snails and other tiny native wildlife. Follow up your short hike with a visit to the shopping area and one of the local bathhouses for some relaxation. Be sure to purchase some baked goods at the Banyan Tree Bakery before your hike in Jingashita Keikoku Park, too.
Located just to the east of the area is Yokohama National University’s Tokiwadai campus. The university has a number of international programs and a community of international students. Much of the part-time help in the Kamihoshikawa area is made up of university students. One of them was even responsible for designing the official community character.
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Near "Kamihoshikawa Station": Sotetsu Line