Retro Japan: Yokohama’s hilltop meteorological office features art deco design

YOKOHAMA — Near Yokohama’s popular tourist spot, Harbor View Park, from where visitors can take in views of the Yokohama Bay Bridge and the city’s harbor, is Yokohama Local Meteorological Bureau of the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

The building, located in the city’s Naka district, was built in 1927 on an elevated position after the Kanagawa Prefectural Coastal Weather Observatory was destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.

Art deco-style decorations outside the lobby of the Yokohama Japan Meteorological Agency local meteorological office are seen in the Naka district of Yokohama on January 31, 2022. (Mainichi/Osamu Sukagawa)=Click/tap photo for more pictures.

The reinforced concrete art deco style building has one basement and three above ground. It was a building owned by the prefectural government at the time and was designed by Shigezo Shigeno of the Buildings and Property Division of the Kanagawa Government. Its simple exterior features artificial stone walls with vertical and horizontal lines. Its intricate designs are concentrated in the area around the lobby.

Inside, the wood-paneled parquet floors give an impression of warmth. Curves are used everywhere, including in beams, railings and light decorations. The clock in the lobby is believed to date back to when the building was constructed, but is now discontinued. The building underwent large-scale repairs in 2007, and earthquake-resistant fortifications were also completed in 2009.

The metal decorations of the railings, recreated according to the original plans, are seen at the Yokohama Local Meteorological Bureau in the Naka district of Yokohama on January 31, 2022. (Mainichi/Osamu Sukagawa)=Click/tap the photo for more images.

The Meteorological Bureau is the third oldest in operation, and in 2005 the Yokohama City Government declared it a Tangible Cultural Property. Part of it is open to visitors, but tours are currently suspended due to the coronavirus.

(Japanese original by Osamu Sukagawa, Photo Group)

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