Yokohama took over Osaka not so long ago as Japan's second largest city. Yokohama has become an extension the urban sprawl of Tokyo, although it does retain a unique character.
Yokohama was established as a treaty port in 1858. It was here that a special foreign enclave was created for the merchants, missionaries and other adventurers to live in and conduct their business. However, with the collapse of the Shogun government the area opened up and became one the major trading areas in Japan.
In 1872 the first railway was built in Japan linking Tokyo and Yokohama. The Great Kanto earthquake in 1923 virtually flattened the city. After slowly building up after the earthquake, the city was again destroyed by US bombers in the Second World War.