Retro Japan: Yokohama weather office atop hill shows off art deco design



YOKOHAMA — Near to Yokohama’s popular tourist spot Harbor View Park, from which visitors can take in views of the Yokohama Bay Bridge and the city’s port, stands the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)’s Yokohama Local Meteorological Office.


The building, located in the city’s Naka Ward, was constructed in 1927 on an elevated position after the destruction of the coastal Kanagawa Prefecture weather observatory in the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake.

The art deco-style decorations outside the lobby for the Japan Meteorological Agency Yokohama Local Meteorological Office are seen in Yokohama’s Naka Ward on Jan. 31, 2022. (Mainichi/Osamu Sukagawa)=Click/tap photo for more images.


The art deco-style building made with reinforced concrete has one underground floor and three aboveground ones. It was a prefectural government-owned building at the time, and was designed by the Kanagawa government buildings and property division’s Shigezo Shigeno. Its simple exterior comprises artificial stone walls with vertical and horizontal lines. Its intricate designs are concentrated in the area around the lobby.


Inside, the wooden-boarded floors give a sense of warmth. Curves are used throughout, including in beams, bannisters and lighting decorations. The clock standing in the lobby is thought to date back to the time of the building’s construction, but it’s stopped now. The building underwent large-scale repairs in 2007, and earthquake resistance fortifications were also completed in 2009.

The metal decorations for the bannisters, recreated in accordance with the original blueprints, are seen in the Yokohama Local Meteorological Office in Yokohama’s Naka Ward on Jan. 31, 2022. (Mainichi/Osamu Sukagawa)=Click/tap photo for more images.


The meteorological office is the third oldest functioning one, and in 2005 the Yokohama Municipal Government deemed 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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