Grand Hotel, Yokohama, c. 1910
“Picturesque” series, New Grand Hotel, Yokohama
Yamashita Park, Yokohama, c. 1960.
The Hotel New Grand was opened in 1927 to replace the “old” Grand Hotel destroyed by the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. The hotel was located along the waterfront Yokohama Bund, near the passenger-liner dock and served a largely foreign and overseas business clientele. Note the elevator attendants at second-floor Grand Entrance.
Designated a historic monument and considered one of the oldest western-style hotels in Japan, Hotel New Grand is the epitome of Yokohama history. Established in 1927, Hotel New Grand has welcomed guests from all over the world.
Over the years, the hotel has welcomed many famous dignitaries and celebrities through its historic doors, including Charlie Chaplin, Babe Ruth, the Duke of Gloucester, and more. The famous Japanese master writer, Jiro Osaragi, was a resident of Hotel New Grand in room #318 for more than 10 years. During the first days of the Occupation of Japan, the New Grand Hotel served as Gen. Douglas MacArthur SCAP headquarters.
The Hotel New Grand continues to be owned and operated by the same family, Nomura, who had operated it before the Pacific War.
“We’d read in the newspapers that General MacArthur was temporarily headquartered at the New Grand, having landed in Japan the day before, on August 30 . The New Grand was an important choice as the Allied military headquarters. It was the only classic western hotel in Yokohama and it had the best view of the harbor.
“Yokohama’s leading businessmen had built it as a symbol of the city’s rebirth following the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Mama and her friends had often taken us to the New Grand for tea or ice cream, and it felt strange to see it transformed into a military headquarters, with Americans soldiers and jeeps guarding the entrance.”
– Edokko: Growing Up a Foreigner in Wartime Japan, by Isaac Shapiro, 2009
“It was some time [after the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake], however, before a new Grand Hotel came into being on the site of the old at the corner where the Bund met the Creek – a fine modern hostelry, but without the alluring front terrace so distinctive of the old.
“Even more sorrowful to the old-timer is the reclamation of the foreshore directly opposite the Grand, projecting the entrance to the Creek several hundred yards out into the harbour … So even if the famous Grand Hotel terrace had been resurrected, its delightful panoramic view from the harbour down the Bay would no longer exist.”
– The Death of Old Yokohama: In the Great Japanese Earthquake of 1923, by Otis M Poole, 2010
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