As a keen tennis player I was very excited to make the pilgrimage to The Bluff area of Yokohama to see the home of tennis in Japan.
The Yamate Museum of Tennis in Yamate Park still has a number of clay courts and the two story wooden club house has exhibits of tennis equipment from the 1870's including racquets, clothing and balls along with period photographs.
Two mannequins model the long skirts worn by female players of the day holding impossibly small wooden racquets. The second floor is the document work room.
Tennis was introduced into Japan along with a number of other sports such as baseball, soccer, rugby, golf and cricket during the period of intense westernization from the opening of Japan to the west in the late 1860's to the turn of the century.
Lawn tennis only began in England in 1874 and had spread to Japan just two years later with the first match played in 1876. The Ladies Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club was founded here in 1878.
Yamate Museum of Tennis
Tel: 045 681 8646
Admission is free and the museum is open from 10am-5pm daily. Closed on the third Monday of the month or the next day if Monday is a public holiday.
The tennis courts are run by the Yokohama International Tennis Community (yitc.org; Tel: 045 681 9528) which is considered to be the oldest tennis club in Japan and a direct descendant of the Ladies Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
The nearest stations to the Yamate Museum of Tennis are Ishikawa-cho Station on the JR Negishi Line and Motomachi-Chukagai Station on the Minato Mirai Line.
Yamate Park also includes the historic Yamate 68 House - a wooden, western-style residence.
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