Much of this district is Noge-cho 野毛町 (hence the name ‘Noge Joyful’).
The Noge area is connected to Sakuragicho station by Noge-Chikamichi 野毛ちかみち (Noge shortcut).
On the other side of the shortcut is Pio City ぴおシティ, a building with an underground mall of incredible old-ness, a veritable museum of nostalgia:
You need to read the Japanese Wikipedia page for Noge-cho; it’s an interesting area, including its post-war role as a black market area 闇市. There are a number of cultural events, including the “Jazz de Bon Odori” festival 野毛 ジャズ de 盆踊り, and the Noge Daidogei 野毛大道芸 street performance festival, held annually near the end of April (last held April 23-24, 2016). The Noge Daidogei may explain why there’s a creepy clown on the “Joyful Noge” map. See the following websites for more information: Japanese, English.
The following three photos: (1) “Gay Town Noge” website map; (2) the Kouonza theater; (3) Noge Daidogei poster from 1987
A scene from the Jazz de Bon Odori festival. See the 5:45 mark for “Take the A Train”:
- Excellent history of postwar Noge: 道路と寺社と鉄道と：野毛 Roads, shrines and railways: Noge
- Noge Shopping Avenue
- Noge, Yokohama gay bar list
- @GAYTOWNNOGE on Twitter
- Yokohama Gay Cinema info
- Photos of Noge
- Photos of Yokohama-bashi: a similar and nearby Yokohama neighborhood, from the film “Pale Flower” (1964)
- Another example of post-WW2 black market: Ikebukuro’s Yami-ichi (Post-war black market), in miniature
- From “Savor a city’s soul” (Japan Times, 2004)
“On May 29, 1945, though, U.S. B-29s turned Yokohama to smoke and ashes. Three months later the U.S. Eighth Army squatted in the few buildings still standing in Isezakicho and Kannai. Big white or black men in small vehicles, as described by the self-censored Japanese press, victimized the locals. The Japanese took refuge in unoccupied Noge. A black market flourished along Noge-hondori. At stalls along the Sakuragawa River discharged soldiers drank rotgut and scarfed fried whale meat. Vagabonds slept in doorways. Noge distilled the postwar chaos and confusion.”
“Yet Noge remains Yokohama’s most traditional quarter. Facades show washi paper or reed screens. Willows, hanging lanterns and flower boxes adorn streets. The corpulent porcelain tanuki presides as the tutelary deity. In this age of a lavalike flow of katakana and romaji, Noge establishments hang shingles in kanji. After 5 p.m., middle-aged men descend from Minato Mirai tower aeries and head for the other side of the tracks, where Noge restaurants serve fare for discriminating palates.”