Right outside Yokohama’s old Chinatown, there is a revolving door on one side of an apartment building, painted in vivid turquoise. While most tourists walk past it without a single glance, an oft-overlooked historical marker indicates that it is, in fact, a valuable piece from the past.
The apartment building, named EXTE Yamashita Kōen, stands on the former site of the Rising Sun Petroleum Co. headquarters, built in 1929 in the wake of the calamitous Great Kantō earthquake. Designed by Czech architects Antonin Raymond and Bedřich Feuerstein, it was one of the most state-of-the-art office buildings in Japan, featuring a revolving door which was nearly unheard of at the time.
Rising Sun was forced into a hiatus during World War II, but resumed business in 1947, now renamed Shell Sekiyu—Japan’s own version of the Royal Dutch Shell brand.
The company did not stay in Yokohama for long, as its headquarters was moved to Tokyo in 1955. There, it continued to grow to be one of the top energy providers in the country, until 2018 when it was acquired by the Idemitsu company.
The Yokohama headquarters building was demolished in 1990, but seeing its good condition and historical values, the City of Yokohama claimed the revolving door and kept it in its storage. When the EXTE apartment was built over a decade later, the revolving door was repainted and put back into its original place.
Know Before You Go
The revolving door is located within a short walk away from Chinatown.