A mere 40 km (25 mi) south of Tokyo, the harbourside city of Yokohama boasts of a traditional Japanese soul. Part of the Kanagawa prefecture, Yokohama brims with sprawling verdant spaces, swanky cruise ships at the harbour, and expansive and sweeping views of the waterfront. It’s a city of culture, complete with a wide array of top-of-the-line shopping options, a host of museums, as well as being home to what is Japan’s biggest and vibrant Chinatown. Radiating a distinct seaside vibe that is Japanese in spirit, Yokohama is impressive to boot. Here are the top 23 places to visit in Yokohama.
1. Yokohama Chinatown
Yokohama’s vibrant Chinatown is not only Japan’s largest, but also one of the largest Chinatowns in the world. Also, since it is in Japan, it is as clean as a new pin. The neighbourhood holds in its folds a history of more than 150 years and is home to a host of temples, shops and street stalls, and a smattering of all-you-can-eat restaurants - more than 500, in fact! Shop for everything from Japanese handicrafts to clothes and food. Plus, you need to be coming to Chinatown on an empty stomach, for you won’t be able to resist the heavenly aromas of foods like geppei (mooncakes) and nikuman (meat buns). Also, do head to the heart of Chinatown, the 1873-built Kanteibyo temple dedicated to prosperity and business.
2. Ōsanbashi Pier
Originally constructed in the last decade of the 19th century, Ōsanbashi pier is Yokohama’s oldest pier. The pier is very famous for having been the embarking point for major cruise ships like the QE2 (Queen Elizabeth 2). The pier is one of the best vantage points in the city to view the Yokohama Towers - the Jack, Queen, and King. The presence of elevators and ramps and no stairs allows even physically challenged and wheelchair-bound visitors to enter the pier. The pier has a rooftop and event plaza. The rooftop plaza with verdant grass lawns and wooden decks is great for views of ships docking at the pier. On clear days, one can even see Mt. Fuji in the distance. The event plaza sees entertainment throughout the year.
3. Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum
Just like a museum dedicated to ramen, Yokohama also has a museum dedicated to the saviour of millions and millions of students - the cup noodles! The kitschy, interactive Cup Noodles Museum takes you back in time, allowing foodies to create their own unique ramen mix by mixing and matching different ingredients and coups at the Chicken Ramen Factory. There are even fun exhibitions which give visitors a peek into the journey of late cup-ramen inventor Momofuku Ando, including his genius invention - Space Ramen!
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4. Yokohama Cosmoworld
Fans of the intrepid rejoice, for Yokohama is home to the snazzy and adrenaline-pumping Cosmo World amusement park. Located in the Minato Mirai complex right on Tokyo Bay, the biggest draw of the amusement park is the impressive, jaw-dropping Ferris Wheel right in the centre. The 112.5-meters-high (369 feet) Ferris Wheel is one of the world’s largest and seats a whopping 480 passengers. It’s akin to a psychedelic experience at night, what with the lights that light it up. Plus, the park even boasts of exhilarating roller coasters that include ones which seemingly plunge into the water. A log raft ride is great for calming your body down after all other rides. End your day by digging into delish food at the many food stalls.
5. Nippon Maru Memorial Park
Housed at what is a futuristic waterfront of Minatomirai is the impressive Nippon Maru, a four-masted sail training ship built to train cadets and permanently docked in the Yokohama harbour. Constructed all the way back in 1930, the full-sized Nippon Maru is nearly as long as a football field and boasts of a rich 150-year-old maritime history. Tour deck and interiors of the grand vessel, see the rooms that the captain lived in, and where the cooks and cadets stayed. Don’t miss visiting the Yokohama Port Museum next door which features interactive exhibits delving into Yokohama’s seafaring and maritime history.
6. Yokohama Landmark Tower
Minatomirai does it again, for housed here is what is Japan’s second-tallest building and fourth-tallest structure, Yokohama Landmark Tower. The 972-feet-high tower (296 metres) is home to a luxurious 5-star hotel occupying floors 43-70, which is the topmost point of the tower that one can get to. The lower 48 floors are home to numerous offices, restaurants, and shopping stores. However, the best part of the tower is the fantastic Sky Garden Observatory on the 69th floor, from where one can spy sweeping and gorgeous 360-degree views of the city. On absolutely clear days, one can even see all the way across to Mount Fuji. All these heights can be reached in just under 40 seconds aboard what were Japan’s fastest elevators when the tower first opened.
7. Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse 2
Officially known as the Newport Pier Tax Keeping Warehouse, Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse is a historical structure and originally used as a customs building in the city. Known as Yokohama Akarenga in Japanese, the structure is made up of two warehouses, warehouse 1 and warehouse 2. The latter was erected in 1911 and currently is home to a restaurant arcade and shopping mall with a host of restaurants and shops. The structure even has a balcony which makes for a fabulous viewing and vantage point for the Yokohama harbour. Plus, the place also boasts of panoramic views of the ocean.
8. Sankeien Garden
‘Sankei’ means to pray, and the elegant and tranquil beauty of the Sankeien Garden might just make you feel hopeful enough to do that too. The massive 175,000 sq. metre (1.9 million sq. feet) traditional Japanese garden opened for viewing back in the year 1906. It is the former private estate of a wealthy Japanese silk merchant, who also personally designed the garden. The verdant space is home to a total of 17 historic buildings which were moved from places like Kamakura and Kyoto and then reconstructed here. It houses, for instance, the oldest wooden pagoda in Kanto, which dates all the way back to the mid-15th century. Other structures include the 1603-built guesthouse and the Shunsoro (tea room). Walk down the winding paths of the garden and admire the gorgeous architecture and setting which seems from another time. Lovely streams and ponds dot the space, making for a relaxing day out in Yokohama.
9. Kirin Brewery Yokohama Factory
Yokohama is home to Japan’s first major commercial brewery, the Kirin Yokohama Beer Village. The Kirin beer factory is an extremely interesting place that will tell visitors all about the history and heritage of beer in Yokohama as well as its production process. While the tour is in Japanese, an English handout is very helpful for keeping up. At the end of the tour, chug some liquid courage in the form of three glasses of freshly-brewed beer along with a delicious snack.
10. Negishi Forest Park
Negishi Forest Park is something of a hidden gem in Yokohama. It is known as ‘Negishi Shinrin Koen’ in Japanese and is one of the largest parks in Yokohama measuring 1,800 sq. metres (19,375 sq. feet). The park was, surprisingly, designed as a racing track originally when it opened in 1867 and was home to Japan’s first western-style horse racing. It became a golf course post World War II and officially became Negishi Forest Park in 1977. It is chock-full of historic and iconic landmarks like the grandstands on the western side of the park. What’s more, one can even see views of Mount Fuji and Yokohama Landmark Tower on clear days.
11. Harbour View Park
Yokohama’s Harbour View Park is home to some of the oldest houses and settlements when Yokohama first became an international trade port. The park opened in the year 1962 at the site of what once held British soldiers’ barracks. The park boasts of gorgeous views of the Yokohama harbour and Yokohama Bay Bridge at night time. The lookout and benches which lie atop a small hill from where one can snap some amazing pictures of Yokohama City. Lying close to the Harbour View Park is the Yokohama Foreign Cemetery wherein lie the remains of numerous famous westerners.
12. Yokohama Municipal Nogeyama Zoo
The Nogeyama Zoological Gardens are a pleasant relaxing and outdoorsy addition to the bustling, futuristic landscape that is Minatomirai. Opened to the public in 1951, the zoo is Yokohama’s very first and covers an area of 24 acres (9.7 hectares). It houses close to 1400 different animals across 100 different species. One of the most popular, and also the first animal to see the minute you enter the zoo is the gorgeous red panda. Among other animals, the zoo is home to South American tufted capuchin monkeys and the Caledonian kagu.
13. Sky Garden
The Sky Garden is Yokohama’s highest observation deck on the 69th floor of the Landmark Tower. One of the country’s fastest elevators, at the time when it opened, whisks guests up to the 69th floor in a matter of seconds - in fact in just less than 40 seconds. At the top, one can take in the 360-degree panoramic views of the city which extends not only all the way to the capital city Tokyo but even the great Mt. Fuji itself on clear days. Don’t fret if you get to go up only at night, for the twinkling and glittering city lights make for an even better view.
14. Shomyoji Temple
Within the vast city of Yokohama lies the quiet Buddhist temple of Shomyoji with a rich background and history. The temple, which is the family temple of Kanesawa Houjo-shi, was supposedly set up by Houjo Sanetoki during the Kamakura era in the early 13th century. It was initially built as a Buddha statue hall and ultimately expanded into a temple. It even served as a school for Buddhist teachings during Japan’s middle ages. The temple complex even has an impressive Aji pond at the centre of a Jodo-style garden.
15. Yokohama Motomachi Shopping Street
No trip is complete without a shopping stint, and Yokohama Motomachi Shopping Street is where you need to go for all your shopping needs in the city. Bookended by two symbolic arches with phoenix-shaped sculptures, Yokohama Motomachi street features a plethora of shops featuring well-established brands of the traditional clothing of Yokohama, as well as other shops selling popular foreign brands, furniture, cutlery, antique, and more. Plus, you can give your tired legs a rest at the many benches placed along the street. If you’re visiting Yokohama at the end of February and September, the street hosts a week-long large-scale sale known as ‘Charming Sale’.
The fantastic Zoorasia, which is one of Japan’s largest zoos, is located around 20 km (12.5 miles) from Yokohama. The zoo houses a whopping seven ecological regions, including African tropical rainforest, the Japanese countryside, Amazonian jungles, subarctic forests, and Asian tropical forest. Zoorasia is home to a diverse array of animals from across species, right from Indian elephants to the cute little red panda. The sprawling, open-air habitat zoo makes use of as less number of fences as possible for animals to be able to live in an environment that is more natural than fenced or manmade. Apart from this, the site also has a breeding centre for the preservation of rare species, the Wanpaku Forest with play equipment and a grass park.
Yokohama Zoo Zoorasia Admission Ticket
Duration: 1 day
17. Marine & Walk Yokohama
The Marine & Walk is an innovative community event space and mall and the latest addition to the growing number of inventive spaces in Yokohama. The place has greatly raised the standards of shopping in the city with its compact and chic layout and experience. It houses a collection of specific bistros and boutiques lined up along the waterfront of Yokohama’s futuristic Minatomirai neighbourhood. The gorgeous outdoor complex features lovely wooden decks, graphic-printed stairs, twinkling fairy lights, plants, and even outdoor heaters during winter, making for a different and scenic shopping experience.
18. Rinko Park
Rinko Park is the biggest and most magnificent green space lying within the advanced and cutting-edge Minatomirai district. It sits right by the seaside and boasts of equally splendid and complete views of Yokohama Port. The park is also chock-full of beautiful art installations and even a small pond at the western corner. Do visit the park once at night too for an incredible, glittering nighttime view of the glass-and-steel Minatomirai neighbourhood.
19. Orbi Yokohama
Orbi is a unique museum and wildlife theme park in Yokohama. Operated by BBC Earth and SEGA, Orbi is a place where visitors can experience the wonders of nature up close as an interactive experience. For instance, in Animalpedia, visitors can see silhouettes of various land and sea animals on a huge screen projected in their original size. Earth Cruising allows visitors to enjoy panoramic views of earth from above as if they’re flying. Journey with African elephants in the heart of the African landscape and even experience the subzero temperatures of Mount Kenya!
20. Zounohana Park
The beautiful Zou-no-Hana Park faces the best part and heart of the Port of Yokohama. The origins of the park go back to 1859 when Yokohama Port first opened. At that time, Zou-no-Hana Park was the very first place in the city to have a wharf. Visitors are recommended to enter Zou-no-Hana Park from Nihon Odori Street, from where it’s a lovely stroll down a tree-lined boulevard. An open square known as “Kaiko Hatoba” welcomes visitors, complete with views of the port. P.S.: There are blue elephants scattered all around the park. They are known as ‘periko’ and are fun do-not-enter signs for vehicles!
21. Yokohama World Porters
There’s no better place to shop in Yokohama than the World Porters, a gigantic shopping mall housing more than 200 shops with a rooftop Bahn golf! Shopping avenues are separated by floor and genre for the convenience of shoppers. Apart from a massive movie complex, the mall is also home to a variety of restaurants and eateries when you feel like grabbing a bite in between your shopping jaunt. For getting some authentic Japanese food while shopping, head to the sushi-go-round restaurant ‘Miura Misaki-ko’.
Imagine an amusement park which has a mall, an aquarium, and even a theme park! Welcome to the Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise amusement park located on a manmade island off the coast of Yokohama in Tokyo Bay. The aquarium is one of Japan’s largest with more than 500 varieties of fishes and more than 100,000 sea creatures in total. A spectacular undersea viewing tunnel makes for a one-of-a-kind viewing perspective. Plus, the park also houses thrilling rides including a massive carousel and roller coaster which goes out over the water. Heck, there’s even indoor skydiving ‘Blue Fall’ for the intrepid ones!
Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise Ticket
Duration: 4hrs - 5hrsDuration
Who’d have imagined that there would be a museum dedicated to the delicious dish that is ramen? Yokohama is home to the incredible Ramen Museum, a place that almost anticipated just how popular ramen would get. Opened in 1994, the museum houses a spectacular replica of how Shitamachi, the old area of Tokyo popular for ramen, looked way back in 1958. The museum transports ramen-lovers back in time for digging into a delicious bowl of ramen! Choose from vegetarian ramen, pork-free ramen, and so much more. Plus, the museum also has lots of stores, a sweets shop, and even a slot race car track.
Tickets to Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum - hotel delivery in Japan included
Since it was first built and introduced to the world, Yokohama has quickly transformed into not just the second-largest city in Japan but also an attractive and accomplished one at that. The attractive city is home to a host of cultural and artistic attractions which makes it extremely popular with every kind of traveller. If you are planning to visit this fantastic, futuristic city, this list of its best attractions will help you plan an itinerary and explore the city to the fullest.
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