Top 20 Things to Do in Yokohama From the Classics to Hidden Gems
With great access to Tokyo, Yokohama is known as a commuter town, but it also has the largest Chinatown in Japan and many other tourist attractions such as shopping destinations. Here are all sorts of places for eating, playing, sightseeing, and shopping around the heart of Yokohama.
- How to Get to Yokohama
- Minato Mirai 21
- 1. Devour Some Gourmet Specialties at Yokohama Chinatown
- 2. Have Fun Picking Strawberries at TOKYO STRAWBERRY PARK
- 3. Walk Around Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse - A Yokohama Icon!
- 4. Appreciate the Four Seasons at Yokohama English Garden
- 5. Make Your Own CUPNOODLES at Yokohama CUPNOODLES Museum
- 6. Walk Around Eating Ramen at Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum
- 7. Play at the Yokohama Anpanman Children's Museum
- 8. Experience Japanese Traditional Arts at Yokohama Noh Theatre
- 9. Stroll Around the Historical Sankeien Garden
- 10. Try Zazen at Soji-ji Temple
- 11. Watch an Exciting Dolphin Show at Hakkeijima Sea Paradise
- 12. Feel the Ocean Breeze as You Walk Along Yokohama Port O-sanbashi Rooftop Plaza
- 13. Enjoy a Cruise on the Sea Bass
- 14. View the Yokohama Bay Area in Panorama from Yokohama Landmark Tower
- 15. Enjoy Shopping at Motomachi Shopping Street
- 16. Get Up Close and Personal with Digital and Real Animals at Orbi Yokohama
- 17. Ride One of the World's Biggest Ferris Wheels at Yokohama Cosmo World
- 18. Take a Tour of the Yokohama Yamate Western-style Houses
- 19. Enjoy the View from Harbor View Park
- 20. Gaze at the Nightscape of Minato Mirai from Kishamichi Promenade
Triggered by the opening of Yokohama Port in 1859 and many foreigners subsequently taking up residence here, Yokohama experienced rapid development and is now the city with the largest population in Japan outside of Tokyo. At face value it is a Tokyo commuter town, but this is also a city in which streetscapes that speak of Yokohama's history, such as Chinatown, Bashamichi, and Red Brick Warehouse, coexist with the futuristic Minato Mirai 21 waterfront area with its modern buildings such as Landmark Tower. Thus article will introduce things to do in the areas of Minato Mirai, Yokohama Station, Kannai, and Motomachi, which are collectively thought of as the heart of Yokohama.
How to Get to Yokohama
Getting to Yokohama is as convenient as taking a train, from either the airport (Narita or Haneda) or Tokyo Station. You can also take a limousine bus from the airport.
From Narita Airport: Narita Express Limousine Bus (Airport Transport Service/Tokyo-Yokohama Express Bus/Keisei Bus (getting off at YCAT)
From Haneda Airport: Keisei Express Limousine Bus (Keisei Express Bus (getting off at YCAT or Red Brick Building)
From Tokyo Station: JR East Tokaido Line, Yokosuka Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line or Shonan-Shinjuku Line
*Please note that in Yokohama there is Yokohama Station and Shin-Yokohama Station, and the lines running through these stations are different, so take care not confuse the two.
Minato Mirai 21
Yokohama Port, which was developed according to city plans, could be said to be the face of Yokohama. There are endless possibilities for enjoyment here. On the one hand you have the Landmark Tower which symbolizes Yokohama, luxury hotels and shopping malls; while on the other hand you have buildings still standing from the days of the Yokohama Port opening, such as Red Brick Warehouse, and Grand Mall Park Circular Plaza where you can see street performances. This also makes a wonderful spot for a date because of the spectacular nighttime views.
1. Devour Some Gourmet Specialties at Yokohama Chinatown
Japan's largest Chinatown is jam-packed from the main street to back alleys with over 500 Chinese restaurants of various sizes. Here you can enjoy the four major styles of Chinese cooking: Peking, Sichuan, Shanghainese, and Cantonese, which differ in their use of flavors and cooking methods in each region. There are also many establishments offering dim sum and sweets which can be eaten at the storefront, in the midst of which you will find premium quality peking duck for a cheap price. Get the full Chinatown experience with authentic Chinese cuisine and storefront gourmet delights.
*Please do not eat while walking.
2. Have Fun Picking Strawberries at TOKYO STRAWBERRY PARK
Tokyo Strawberry Park is a theme park inside the Yokohama thermal power station, where you can pick strawberries all year round (except Wednesdays). The park offers a very thorough strawberry-themed experience, complete with buffet restaurant, strawberry lab, cooking school and gift shop. You need to book and pay ahead through the official website for this unique and fun strawberry-picking experience. Bear in mind that they don't take same-day bookings.
*Image displayed in photo is an impression.
3. Walk Around Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse - A Yokohama Icon!
The Red Brick Warehouse is an impressive historic building which was used a storage warehouse in Yokohama Port for close to 100 years. When it was no longer needed as a warehouse it was remodeled, and in 2002 it was reopened as the popular tourist destination, Red Brick Park. It consists of Building 1 which features an exhibition space and hall, Building 2 which houses over 50 stores including restaurants and houseware stores, and an outdoor event space where various events are held in each season. Come here just to walk around and take a look at the interior design which takes advantage of this classic Yokohama building's vintage look, well-established stores you'll only find in Yokohama, and some great gift shops.
4. Appreciate the Four Seasons at Yokohama English Garden
At the Yokohama English Garden, you can appreciate 1,800 varieties of roses in both spring (April - August) and autumn (October - December). In addition to the roses, you will be greeted by plants suited to Yokohama's climate year round, such as hydrangeas in June, Christmas roses in February and March, as well as various bulbs and herbs. After taking a walk in the garden, you're invited to an elegant time at the cafe where you can eat rose-themed sweets. There is even a garden supply store here.
5. Make Your Own CUPNOODLES at Yokohama CUPNOODLES Museum
Did you know that the beloved worldwide snack, instant ramen, was a Japanese invention? This is a hands-on museum where you can have fun while learning about the history and production process of instant ramen. The key attraction here is the My CUPNOODLES Factory where you can make your own one-of-a-kind CUPNOODLES by choosing the cup design, soup flavor and seasonings (requires a numbered ticket or a ticket included with museum entry ticket). There are over 5,460 possible combinations! This attraction will have adults and children alike ecstatic with joy.
6. Walk Around Eating Ramen at Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum
This is a gathering of famous ramen shops from around Japan that ramen lovers won't be able to resist, located just a 5-minute walk from Shin-Yokohama Station. Each store offers a mini size so you can try and compare the different ramen dishes. Aside from the regular stores which have been there since opening, including Komurasaki, limited-time stores can pop-up and stay for a span of 3 months to a year. Inside the building, which is a recreation of a retro Japanese streetscape, there are also stores other than ramen shops, such as dagashiya (stores where you can buy cheap candy) and coffee shops.
*The nearest station is Shin-Yokohama Station, not Yokohama Station.
7. Play at the Yokohama Anpanman Children's Museum
Step into the wonderful world of Anpanman, the popular children's anime. Entry to the first floor area is free, where there is a shop, food court and free show. To access the 2nd & 3rd floors, you'll need a ticket. Children can play and be immersed in the anime and there is also a stage show designed to be enjoyed by children of all ages. All areas are indoors so you can bring the kids to have a great time without worrying about the weather.
8. Experience Japanese Traditional Arts at Yokohama Noh Theatre
This is the arts center for Japanese classical theater, which includes the oldest existing style of performing arts in the world, Noh*. Aside from the usual public performances, easily accessible performances for new audiences are also put on here for 2,000 JPY. On days when there are no performances, you can observe the stage and exhibition floor from the second floor seating.
* A form of Japanese traditional classical theater which has been performed for more than 600 years and is registered on the list of World Intangible Cultural Heritage
9. Stroll Around the Historical Sankeien Garden
Sankeien Garden is a spacious Japanese Garden that spans 17.5 hectares. It was opened to the public in 1906 by businessman, Hara Sankei. Buildings of historical significance from places like Kyoto and Kamakura are spread throughout the garden's rolling landscape, and many of those are considered national treasures. Throughout the year you can appreciate all kinds of flowers and it is a famous spot for viewing cherry blossoms, azaleas, and autumn leaves. So that you can get the most out of your visit, the official homepage introduces a 30-minute, 60-minute, and 90-minute walking course to explore this expansive garden.
10. Try Zazen at Soji-ji Temple
Practice zazen at the head temple of the Soto school of Buddhism. Zazen involves achieving mental concentration through sitting cross-legged in the correct posture and freeing yourself from worldly or worthless thoughts. Soji-ji is open to common people to facilitate the spread of this practice. You can come without a reservation, just see the reception desk first and pay a fee (300 - 500 JPY per person). There are English zazen sessions as well, and for people who want an authentic experience, or for groups of 15 or more you can also book a session (2,000 - 8,000 JPY).
*Wear loose fitting clothing. Do not wear any hair products or perfumes.
11. Watch an Exciting Dolphin Show at Hakkeijima Sea Paradise
This artificial island has everything, from an aquarium, attractions, and a marina, to restaurants, shopping, amusements, and a hotel. There are four distinctly themed aquariums, known collectively as Aqua Resorts. This is an experience not to be missed as everything in the ocean is present here in the one place. Get up close with sea life, appreciate dolphins in a magical space, enjoy a dynamic dolphin show or a comical sea lion show at the aqua stadium inside Japan's largest aquarium & aquatic museum. This a place of endless fun for both children and adults alike.
12. Feel the Ocean Breeze as You Walk Along Yokohama Port O-sanbashi Rooftop Plaza
Japanese domestic cruise ships come and go from Yokohama O-sanbashi International Passenger Terminal. The rooftop, also called "the whale's back," is a place for rest and relaxation that is freely accessible 24-hours a day and is known for its great views. Here you can get an unobstructed view of the Red Brick Warehouse and Yokohama's iconic Minato Mirai buildings, meaning the views here at night are particularly special. On the lobby floor is a cafe-restaurant where you can enjoy the scenery, as well as a gift shop filled with a particularly Yokohama feel.
*Do not walk on the lawn; smoking is prohibited in the building, including on the rooftop.
12. Feel the Ocean Breeze as You Walk Along Yokohama Port O-sanbashi Rooftop Plaza
1-1-4 Kaigan-dori, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa
13. Enjoy a Cruise on the Sea Bass
This is a leisure cruise that connects Yokohama's main tourist spots, including Yokohama Station, Minato Mirai 21, Red Brick Warehouse, and Yamashita Park. The boat has large windows, and the back deck is very popular for taking photos - imagine your hair blowing in the gentle sea breeze with famous landmarks in the backdrop. It's great during the day of course, but a night cruise is highly recommended. The non-stop route from Yokohama Station to Yamashita Park takes about 15 minutes, while the route takes around 35 minutes when stopping in at each spot. The fare depends on how long you ride the cruise for, but it ranges from 360 JPY to 700 JPY.
14. View the Yokohama Bay Area in Panorama from Yokohama Landmark Tower
The Landmark Tower which stands at 296m with 70 floors above ground including a shopping mall, is noticeably taller than the other buildings in Yokohama Minato Mirai 21. You can get a powerful 360-degree view from the observatory floor sky garden on the 69th floor (which only takes 40 seconds to reach in the express elevator!). You can see for about 80km, which means you can even see Mt. Fuji from here. This is also known as a great spot for viewing the nightscape of the city, so tourists, couples, and photographers flock here.
15. Enjoy Shopping at Motomachi Shopping Street
This is a shopping street with over 150 years of history, that started out as a store for foreigners living in Japan. This is a popular spot and home to many stylish specialty stores, including Kitamura, a nation-wide bag store that started out in Motomachi, and Star Jewelry The Shop. There are also many events held here that are worth checking out, including February and September sales, and Christmas-themed illuminations that actually last from December until February. You can walk here in a few minutes from Chinatown.
16. Get Up Close and Personal with Digital and Real Animals at Orbi Yokohama
Orbi Yokohama is an indoor park that offers an unexpected nature experience in the city, where you can see animals up close through digital technology. There are 12 different exhibitions to enjoy, from real wildlife experiences and encounters with the animals, the daily 45-degree Celsius temperature difference of the equatorial Mt. Kenya exhibit, and powerful visuals of the mountain gorilla exhibit viewed with special 4D glasses. There are no headsets provided for languages other than Japanese, but there are guidebooks available in English and Chinese.
17. Ride One of the World's Biggest Ferris Wheels at Yokohama Cosmo World
You may have noticed the large circular object among the buildings of Minato Mirai 21 in the photos shown earlier. That circular object is Cosmo Clock 21, a Ferris wheel that doubles as the world's largest clock at a total height of 112.5m, inside the Yokohama Cosmo World amusement park. It takes about 15 minutes for a gondola to get around the Ferris wheel once. This a romantic place to enjoy the views of Minato Mirai 21 at night (800 JPY per person). Thrill seekers should try the see-through gondola where the ground below is completely visible, aside from the framework of the ferris wheel.
18. Take a Tour of the Yokohama Yamate Western-style Houses
Traces of the time of the opening of Yokohama Port remain in these Western-style houses in the Yamate area where foreigners first settled. There are about 7 Western-style houses along the 2km road starting from either Motomachi Chukagai Station or Ishikawacho Station, and you can go around them all in 2 to 3 hours. The rooms have a lived-in feel and there are halls and cellars, so you can get a glimpse of what life was like at the time. You can enjoy a light meal in elegant surroundings at the Ehrismann Residence tea room or a cafe.
19. Enjoy the View from Harbor View Park
This is a perfect elevated park from which you can look out over Yokohama Port and the Yokohama Bay Bridge. At the weekend this spot gets crowded with couples on dates. The park has an English-style theme featuring an English rose garden. 1,300 rose bushes of 110 different varieties bloom in profusion as if in competition, with one of the Yamate Western-style houses in the background.
20. Gaze at the Nightscape of Minato Mirai from Kishamichi Promenade
Yokohama's nightscape has been introduced over and over again as a beautiful date idea. Other than enjoying it from the top of a skyscraper or on the deck of a boat, one of the classic choices is the walking course on Kishamichi Promenade, which crosses over the water along some abandoned railway tracks. As you go down the tracks, you can look out of the entirety over Minato Mirai 21 and the reflection of the cityscape at night on the surface of the water is truly romantic. This is a strong choice for getting a great photo together on a date.
These are some great spots around Minato Mirai 21 that we can confidently recommend. If you go on the Sea Bass you can double your fun. Enjoy Yokohama which has plenty to offer, whether it's day or night.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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