Top 10 places to see in Yokohama
Yokohama is the second largest city and the largest port in Japan, which is only 30 kilometers from Tokyo.
Yokohama is a major port city that is not like other cities in Japan. Not only was the port of Yokohama the first to open to foreign merchant ships, but it was built for that very purpose. In 1858, two small villages merged to form one city, which already opened an international port in 1859. In no other city in this country will you find what you can see in Yokohama.
Sankeiin – a traditional Japanese garden
Sankeien Garden was designed as a traditional Japanese garden in 1906. The garden is also known for featuring Japanese buildings of different styles and times. Some of them were relocated and reconstructed especially for the Sankeiin Garden from Kyoto and Kamakura.
A traditional Japanese garden is beautiful in and of itself. Walking through it, you can see truly amazing buildings. For example, the Shunsoro, a tea room that was supposedly built especially for Oda Urakusai, brother of Oda Nobunaga. Urakusai (aka Nagamasu) learned all the intricacies of the tea ceremony from master Sen no Rikyu and later became the founder of the tea ceremony school. Or Gekkaden, a guesthouse built in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu himself. It used to stand on the grounds of Fushimijo Castle in Kyoto. Inside you can see fusuma sliding doors with paintings by the artist Kaiho Yusho and transoms with flat openwork chrysanthemum patterns.
Yamate District and Yokohama Foreign Cemetery
The first foreigners who wished to settle in Yokohama chose to live in the Yamate district. It is there that you can admire the old buildings of foreign architecture. There are not too many of them left. Some of the oldest houses can be found in Harbour View Park. And from there you have a beautiful view of the harbor and the city.
The Yokohama Foreign Cemetery is also not far from there. Walking around the cemetery, you can learn that here are the graves of many famous people from the West who lived in Yokohama. It is also where the grave of one of the first foreign immigrants is located. He was buried in Japan in 1854, shortly after the country ended its national isolation and opened its doors to other countries.
After visiting the Yamate area, you can head to Motomachi Street. This place is still steeped in the European spirit. Numerous stores, eateries, and cafes are decorated in an original foreign style. Strolling through these streets, browsing through the stores or enjoying a cup of coffee in a cafe, you can try to imagine the feelings of the first foreign residents of the city who came here 150 years ago.
Japan’s opening of the borders attracted foreign traders who later settled in Yokohama and opened stores and restaurants. Among them were many natives of the closest neighbor, China. After settling part of the city, they formed their own neighborhood, Chinatown.
Today Chinatown is an area of more than 400 restaurants behind four gates that form the passageways of the neighborhood. In the center of Chinatown is the Kanteibiyo Temple, built in 1873 and dedicated to prosperity in business and wealth.
But Chinatown offers more than just one of the many restaurants where you’ll find everything your heart and stomach desire. The market stalls offer an abundance of street snacks and sweets that you can also enjoy.
Minato Mirai is Yokohama’s business district where you’ll find many places that offer amazing views of the city. Thousands of tourists go there to admire the beautiful panoramas and take pictures of the city’s sights. Here you can see the Cosmo World amusement park’s Ferris wheel in all its glory, the Yokohama Tower, the waterfront, and other places of interest.
It’s not just beautiful by day, with the sun shining through the clear blue skies. At night, it transforms into an amazing romantic fairy tale, where couples in love enjoy strolling. And you can appreciate the beauty of Minato Mirai from the observation decks of the Landmark Tower.
The tower is 296.3 meters high and has 73 floors. The 69th floor of Landmark Tower has an observation deck known as the Garden of Heaven. The speed of the elevator that takes you to the top is 65 km per hour. And a 360-degree view of the area will allow you to enjoy the views of the port and the city. If you arrive here by ten in the morning, just in time for the opening. It avoids congestion and you can see Mt. Fuji, which is often poorly visible in the middle of the day.
The 296-meter Landmark Tower was built in 1993 and for 20 years it was considered the tallest building in Japan. Its record has now been broken by the Abeno Harukas skyscraper in Osaka and the Tokyo Skytree television tower. After descending from Heavenly Garden, you can walk through Landmark Plaza and check out Dockyard Garden, an old wharf preserved from the days of the shipyard.
Yokohama is a port city. So it’s no surprise that cruises are very popular here. Boat cruises, it is not only romantic, but also interesting. Opposite Yamashita Park is one of the most popular and convenient points from which you can go on a cruise.
There are several types of cruises on the water – these are short tours that can be taken at lunchtime, or day and night sightseeing tours with stories about the city and its history. The water offers beautiful views of the city that will stay in your memory forever.
Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum
Trying ramen in Japan is the first thing to do. And in Yokohama, tourists can not only enjoy this dish, but also learn about its varieties and cooking method. The ramen museum opened its doors to visitors more than twenty years ago, and during this time has managed to gain popularity among many foreign tourists.
The main feature of the museum is that inside you will be waiting for an exact copy of the streets and buildings Shitamati 1958. This is the old district of Tokyo known for its ramen. Enjoying ramen at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum, you can easily imagine being transported back in time.
Zoorasia – Yokohama Zoo
Zoorasia is one of the largest zoos in Japan. It has seven ecological zones inhabited by many different animals, from small red pandas to huge African elephants. The zoo has many cafes where visitors can grab a bite to eat as they walk, and there are also themed events, making it an interesting place not only for families with children, but also for anyone.
Yokohama Zoo covers a large area and is located away from the center (about 1 hour away), so we recommend that all tourists who want to visit it take the whole day.
Kanagawa Shimbun Fireworks Festival
If you are visiting Yokohama in August, you should definitely go to the Kanagawa Shimbun Fireworks Festival. This is a great opportunity not only to see the delightful fireworks shows that the Japanese love to put on, but also to admire the Japanese in traditional clothing and taste the street food, with stalls often flooding the festival site.
Both Japanese and tourists love this grand spectacle, impressive in its scale and beauty. And the fireworks are much more enjoyable to watch while sampling delicious hot yakitori from the street counter, and drinking it all with local beer.
What’s worth seeing in Yokohama?
Yokohama is close to Tokyo (only 30 kilometers) and is the second-largest city in Japan. The city combines seemingly incongruous things – high technology and the latest achievements of technology neighbor ancient parks, museums and buildings, which remind us of ancient Japan.
Yokohama has quite a few different museums where you can both learn about the history of Japan (e.g. silk museum, toy museum, maritime museum) and exhibitions where you can appreciate technical innovations created in Japan (for example, at the Mitsubishi Industrial Center or at the Yokohama Science Center).
Yokohama is a port city, so it’s not surprising that there’s a Maritime Museum – after all, the sea has played and continues to play a big role in Yokohama’s life.
The museum is quite unusual, located not in any building, but aboard a ship that was built in the twentieth century. The ship was built as a training ship that was used to train students studying navigation.
The museum has both a permanent exhibit and temporary exhibitions. The permanent exhibition consists of five parts – the history of the port of Yokohama, the ship Nippon Maru (the same one in which the museum itself is located), the history of ship development, images of the port of Yokohama and ports of the world.
If you are interested in seafaring, ships, ports, or maritime trade, you will surely be interested in a museum like this.
In this museum you can learn how silk is made, what kinds of silk are produced in Japan, and admire silk products made in Japan.
On the first floor there is an exhibition about silk production – there you can see silkworms (not too appetizing, but interesting), see how cocoons are made into thread and examine the plant dyes used to dye silk in almost all possible colors. Then you will see a variety of spinning wheels, from the most ancient to the most modern. On the second floor are silk products – mainly, of course, kimono. They are all behind glass, you can not take pictures, although some curious tourists manage to do it without being caught by the employees. The captions under the stands are in Japanese and English, so if you know English you can easily read all the explanations in the silk museum.
Of course, there is also a souvenir store – as you can easily guess, you can buy all sorts of silk products : ) Among them are – t-shirts, kimono, scarves, ties, handbags purses and much more.
It seems to me that women and girls will be most interested in the museum, especially those who are attracted to unusual and colorful outfits. Men may be bored in this museum, although they may be interested in the technology of silk production.
And finally, here is some practical information that tourists who have decided to visit this museum may need.
Visiting hours are from 9 am to 4 pm on all days except Mondays.
The entrance fee is 500 yen for an adult and 200 yen for a child.
If you come to Yokohama with a child or if you are interested in toys yourself, you can recommend the Toy Museum, which has a collection of about ten thousand toys from more than one hundred countries around the world! Toys are made of different materials – wood, wax, plastic, porcelain, fabric, etc. A special place in the exposition of the museum is given to dolls – there are also large dolls, and their clothes can be considered without exaggeration hours – because it is worked out in the smallest detail. In addition to the permanent exhibition, the museum often hosts exhibitions dedicated to a particular period or country. The museum also houses a puppet theater. If you want to attend a performance, you should find out in advance about the schedule and duration of the shows.
The museum is open to visitors from 10 am to 18:30. The exception is every third Monday of the month. Admission costs ¥300 for an adult and ¥150 for a child.
Unlike art museums in other countries, the Yokohama Museum of Art was founded relatively recently (late 20th century). The museum features about 9,000 art objects. Among the famous artists whose paintings are represented in the museum are Cézanne, Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. Japanese artists who lived and worked in Yokohama occupy a special place.
Polytechnic Museum or Mitsubishi Museum of Industry
This museum is one of the most interesting museums in the city. If you are passionate about technology and technical innovations, you will surely find it to your liking.
The exhibition is divided into several parts – the transport zone, which tells about the development of different types of transport, the energy zone, the ocean zone (here we will talk about the role played by the ocean in the development of various industries), the aerospace zone, as well as the quest zone. There you can try to control different types of machinery. Keep in mind that much of the exhibit is interactive, such as the helicopter simulator.
As a rule, children like these museums (of course, not all the exhibits will be understandable to them), as well as adults who are interested in technology.
One of the tallest buildings in Japan is located just in Yokohama. The height of the tower is almost 300 meters (295 to be exact). The tower offers a magnificent panorama of the city, which can be admired by all who climb the tower. By the way, one of the fastest elevators in the world takes less than a minute to reach a height of 300 meters!
Yokohama’s Chinatown is one of the most sprawling chinatowns in the world. You can enter it through a gate (there are four in total).
There you can enter the Chinese temple – it’s incredibly colorful and catches the eye of anyone who sees it.
The Chinatown (or Chinatown) also hosts various events – like the Chinese New Year.
Ramen Museum. The museum is completely dedicated to one of the most consumed Japanese products: noodles. It is also a hypermall and a theme park, where you can see the most common types of noodles, as well as learn about some of the details of their preparation.
On the first floor of the museum there is a souvenir store and, directly, the exhibits of the museum collections themselves. And the remaining two floors are a small historical park, by the way, very impressive, because tourists can plunge into the old atmosphere of 1958, when working Japanese neighborhoods were full of people, small noodle shops and restaurants. People were working, selling cotton candy, cakes and, of course, sake. You can see all of this in this particular museum part of the exhibition.
But the most special are the restaurants, of which there are eight. Each of them specializes in a different kind of noodles or, to be more precise, a different kind of noodles. But, for visiting the restaurants, you pay separately.
Visiting time is from 11:00 to 23:00. The cost is from 100 to 300 yen, depending on age.
Sankeien Gardens. Address: 58-1 Honmoku-Sannotani, Naka-ku, Yokohama.
It’s a really interesting place, and as I am very fond of natural beauty and parks, not only in Japan, but in other countries as well, and have seen quite a lot of them, I can safely say that I was struck by this beauty. Of course, the park is not in the center, but a little away from the main city attractions, but it’s worth it. The tranquility, the beauty, the beautiful combination of oriental features and traditions is what you will see here. The park is so unusual that everything here seems perfect. And don’t think you have to spend an hour or two here, it’s not true. Get ready to spend about half a day here, because time flies very quickly.
In winter the plum trees bloom, in spring you can see the azalea and the gorgeous, more traditional sakura blossom, but in summer the gorgeous irises attract your attention. Even in the fall there is something to see here, because the leaves are colored in the bright colors of autumn, from bright yellow to brown, deep red.
In addition, the park’s structures are considered national cultural parks of the country.
The entrance fee is 300 yen for the outer garden and 60 yen for children, and 300 yen for the inner garden and 120 yen for children.
Minato Mirai 21. A port of the future that they decided to build back in the early ’60s. But construction didn’t start until the 1980s and ended in 1993. Today it is a huge shopping center that offers visitors a lot of entertainment, including for children.
Hundreds of stores, boutiques, offices, entertainment – all for a great time.
By the way, many tourists prefer to combine walks through the center, with the Chinatown, which is very close. There you can buy a lot of inexpensive souvenirs, visit cafes or restaurants, and just stroll around its surroundings, which are very bright and colorful. In addition, visitors can enjoy the amazing view that opens from the pier. The bay, the ships, the splash of water, it’s all even a little relaxing.
Yokohama Landmark Tower Sky Garden observation deck. Address: 2-4-1 Minato Mirai, Yokohama.
The height of the building is almost three hundred meters, which makes the view of the city very impressive and breathtaking, and the wide windows allow you to take a large number of gorgeous photos, and so that the joints do not fall into the frame.
There are cafes here, small sofas if you get tired of admiring such beauty, in general, it’s cool. It is from here that you can see the real Japanese spirit, and a real giant port city, where Yokohama itself appears to you as a small Japanese garden, with many bridges, ships, piers. It would seem that they are just around the corner. By the way, this is where the fastest high-speed elevators in the world take you up. Especially beautiful city at night, when thousands of lights paint it in a special way.
Nogeyama Zoo. Address: 63-10 Oimatsucho, Yokohama.
A very nice place to visit, especially for visitors with children. There are giraffes, pandas, peacocks, penguins, tigers, and other animals. The choice is quite large, there is something to see, and for children there is a corner with a contact zoo. Here kids can meet guinea pigs, chickens, and other harmless animals. And in the whole area of the zoo there are always enough moms with kids, but there is no crowding, so I really enjoyed the walks.
But what surprised me is that there is very little space for animals, which is very sad. The entrance to the zoo is free, but you can see that this affects the placement of the animals.
Yokohama Zoo ”Zoorasia”. This is an entire zoo park located at 1175-1 Kami-Shirane-cho, Yokohama.
There’s plenty of room for animals here, with several souvenir stores, a restaurant, cozy cafes, arcade games, a beverage truck, and more. There are a lot of visitors with kids here, too, and it’s not very crowded on weekdays.
I really liked the white arctic owl here, which even smiled and frowned at us. By the way, in addition to the animals, there are beautiful species of plants and flowers here, as well as green bright lawns where you can relax. There are signs everywhere, and visitors are even given maps of the area with pictures of everything they need in the park.
Admission to the zoo is 600 yen.
Hikawamaru Passenger Liner / NYK Hikawamaru Exhibits. Address: Yamashita Park, Yokohama.
The liner is moored near the popular Yamashita Park, so there are quite a few visitors. It is also called the Queen of the Pacific because the liner has been plowing the waters for thirty years.
Today, however, it is a beautiful museum that is very exquisitely decorated and beautiful inside. You can visit the ship on which Charlie Chaplin himself traveled, because his years of service are from the 1930s to the 1960s. The exterior of the liner is also quite impressive, so it will be very interesting and informative to walk on board. But the price of the entrance ticket is 800 yen, which is not very cheap.