Yokohama is a short train ride from central Tokyo and while many might think it is just another harbor town that doesn’t offer much. You’ll soon be pleasantly surprised when you start to discover that there are so many things to do in Yokohama and that this seaside city has great attractions that should be on anyone’s must-visit list. You’ll be in awe of the wide waterfront views, gleaming cruise ships, and expansive green spaces on offer. Yokohama is full of quirky museums, the largest Chinatown in Japan, and world-class shopping that will satisfy any sort of shopper. All across the city, you’ll feel the kind of relaxed, seaside vibes of some quaint seaside town, but with a distinctly Japanese spirit. This underrated city really has something for everyone and it won't take long to realize that when you see this list of must-visit tourist attractions to kickstart your adventure.
The CupNoodles Museum
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Yes, you read that correctly a whole museum dedicated to noodles and the history of how CupNoodles came to be. The CupNoodle Museum has something for everyone. There is a huge athletic facility that offers the virtual experience of being a noodle in a huge factory. Children get to experience what it would be like as a noodle while discovering the entire manufacturing process from making the noodles to shipping them. If you're feeling adventurous you could try your hand at making your own Chicken Ramen by hand in the factory or create your own completely original CupNoodle packaging, which would be unavailable anywhere else in the world. There is also a great museum shop so you can get something to take home from this unusual place.
Be prepared to be mesmerized by the sights and smells of Japan’s largest Chinatown as you enter through one of the four colorful gates that stand at the entrances. Take in the fragrant smells of nikuman (meat buns), geppei (mooncakes), and other varieties of steamed deliciousness lining the streets as you float from one store to another. Be prepared to eat your way through the market as you follow your nose to the most delicious foods around. If you’re looking for something more unusual to do check out the Kanteibyo, a multi-colored temple in the center of Chinatown which was constructed in 1873 by Chinese residents and is dedicated to the Chinese god of good business and prosperity.
Landmark Tower Sky Garden
Step into the elevator in the second-floor lobby of Landmark Tower and in just 40 speedy seconds you’ll able to see the beautiful bay area from nearly 300 meters up. This is the highest observation deck in Yokohama and it is home to the country’s fastest elevator which whisks you up to the 69th floor in the blink of an eye. Once you’ve arrived you’ll be able to enjoy the 360-degree panoramic view of the city. If you happen to visit on a very clear day you may even be able to see all the way to Tokyo and the mighty My. Fuji. The Landmark Tower Sky Garden is a great place to visit at night if you’re looking for things to do in Yokohama at night, the night time views of the city are just as breathtaking from here.
Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum
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Shin-Yokohama’s Raumen (yes that’s spelled correctly) Museum is home to a collection of rare ramen shops in which visitors can partake in as many bowls of regional ramen as their stomach can handle. The “museum” part comes in the form of the blast-from-the-past recreation of Tokyo in the year 1958. This was the year instant noodles were invented and this recreation is devoted to the stores that created the noodles back then. It was founded on March 6th, 1994 as the world's first food-themed amusement park and is a must-visit for any ramen or history-lover.
You’ll probably need a sit down after all that food and what better place to relax than Yamashita Park. This public park is in the Naka Ward of Yokohama was constructed after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Yamashita Park offers picturesque waterfront views of the Port of Yokohama. Yamashita Park is definitely not the largest park with its waterfront walkway only stretching about for about a hundred meters but its lush green open spaces are perfect for relaxing in after a morning of exploring.
Red Brick Warehouse
Formally the Customs Inspection House for Yokohama Bay's shipping activities in the early 1920s, these industrial red brick buildings have been converted into one of Yokohama's most popular family or date spots. You’ll get a feel for Yokohama’s old-new atmosphere at Akarenga Soko or the Red Brick Warehouse. The two brick-clad buildings were constructed in 1911 and 1913 and are located very near the spot where Commodore Perry’s Black Ships arrived in 1859. Don't let the rough industrial buildings put you off, when you step inside, you’ll soon discover a whole new world. Both buildings are a shopper's paradise, full of designer stores and stylish restaurants to keep you busy all day.
This beautiful garden was designed by a silk trade businessman Tomitaro Hara. Sankei means to pray, and the harmonic beauty you’ll see may just cause you to drop to your knees too. The beautiful garden opened in 1906 and boasts unique sights to see such as the oldest wooden pagoda in the Kanto area, dating all the way back to 1457. The vast classical Japanese garden covers over 175,000 square meters and is renowned for its seasonal beauty. Whatever time of year you decide to visit you'll be treated by the most beautiful scenes As you stroll through the park you will find all sorts of hidden gems like bridges, streams, small waterfalls, bamboo groves, and ponds.
Yokohama Doll Museum
In September 1978, a very large collection of dolls belonging to Hideko Oono was donated to the city of Yokohama. This lead to a museum being opened in March 1979 so that the people of Yokohama and the world could enjoy the collection. Today the Yokohama Doll Museum exhibits dolls that come from over a hundred countries including ethnic dolls and Japanese traditional dolls crafted by artists revered as Living National Treasure in Japan. Take time to uncover hidden gems as you cruise through the exhibition halls when the dolls seem to beckon you to learn about their history and stories of how they came to be. You can always enjoy yourself and find something new at the Yokohama Doll Museum.
Nippon Maru sailing ship
The Nippon Maru was originally built to train cadets. She was launched on 27 January 1930 and today she is permanently docked in Yokohama Harbor, in the Nippon Maru Memorial Park. This full-sized vessel is nearly as long as a soccer field and is full of rich maritime history that dates back 150-years. Today the Nippon Maru is a museum where you can see the rooms that cadets, cooks, and captain lived in. You can discover what it was like to be on board and then delve deeper into Yokohama’s seafaring story through interactive exhibits at the maritime museum next door. It’s a great thing to do with the whole family.
Minato Mirai Hall
Photo credit: www.flickr.com
An absolutely stunning concert hall, Minato Mirai Hall is a masterpiece of class, elegance, and precision. It is conveniently located in Queen’s Tower and connected to the train station. The 2,000 seat hall hosts philharmonic orchestras, talented violinists, and concert pianists. There is a large Fisk pipe organ in the Main Hall and views of the port can be enjoyed from the Main and Small Halls. Yokohama’s concert hall is on par with the finest in the world. Steeped in local tradition, and fuelled by the brilliant performances from foreign and Japanese artists. It's an absolute must-visit for any cultural lover.
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