Yokohama (横浜) is a vibrant city located 30 minutes south of Tokyo. Its rapid ascent over the past 150 years from a small fishing village to Japan’s second biggest city and key trading port has left Yokohama with a very cosmopolitan feel. It is also home to Japan’s biggest Chinatown, the second tallest tower in Japan (Yokohama Landmark Tower), and Sankeien Garden, an open-air museum exhibiting historic buildings from across the country.

Yokohama’s Minato-Mirai


Yokohama owes much to Commodore Perry and his “black ships” that arrived in Tokyo Bay in 1853 and forced by the U.S. to open its ports to trade. The Harris Treaty of 1858 stipulated that five ports in Japan would be free trade zones for foreign merchants. Yokohama was not one of them—instead Kanagawa Port had been chosen. However, the Tokugawa shogunate deemed Kanagawa Port to be too close to the Tokaido (the key route that connected Tokyo and Kyoto) for comfort, the concern being that any trouble at the port could result in this supply route being blocked. The decision was therefore taken to build settlements for foreigners in neighbouring Yokohama instead, and Japan did so without informing U.S. officials. By the time these officials discovered the irregularity it was too late to turn back the clock—Yokohama had already started on its path to becoming a major trading post. The port opened in 1859 and in 1872 Japan’s first railway line was completed, connecting the city with Shimbashi in Tokyo, and cementing Yokohama’s future.

Yokohama suffered heavily in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and then again in the air raids of World War II, where it was a primary target for the allied forces. Construction began on the Minato Mirai 21 commercial district in 1983 and today it shapes much of Yokohama’s waterfront, offering, among other things, shopping centers, hotels, museums, and an amusement park.

Yokohama, Kanagawa
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Getting there
From Tokyo or Shinagawa the JR Tokaido Line will take you directly to Yokohama Station. From Shinjuku or Shibuya take the JR Shonan Shinjuku Line (direct to Yokohama Station). All trains take about 30 minutes. While the area around Yokohama Station is great for shopping, the main sightseeing attractions are located around Minato-Mirai so you are best to change to the Minato Mirai Line from Yokohama Station and alight at Minato Mirai Station or Motomachi-Chukagai Station.
Key Attractions

Cup Noodles Museum

Museum opened by the Nissin Food Company whose founder, Momofuku Ando, invented the cup noodle.
10:00-18:00 (tickets sold until 17:00). Closed on Tuesdays
Adults ¥500, high school students and younger can enter for free

Kawasaki Factory Night Cruise

Night cruise from Yokohama to the nearby industrial factories in Kawasaki. While an eye-sore during the day, the metallic, fume-belching structures provide a great photo opportunity come night fall.

Osanbashi Pier & Passenger Terminal

Osanbashi Pier was built in the late 19th century to facilitate the loading and unloading of the ships that came into the Yokohama port. Today boarding gates and shops can be found beneath the modern wooden walkway, but many on the pier are just there for the view looking back onto Yokohama.

Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum

Ramen museum built as an indoor reconstruction of a typical Japanese street from 1958 where you can buy ramen from different regions of Japan.
11:00-19:00. Closed on Mondays unless it is a public holiday.

Yamashita Park

Yamashita Park was built on reclaimed land following the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and today is one of the most relaxing places in the city. From the park you can clearly see the Hikawa Maru ocean liner which was taken out of service in 1960 and now serves as a museum.

Yamate District

Yamate was the area where foreigners lived in the years after Yokohama port opened for trade. Harbour View Park located at the top of the hill provides one of the best views of Yokohama port and also has a rose garden and Western-style cemetery. You can walk up the hill from the Motomachi shopping district to the view point at the top which looks over the Minato Mirai area.

Yokohama Chinatown

Yokohama Chinatown was established by Chinese immigrants the year after the Harris Treaty ended Japan’s 250 years of isolationism and opened up the country to foreign trade. It is the largest Chinatown in Japan with over 600 restaurants and shops. Kuan Ti Miao Temple in the middle of the area has roots dating back to 1862.

Yokohama Landmark Tower

Standing almost 300m tall, the Landmark Tower provides the best night view of the harbor area. You can also make the boast of having ridden the fastest elevator in Japan (it takes just 40 seconds to arrive at the observation deck on the 69th floor). The Yokohama Plaza on the first five floors of the building contains restaurants and shops.

Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse

These two structures were formerly customs warehouses for Yokohama port. They underwent extensive renovation before re-opening in 2002. Today they contain small boutiques, craft shops, and a handful of restaurants and cafes. Open-air events are often held in the surrounding plaza.
Building 1: 10:00-19:00 | Building 2: 11:00-20:00

Nippon Maru Sail Training Ship

Sail training ship built in 1930 and now permanently docked in Yokohama harbor as a museum ship with educational programs.
10:00-17:00. Closed on Mondays unless it is a public holiday
¥600 for adults and ¥300 for those under 16 years of age.


Beautiful Japanese garden which preserves 17 important cultural buildings moved from other areas of the country.
Every day, 9:00-17:00
Adults ¥700, children ¥200
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