Just a little over a century ago, Yokohama was a small fishing village in Japan. Lying south of Tokyo and alongside the shoreline of Japan’s main island, it became one of the first ports in the country that trades to foreign lands. Today, Yokohama is one of the rapidly growing cities and is the second largest in Japan in terms of population.
Yokohama is my home for the next several months. And as newcomer in town, one of my goals is to be more than acquainted with this glorious city. Though Yokohama is a known center for business and commerce, tourism is also what’s keeping this modern city running.
So after visiting some heritage sites in Kamakura, this week we take our mamacharis back on the urban side to explore downtown Yokohama.
Living on the outskirts of the city, it took us more than an hour getting to Yohama’s central district. But with Japan being one of the bike-friendliest countries in the world, getting around on two wheels is very much convenient.
Distance : 43 kms
Max Elevation : 81 m
Elevation Gain : 378 m
Moving Time : 05:40:58
Yokohama Sights and Scenes
There are a lot of things to experience about Yokohama, from dining to modern entertainment, from nature to culture. And a day of touring is only enough to visit a small portion of its known destinations. But since we have the privilege to be in no hurry, a few sights at a time is definitely better for us. Here are some of the places we visited.
Yamashita Park is a public bayside park showcasing the view of the Tokyo Bay. It is a 750-meter stretch of open green space. Visitors usually go here for relaxation, jogging or sightseeing.
Docked right in front of the Yamashita Park is the Hikawa Maru, an early twentieth century Japanese liner. On its thirty years of service, it has been transporting passengers between Yokohama and either Seattle or Vancouver. Today, as a retired ship, it is permanently docked and serves as a museum.
Red Brick Warehouse
Just a few hundred meters north of Yamashita Park is another popular tourist spot in Yokohama. The Red Brick Warehouse is a set of two historical buildings which today houses a number of shops, cafes and bars. It is a popular choice for a good family meal together or even a romantic date for lovers.
The vintage interiors of these old building gives a truly unique dining and shopping experience.
The open space outside of the Red Brick Warehouse is a regular venue of year-round events like concerts, festivities and even ice skating rinks during winter.
Minato Mirai 21 (or simply Minato Mirai) is the urban seaside area of Yokohama. The name was derived from japanese words minato (harbor) and mirai (future) which literally mean the “harbor of the future. Minato Mirai is a major hub for business, shopping, and modern tourism in Greater Tokyo Area.
One of its popular landmarks is the majestic sculpture by Hiyasuki Mogami at Queen’s Square. Resembling a rollercoaster, this artwork is not just an eye-candy but also serves as a wind breaker to the the wind tunnel that forms between the high-rise buildings around it.
On weekends, there’s a good chance you’ll spot some artists and street performers performing within the vicinity.
Just a few hundred meters away is perhaps the landmark that’s been in most of the photographs of downtown Yokohama in recent years. The Cosmo Clock 21 is a giant ferris wheel within the Cosmo World Amusement Park. Standing originally at 107.5 meters, it was once the tallest in the world when it was opened in 1989.
At night, the Cosmo Clock lights up, giving brilliant colors into the Yokohama nightscape.
Craving for some Chinese food? There’s nowhere else you can find a more authentic Cantonese dining around Kanagawa than in Yokohama’s Chinatown. Just a few-minute-walk from Yamashita Park, this district in Yokohama is the largest Chinatown in Asia with over two hundred Chinese-themed shops and restaurants to choose from.
A trademark of the Chinese culture, the Yokohama Chinatown is dazzling with vibrant colors on every street. And maybe the most notable of all is the Kwan Tai Temple. This sacred building is dedicated to Kwan Tai (Guan Yu), a god of good fortune and known for its extravagant ornamentation and colour.
Yokohama is a perfect example of a well balanced city. Although it is a known major business district in Japan, it’s amazing to see that there are places and spaces reserved for people to go out to, to relax and to escape from their nine to five jobs.
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