Visiting Yokohama – A City Guide
Although Yokohama is part of Greater Tokyo, it’s also a vibrant port city in its own right. It may be closely connected to the vast Japanese capital, but it has a rich history, buzzing nightlife, exciting shops and restaurants and futuristic waterfront to rival its bigger neighbour.
Yokohama: city layout and top attractions
Yokohama sprawls inland from its port area, south of Tokyo on the Pacific Ocean. Minato Mirai 21 forms the central district for business, retail, dining and entertainment, and incorporates many hotels. Built on reclaimed land at the waterfront, its highrise landmarks include Yokohama Landmark Tower and the iconic ferris wheel Cosmo Clock 21, both offering sweeping views across Tokyo Bay.
Although it’s Japan’s second largest city, with an extensive public transport system, Yokohama is still quite walkable. You can easily stroll from Minato Mirai to the waterfront promenades of Osanbashi Pier and Yamashita Park. The nearby Yamate district, once a hub for the city’s foreign population, is full of pleasant European-style green spaces, with a stylish commercial thoroughfare along Motomachi. Just beyond lies Chinatown, the largest neighbourhood of its kind in Japan, attracting crowds of diners and shoppers.
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Eating Out in Yokohama
Tokyo’s reputation for world-class dining extends to Yokohama, where you can eat fine French cuisine and formal, multi-course Japanese kaiseki meals in Michelin-starred restaurants. You’ll also find low-cost, high-quality favourites in tempura and sushi bars lining the city’s abundant malls and food courts.
Minato Mirai 21 draws hungry locals and visitors to the waterfront. Options range from yakitori chicken skewers in small grill restaurants to upscale establishments with spectacular views on the 68th floor of Yokohama Landmark Tower. A little further inland, Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum has a whole floor recreating a street in 1950s Tokyo, with working ramen noodle shops. Nearby Chinatown is filled with hawkers selling Cantonese-style street food and family restaurants specialising in spicy Szechuan cooking.
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Shopping in Yokohama
A historic port city, Yokohama has been a major hub of commerce for centuries. The modern city has vast waterfront malls and bayside outlet parks, highrise department stores and fashionable shopping streets. Chinatown is a retail destination in itself.
Much of Minato Mirai 21 is given over to shopping, with high-end malls like Queens East and Collet Mare. Waterfront Yokohama Landmark Tower and Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse also have whole floors of clothing and electronics stores. Motomachi Shopping Street, in the Yamate district, is home to international boutiques and local businesses stocking Hama Tra – official products of Yokohama Traditional Fashion. Chinatown shops are popular for gifts and souvenirs, from herbal teas to cheongsam dresses.
Culture & Nightlife in Yokohama
Yokohama culture draws on its rich maritime history. Many attractions are clustered around the port, from old sailing vessels to waterfront museums. It’s an arty city too, with Japanese and international masterpieces at world-class galleries. After dark, try the atmospheric drinking dens of Chinatown or dress up for a night out in one of Minato Mirai’s highrise bayside cocktail bars.
By day, the waterfront attracts crowds of visitors to the famous Yokohama Museum of Art and Yokohama Port Museum aboard the decommissioned 1930s ship, Nippon Maru. By night, well-dressed customers fill stylish bars and clubs overlooking the port. Yamashitacho, behind Yamashita Park, is packed with popular spots for live jazz and signature cocktails, including themed bars resembling old American speakeasies and frontier saloons. Yamate has western-style pubs and traditional Japanese izakaya taverns.
Alternative museums in Yokohama
Leisure in Yokohama
Yokohama is best known for its iconic waterfront skyline. Minato Mirai 21 offers both historic maritime attractions and futuristic entertainments, from floating ship museums to the gaming and amusement floor of the World Porters complex. This is also a city of parks, gardens and green spaces amid the neon sprawl.
The bayside is ringed with popular spots for strolls and picnics. Aka-Renga Park and Yamashita Park are especially comfortable places to sit on the grass at sunset. Yamate’s Harbour View Park looks out over Yokohama Bay Bridge. Nearby Sankeien is a large Japanese garden with flowers, cherry blossoms and traditional teahouses.
Family-friendly attractions in Yokohama