InterContinental Yokohama Grand
The glittering sea of Yokohama Bay spreads out in front of our hotel and is an idyllic place for a morning walk across the sand. Follow the seafront to the park, lie on the grass and look out at the ocean with the Yokohama Bay Bridge arcing over the water. A really beautiful sight. Then, and particularly when it's warm, take a walk in the traditional Japanese Sankei Garden. This is a wonderfully tranquil place, ideal for having some Japanese tea while looking out over the garden and its clusters of seasonal flowers. You can also get breakfast at Rinka-en, an historical restaurant in the gardens with traditional Japanese noodles. My favourite time to visit Sankei Garden is Spring when you can see the cherry blossoms coming to life.
Chinatown is a fantastic place to visit in the afternoon, and there are numerous Chinese restaurants and shops there. With such variety, you really are spoilt for choice. Near Chinatown, you can find Motomachi shopping street. When Japan historically opened the country to foreign trade and diplomatic relations, many foreigners came to Motomachi. Now there are many top brand shops and some old Western-style restaurants and caffes. It is very popular for all kinds of people, young and old. Walk through Motomachi and stop at a caffe to watch Yokohama on the move.
The view of Yokohama at night is really breathtaking, with a beautiful sea of lights amid the darkness. Go and see Japan's tallest building, Minato Mirai 21 from Yamashita Park: this is really the symbol of Yokohama, and a sight that must be seen. Then you can have an exquisite French dinner on the Marine Rouge dinner cruise. Take the boat from Yamashita Park and eat while you see the city from the sea.
Local summer festival
The Bon festival is performed in each year in August. It is a traditional, 500-year-old dance. Everyone from children to elders wears kimonos and anyone can participate.
New Year's visit to a shrine
Japanese people go to shrine on January 1st to pray for peace in the new year. Anyone can come and pray.
Sumo wrestling is Japan's national sport. It is therefore a sport tied up with honour, ceremony and tradition, and should be experienced.
Go to a temple to meditate and reflect on life and the world.
Shrine and Temple
Most Japanese choose a temple or a shrine to suit a particular occasion. For New Year’s, the blessing of a baby, or a wedding, people gradually go to a shrine. For a funeral, most people go to a temple. If you follow traditional Japanese customs, then you end up going to a shrine for some occasions and a temple for others.