You´d be forgiven not to notice where Tokyo ends and Yokohama begins, Yokohama, the main city of Kanagawa prefecture is a part of the greater Tokyo area. The city proper has 3.7 million inhabitants making it the second largest in Japan. Sometimes overlooked because of its proximity to Tokyo, Yokohama has many attractions making it more than worth a visit. Especially interesting to foreigners are perhaps Chinatown and the harbor. It is also notable for its architecture, foreign looking buildings, a foreigners cemetery and more than enough places to eat. Below are the main attractions.
Getting there from Tokyo is relatively simple, board the JR Toyoko line, the Tokaido line or the Yokosuka line from one of Tokyo city´s main stations.
Things to do
Yokohama Chinatown or Yokohama Chukagai as it is known in Japanese has a history of about 150 years. Right after Japan was opened to the wider world, foreigners, including Chinese flocked to the country. Most of the Chinese settled in Yokohama, the main harbor for the Tokyo area at the time. Today only around 4000 people live there, but it is still the largest Chinatown in Asia and one of the larger ones in the world. The entrance to it is clearly market with typical colorful Chinese gates so you cant really miss it once you come out of the station. There are more gates inside as well. The place has about 250 Chinese themed shops and restaurants. Make sure you come there during launch time and try one of the “all you can eat” places for a modest fee. It also has souvenir shops and other things that might appeal to you,
After enjoying lunch head to the extremely photogenic harbor nearby. It is well worth seeing on its own, there you will also find Yamashita park, which stretches almost 1 Km along the waterfront. The garden is about 100 wide and is mostly green space. Nearby you should also find the foreigners cemetery.
Another must see attraction in Yokohama is the Minato Mirai (Future Harbor), also a harbor area but packed with sights, you will see here for example the Paradise Wheel, the Landmark Tower (which was the tallest building in the Tokyo area until Roppongi Skytree was built in 2012), more than one museum, a shopping mall and so on. Just walking around the area is interesting enough, you can also take boat trips over the bay.
If maritime history interests you then the Yokohama Port Museum should be your destination, also notice the and the Nippon Maru nearby; a retired sail ship built in 1930 which is now open to the public.
For those more into culture the Yokohama museum of Art might should be of interest, it has seven galleries and focuses on modern art, it also often hosts art exhibitions from all over the world. Admission is 500 Yen.
There is also an amusement park there called the Cosmo World which has a handful of roller coasters, carnival attractions and more. The park is illuminated during night time, making it even more attractive. There is no admission fee but each ride costs anything from 300-800 Yen.
Finally if you want to relax then the Manyo club is for you, a spa and relaxation center located in an enormous building, it offers hot spring baths, acupuncture, foot pressure therapy and much much more. General tickets are 2500 Yen.
The harbor itself is a regular place for festivals and all sort of events. Be sure to check out (http://www.yokohamajapan.com/) before you arrive to see what is happening at that given moment. To get to Minato Mirai you simply take the Minatomirai line to the Minato Mirai station.
For shopaholics the Queens Square on the Minato Mirai with its futuristic artwork and style might be for you. Another option would be the 5 floor shopping mall Landmark Plaza. What we especially recommend however is the Red Brick Warehouses (Aka Renga Soko in Japanese) located only one station away from Minato Mirai at Basamichi station. These warehouses, made of red brick as the name suggests were once warehouses that served the Yokohama area. Now a days they have been converted to a shopping mall. Many people like to come there for their unique style.
For those interested in Japanese history the Sankeien garden will not disappoint, the garden exhibits a number of historical houses from all over Japan. It was opened in 1904 and continues to be popular. To get there from Yokohama station take bus number 8 or 125 from the station’s east exit to Honmoku Sankeien-mae. Fees are 500 Yen.
If you enjoy Ramen then the Shinyokohama Ramen Museum is your place. The museum presents the history of Ramen in Japan, it shows how these noodles are made and of course has an excellent selection of Ramen at its restaurant. It also has a real size replica of some streets and houses in from 1950s Tokyo. You would be surprised to see how much the city has changed. The museum is only a few minutes walk from Shin Yokohama station, tickets are 300 yen.
Finally for beer lovers who want to know more about the golden stuff then Kirin, one of the leading beer makers in the country has a beer museum called the Kirin Beer Village in Yokohama. There, you can learn all about how the golden stuff is made and you can of course taste something as well. And best of all: it´s free. To get there take the Keikyu main line Namamugi station and walk south for about 10 minutes.
All in all, Yokohama is pretty packed with things to see, main attractions however are around Chinatown and the Minato Mirai, if you only have a day for the city make sure you go concentrate on those two.