While you may never get enough of the vibrant sights and sounds of Tokyo – the street food and vintage shopping are indeed amazing – it can get a tad overwhelming at times. So if you’ve explored enough of the capital for a while, take a day out of town to the port city of Yokohama for a slower pace of life. As Japan’s second largest city, you will likely not be able uncover the place in full in a day trip, so we compiled a handy list of places to visit to best experience Yokohama – within walking distance of Minatomirai station and each other to minimise travel time.
Cup Noodles Museum
Japanese instant noodles have taken the world by storm, with cup noodles in particular being a cheap and easy meal for the busy crowd. Lovers of the convenience store favourite will thus be pleased to discover the Cup Noodles Museum, an interactive gallery, hands-on cup noodle factory and Nissin superstore rolled into one. Detailing the history of instant noodles through more than just written explanations, visitors can spend hours in the Instant Noodle History Cube alone, where 3000 packages and cups of noodles are displayed. A handy translation headset in other languages is available at the front desk if you don’t understand Japanese.
Tip: First thing in Yokohama, pop by the museum to check out the times if you want to try your hand at making your own cup noodles – the number of people allowed per session is limited.
Cup Noodles Museum is located at 2-3-4 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama 231-0001, p. +81 045-345-0918. Open daily 10am – 6pm (Last admission is at 5pm).
A one-minute walk from the Cup Noodle Museum, relive your childhood at amusement park Cosmo World. The park flanks the bay area at the heart of the city, and is hard to miss – look up, and you’ll see the Cosmo Clock 21 ferris wheel, which features prominently in Yokohama’s skyline. A ride up the wheel gives you a bird’s eye view of the port, with explanations available for the historical sites in Yokohama. If the Ferris wheel isn’t your cup of tea, a myriad of other rides is available in varying levels.
Tip: Visitors pay for rides individually instead of a park cover charge, so pick and choose the ones your favourites. Each ticket costs from 300 to 700 yen.
Cosmo World is located at 2-8-1, Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama 231-0001, p. +81 045 641 6591. Open Mon-Wed, Fri 11am – 9pm; Sat-Sun 11am – 10pm. Closed on Thursday and irregular holidays.
Yokohama Red Brick Warehouses
The dark red facade of this historical site can be spotted once you leave Minatomirai station. Yokohama Red Brick Warehouses dates back to the Meiji era (1868 – 1912), and served as an important commerce point for Japanese trade. Both buildings have since been transformed into a quaint shopping area and multi-purpose space, with over 40 stores located within.
Tip: The event plaza transforms into a skating rink every winter, with the rink specially decorated to suit a theme each year. Tickets are priced from 300 to 500 yen depending on age and skate rentals at 500 yen, so bring some cash (and warm socks).
Yokohama Red Brick Warehouses are located at 1-1-2 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama 231-0001. Warehouse one opens daily 10am – 7pm; warehouse two opens daily 11am – 8pm. Check operating hours for individual stores here under Floor Guide.
Marine & Walk Yokohama
Between the Cup Noodle Museum and the warehouses is a small stretch of (also red-bricked) shophouses facing the sea, which can easily be missed. Shopping street Marine & Walk is home to a number of trendy boutiques and eateries of various cuisines, where you can soak in the ocean breeze before popping into any store that catches your eye. Each boutique has its own unique offering from different countries – bags from Japanese brand MSPC product, denim jeans from Dutch brand Denham – making this a haven for fashion-forward shoppers.
Tip: Marine & Walk regularly hosts seasonal events, such as open-air cinema nights, food festivals and outdoor mass yoga sessions. Check out their Facebook or Instagram for updates should any fall within the day you’re in town.
Marine & Walk Yokohama is located 1-3-1 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama 231-0001, p. +81 045 680 6101. Opens daily 11am – 8pm for shops; 11am – 11pm for restaurants. Check operating hours for individual stores here under Shops.
The very first quayside of Yokohama, Zou-no-hana Terrace is a transformed terrace park a few minutes beyond the Red Brick Warehouse. As a sprawling, wide space coupled with a sea breeze (and view) from the bay, a quick lunch break can be enjoyed in the open air instead of within yet another restaurant. A long seaside walk from the terrace can bring one to Osanbashi pier, the passenger terminal for cruises known for its open-air, picnic-friendly spots.
Tip: Enjoy a quirky elephant-shaped ice cream cone at the terrace’s cafe, which also features a number of elephant sculptures. The reason for the shape? “Zou no hana” translates to “elephant’s nose”, which is what the dykes in the area resembled back in 1859.
Zou-no-hana Terrace is located at 1, Kaigan-dori, Naka-ku, Yokohama, 231-0002, p. +81 045 661 0602. Opens daily 10am – 6pm. Closed on New Year’s day.
Cover image: Yokohama skyline, photo courtesy of aotaro