Three Popular Ports in Japan

by Luke - TripleLights travel specialist

If you interested in learning about the history of trade and commerce in Japan, the opening of Japanese borders to the rest of the world, then read on for three of the largest ports and piers in Japan. Take in the scenery, explore the inside of a Japanese trading vessel, or enjoy the surrounding entertainment and attractions:

Osanbashi Pier

Three Popular Ports in Japan

Since its opening in 1859, it has developed into an international port linking Japan with other countries. Osanbashi was born in the 19th century which signified the end of the Edo Era and the beginnings of modernization and internationalization but was damaged during the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. Despite its reconstruction in 1925, the times took Japan into war, and the pier underwent a lot of turbulent periods such as the Second World War after which it was taken over by the Allies. Afterwards, with Japan entering a period of high economic growth from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, there was a plan for the international terminal to achieve high functionality, and so it was developed once again to regain prominence.  

In 1975, the Queen Elizabeth II entered the pier for the first time, and so it was reaffirmed as a port of call for luxury liners. Moreover, in 1989, undergoing major renovations, the current Osanbashi international passenger terminal was completed. The pier naturally handles both domestic and overseas cruise liners, and is a relaxation area for the local citizens with a restaurant and café. It has become well-liked as an international passenger terminal that isn’t just for passengers but also for city residents with events such as weekend concerts.

Osanbashi Pier is a visual highlight with the concept of a garden port that was designed by England-based architects Alejandro Zaera-Polo and Farshid Moussavi. The 2nd floor has facilities such as the lobby with an information booth, ticket office, waiting lounge, Customs & Immigration and quarantine inspection. As well, there is a hall which can be utilized for many purposes along with commercial facilities and a restaurant. On the 3rd floor, there is wood decking all over with grass. Filled with an open and wide feeling, the novel design which evokes that feeling of nature hints at a park that is on the water. During holidays, the plaza is filled with local residents relaxing while viewing ships coming into port, and there are especially many sightseers there to catch the sight of large passenger ships going in and out.  

The terminal can be accessed for free by everybody and the rooftop plaza is open 24 hours a day, so it’s great to spend time there to see the nightscape. From the plaza, you can have a good view of the Minato Mirai 21 area and Yokohama Bay Bridge. It’s also great to spend time at the café or restaurant while seeing the glittering scenery. At Osanbashi, which has been nicknamed “Kujira-no-Senaka” (The Whale’s Back) by the locals, spend a day there leisurely viewing the ships and enjoying the scenery of the Yokohama waterfront. 

Admission: Free

Guidebook from Planetyze about Osanbashi Pier
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Osanbashi Pier
Tours of Osanbashi Pier

Dejima 

Three Popular Ports in Japan(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

From 1550, Nagasaki was developed as a trading port with Portugal. However, the increase in followers of Christianity within the country and their unity was becoming formidable to the shogunate, and in 1634, the fan-shaped artificial island of Dejima was built over 2 years to amass and control the Portuguese in one area so as to prevent the spread of Christianity. Afterwards, the Portuguese were expelled from the country and for 200 years, trade and diplomacy between Japan and the outside world continued to be restricted as a policy of Sakoku. During that time, only Holland showed its loyalty to the shogunate, and gaining its trust, a Danish trading firm was moved to Dejima. During Sakoku, Holland became the only Western trading partner and the island played an instrumental role in the modernization of Japan as an exchange base for finance, culture and art.

Since 1900, the role of Dejima ended and its original form has been lost since the area around the island was filled up, but currently, there is construction to restore its historical legacy. At this time on Dejima, there are 49 buildings representing residences, dining rooms, warehouses, guard houses, etc. and 10 of them have been restored for visits. You can follow the changes in Dejima while viewing the remains over 4 eras such as the original Edo Era stonewall breakwaters where the Portuguese had lived, the closing days of the Tokugawa Shogunate when Ryoma Sakamoto and his followers were rebelling, Dejima’s stone warehouses after the opening of the country and the valuable wooden Western-style buildings during the Meiji Era. Avenues are recreated as if you went back in time, restored buildings have become museums, the history and lifestyle of Dejima are on display, and life at that time has been recreated. Access from within Nagasaki is excellent and there is a dining facility known as Nagasaki Dejima Wharf nearby with a fine view of the seaside where there are many places where you can try fresh seafood in Japanese, Chinese, and Italian establishments and cafes.

Admission: Adult: ¥ 510 / Child: ¥ 100

Guidebook from Planetyze about Dejima 
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Dejima 
Tours of Dejima 

The Port of Nagoya

Three Popular Ports in Japan(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

The Port of Nagoya is the largest international trading port in the country where many cargo ships can be seen daily. It’s recommended to take a leisurely walk there while feeling the sea breeze. Also at the port, up to 40 luxury liners and domestic/overseas cruise ships arrive during the year, so it’s a treat to be able to see them up close. The Garden Pier is located close by at the Port of Nagoya’s Old No. 2 Chisan Pier where you can enjoy facilities such as a museum and an aquarium.  

The 63-meter-high Port Building is a white building which stands out as a symbol of the Garden Pier. On the 7th floor of the building which is right by the sea, there is an observation deck where you can get a 360-degree view of the port. Also on the 3rd floor, there is the Nagoya Marine Museum where you can tour the history of the Port of Nagoya and the exhibits of ships. Leaving the Port Building, you will soon come across a large orange ship. This is the Antarctic exploration vessel Fuji which was in operation for 18 years starting from 1965. After completing its tour of duty in 1985, it was permanently moored at the port and now serves as a ship museum. On the opposite side of the Port Building, there is the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium. At one of the world’s largest main pools, you can enjoy a dolphin show. Divided into North and South Wings, the North Wing has the theme of the birth and evolution of life while in the South Wing, there are exhibits under the theme of marine life in the oceans from the port to the South Pole. Also, the North Wing features killer whales, dolphins and earless seals, and in the South Wing, you can observe the varieties of marine life such as sea turtles and penguins along with the fish inhabiting the Sea of Japan. If you come to the Port of Nagoya, please visit the museum and aquarium to learn and appreciate about the port and the ocean.

Admission: Various

Guidebook from Planetyze about The Port of Nagoya
Reviews from TripAdvisor about The Port of Nagoya
Tours of The Port of Nagoya

Did you like my article?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Japan, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Japan


02 Jun 2015

Plan your trip to Japan

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews

“ Fantastic tour! ”

Excellent
10 hours ago Traveler: Kristin -   Tour Guide: KAHOKO

Kahoko did a fantastic job and was very friendly. Could not imagine touring Tokyo without her help! We got to see all the sites we set out to see in one day and she was very knowledgeable in giving us information about each attraction and the area. Had a wonderful Tokyo! Thank you Kahoko!
read more

“ The market at Asakusa. ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Robert -   Tour Guide: MAYUMI

We love Mayumi. My wife and I enjoyed being with our new Japanese friend. Very friendly and knowledgeable. We would certainly recommend her to our friends that come to Tokyo. Thanks for giving us a wonderful time in the big city of yours. Robert and Trudie Sharpe. Melbourne Australia.
read more

“ Great time in Nagoya ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Ahmed -   Tour Guide: Moka

Moka has made our day in Nagoya a great one. She is somebody who you prepares well for the tour,who you trust,enjoy with and enhance your knowledge about the places. I really recommend her for all visitors to Nagoya. She is well-organized and with great skills of time management and leadership. I will definitely book her again if I come to Nagoya.
read more

“ An amazing day in Tokyo ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Terry -   Tour Guide: Dai

Dai was a very helpful, friendly and professional guide. He happily accommodated some adjustments to the planned itinerary and gave a great deal of useful background info on the places we visited. His English is superb. He has visited over 150 countries. We will be recommending him to any friends who plan to visit Tokyo.
read more

“ Very Knowledgeable & Informative ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Rachael -   Tour Guide: Junichi

Be prepared to walk the day admiring the many sites of Tokyo. Junichi was very accomodating & provided some great insight history of the area. He provided a flexible itinerary that suited our family & it was great to follow his lead using the train system (which is a maze of levels & corridors 1st time in Tokyo). His wealth of experience & knowledge was readily shared & his sense of humour made th...
read more

“ The only way to see Tokyo is with Akira a truly Wondefulrffulguide ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Elizabeth -   Tour Guide: AKIRA

Akira made our day inTokyo One we will never forget He is very Knowledgeable and adapted to our needs We really enjoyed the whole day We could not have seen what we did without him as our guide We thank him 100% give a big thanks Never go to Tokyo without his help the first day for a wonderful Orientation
read more

“ Osaka & Kyoto ”

Excellent
2 days ago Traveler: Simon -   Tour Guide: Lisa

Fantastic itineraries organized to suit our travel preferences, speaking English so well our trip was effortless, Lisa is a lovely guide with a great depth of knowledge on the cities and their history, architecture, geography and attractions. Lisa was flexible in our tours and readily addressed our needs and made our experience nothing but enjoyable. Cannot recommend her enough, Lisa is the best!
read more

“ Mari is the best ”

Excellent
2 days ago Traveler: Alan -   Tour Guide: Maru

One word to describe Maru... Awesome. We have done many tours in our lives, Maru was by far the best. Taught us how to navigate subway/train like a pro, showed us around with fun details, took us to a delicious sushi restaurant. She makes you feel like you are family. Maru is interesting, funny, caring and plain simple awesome. Thank you for a memorable day Maru, we miss you.
read more

“ Best of Kamakura ”

Excellent
2 days ago Traveler: Pushpa -   Tour Guide: Yuki

My colleagues and I, all Kumon instructors had a wonderful day in Kamakura with Yuki. Yuki is warm, intelligent and knowledgeable guide also very flexible and accommodating. He kindly greeted us at our hotel in Yokohama despite a little snow and used public transport to and in Kamakura to save time. We visited the the great Buddha of Kamakura known for his Handsome Face, Hasedera temple from w...
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Japan

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started