Taking the short trip from Tokyo to Yokohama? Here are the top five things to do from TripAdvisor. They include Landmark Tower, the 6th tallest structure in Japan, a stunning garden, a great park, and a huge shopping mall. So enjoy your time in Yokohama with these five attractions:
1. Minato Mirai 21
(image by upload.wikimedia.org)
Yokohama Landmark Tower is a high-rise building which is 296m in height and has 70 floors. It is a multi-purpose complex consisting of offices, a hotel and a shopping mall. Following Tokyo Sky Tree and Tokyo Tower, it is the 6th-tallest structure in Japan.
The Sky Garden observation deck is located on the 69th floor where you can get a panoramic view of Yokohama Harbor and the streets of the city. The night view from here is remarkable. Landmark Tower was created on the remnants of a former shipyard, and part of the dockyard has been restored and preserved as the Dockyard Garden. Currently, it is also being used as an event plaza. Since 2013, 180-degree interactive events utilizing project mapping have been held.
Minato Mirai brings a modern atmosphere with the continuing development of high-rise buildings, shopping malls and office area, but there is the fascinating inclusion of the historical buildings of the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouses. The Yokohama Red Brick Warehouses are buildings that were created in the Meiji Era as bonded warehouses. Currently, the 1st floor is an exhibition space while the 2nd floor is used as a commercial facility, and the warehouses are tourist spots representing Minato Mirai. Along with World Porters and Landmark Tower, there are plenty of shopping facilities to enjoy, especially with the opening of Mark IS Minato Mirai in 2014 which is the largest shopping mall in the area. Fashion brand Uniqlo, which also enjoys popularity overseas, has the largest store in the prefecture. Also, Orbi Yokohama which is popular with kids and families is an entertainment-style museum. Labeled as the world’s first multi-sensory natural history museum, it has gained popularity through its videos and exhibitions co-produced by major video game developer SEGA and BBC EARTH of the UK. In addition, there are facilities for both children and adults such as the adjacent Cup Noodles Museum and the Anpanman Museum where you can have a full day of fun with the whole family, a special feature of Minato Mirai.
- Guidebook from Planetyze about Minato Mirai 21
- Reviews from TripAdvisor about Minato Mirai 21
- Tours of Minato Mirai 21
2. Sankei-en Garden
(image by upload.wikimedia.org)
In 1906 Yokohama, Sankei Hara, who was successful in the raw silk trade, established the ideal garden on a huge site of 17.5 hectares. Old buildings from cities such as Kyoto and Kamakura were transported, and a total of 17 structures were carefully placed in consideration of the land’s natural topography. Of these buildings, 10 have been recognized as National Important Cultural Properties while 3 have been recognized as Yokohama Tangible Cultural Properties. The natural scenery and the formative art born from the Japanese architecture placed there evoke a beauty that can only be found at this garden.
Sankei-en suffered wartime damage following the death of the founder, and the Hara family donated the garden to the city of Yokohama afterwards. It is now maintained by the Sankei Hosho Foundation, and following its postwar recovery, it was recognized as a National Historic Site in 2006 and is continuing to attract visitors with its unchanging beauty. Sankei-en is not just limited to the picturesque scenery of its landscape gardening or the beauty of its buildings as National Important Cultural Properties, but it also has the highlight of its changing scenery through the flowers of the four seasons. There are the cherry blossoms of spring, the irises of summer, the foliage of autumn, the quintessentially Japanese scene of winter, and camellia. How about spending a day getting a sense of the original beauty of Japan at this Japanese garden which has its own distinctive expressions depending on the season. In particular, the evening illumination of the springtime cherry blossoms lends a mystical air which explains its annual popularity.
Admission: Adult: ¥ 500 / Child: ¥ 200
- Guidebook from Planetyze about Sankei-en Garden
- Reviews from TripAdvisor about Sankei-en Garden
- Tours of Sankei-en Garden
3. Osanbashi Pier
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.
- Guidebook from Planetyze about Osanbashi Pier
- Reviews from TripAdvisor about Osanbashi Pier
- Tours of Osanbashi Pier
4. Yamashita Park
(image by flickr.com)
Yamashita Park was built as a recovery project from the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. 70,000㎡ of waterfront rubble were buried to create the park, a fact that is not well known. The view of the moored Hikawa Maru and Yokohama Bay Bridge is popular, day or night. The park is also famous for its roses of which approximately 400 plants of 60 types are planted in flower beds.
Osanbashi Pier is the home of the Yokohama International Passenger Terminal where large-scale cruise liners dock. The rooftop plaza has wood decking and grass while the 2nd floor has restaurants, a hall and the departure lobby. The terminal is open 24 hours a day so it’s also popular as a spot to view the nightscape.
The NYK Hikawa Maru is a large passenger vessel docked in front of Yamashita Park. Until 1960, it was in actual operation in the northern Pacific and was called The Queen of the Pacific due to its beautiful appearance. With admission, it is possible to tour the interior where you will be taken by its Art Deco style and feel the atmosphere of an elegant cruise. Yokohama Marine Tower rises 106m in height and was built in 1961 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Yokohama Bay. It was renovated in 2009 and has an observation deck, a restaurant, a souvenir shop, a café and other establishments. The Hotel New Grand is a classic hotel that is more than 80 years old. The 2nd floor lobby of the main building that retains its classic atmosphere can be visited by tourists. Within this atmosphere, you can view Yamashita Park through the windows. It’s also an ideal venue to take a break in its cafés and restaurants.
- Guidebook from Planetyze about Yamashita Park
- Reviews from TripAdvisor about Yamashita Park
- Tours of Yamashita Park
5. Yokohama Landmark Tower
(image by upload.wikimedia.org)
Minato Mirai 21 began as a shipyard built over reclaimed land. Later in the 1980s, the area underwent a metamorphosis as the waterfront city was redeveloped. Minato Mirai 21 became a gigantic tourist district bringing together skyscrapers, a shopping mall, an event hall, an amusement park and other facilities, and with the open-air atmosphere of the old port and the modern vista of an ocean city, MM21 has been selected as having one of the top 100 city views.
Yokohama Landmark Tower, true to its name, is the landmark for MM21 as the core of the district. With 70 floors, the 296.33m tower mainly has offices, a hotel, and a shopping mall with its top floor containing an observation deck and a multi-purpose hall. In addition, there is the Dockyard Garden which is used as an event facility and was once a shipyard. The dockyard has been designated as a National Important Cultural Property, and even now highlights its important heritage concerning the prosperity of Yokohama’s old shipbuilding industry.
Landmark Tower has a variety of ways to be enjoyed so that you will never get tired during a day there. You can enjoy shopping at the Landmark Plaza which has 170 stores in an open-air 5-floor facility that is 200 meters in total length. For dining, head for Tower Dining on the 5th floor. There are plenty of Japanese and Western-style restaurants and cafes. In addition, the underground floors of B1 and B2 that make up Mirai Yokocho at Dockyard Garden are also not to be missed. At this zone which was built with an image of a bar avenue for a world-class port, there are restaurants and bars which you can enjoy for the exoticism of a port town.
And speaking of Landmark Tower which boasts its status as the second-tallest building in Japan, there is the scenery of Yokohama seen from that height. Go up to the Sky Garden on the 69th floor. There is a direct high-speed elevator to reach the Sky Garden observation deck, and with a top speed of 45 km/h, it takes a mere 40 seconds to get up there (operates at a safe speed depending on the weather and wind speed). In the transformed city that spreads out from under you, you can view the giant Ferris wheel of the Cosmo World amusement park, the ocean, and on sunny days, even Mt. Fuji. At night, the beautifully illuminated night view is also romantic. You can enjoy a waterfront scene that is different from the nightscape of Tokyo.
Let’s return to ground level. At the Important Cultural Property of Dockyard Garden, a project mapping performance is held every day at sunset. In the docks of the former shipyard, amazing images 10m in height and 29m in width and music are featured as 180°sensory project mapping. The movies change depending on the schedule and have received favorable reviews for showing features with themes such as “Star Wars”. Tickets are required for viewings, so please get them in advance at the entrance to the Sky Garden on the 3rd floor.