Yokohama is Japan’s second largest city by population after Tokyo, and Yokohama is located just half an hour south from Tokyo situated on Tokyo Bay. Yokohama may not be as exciting and have the same electric vibe as its neighbour Tokyo, it definitely has more of a business and corporate feel to it. That being said there are things to go see, do and explore and some excellent places to eat and drink and of course you can sing your heart out after a few sakes in one of the many karaoke bars.
Yokohama is one of Japans prominent port cities and over the years has developed rapidly, and business is booming in the area. The city also contains one of the worlds largest Chinatowns with hundreds of restaurants and shops.
I wouldn’t really suggest going out of your way to visit Yokohama as there are much more interesting places to explore around Japan, however if your in Yokohama on business or a layover then here’s a mini guide on some cool stuff to see and do.
Sights & Activities
Cup Noodles Museum
Entrance Fee: 500 JPY
Cup Noodles Museum is a bit of a fun novelty museum, with lots of information, facts, displays, factories and exhibitions all about Cup Noodles. Cup Noodles are huge in Japan, and this museum just proves the popularity of this snack. There are plenty of noodles to try and fun interactive areas in the museum. If your looking for something a little on the quirky side then thus museum is a must!
No trip to Japan is complete without a trip to one of the many karaoke bars and booths, karaoke was invented in Japan and attracts people from all walks of life. I’m not normally a karaoke fan, however in Japan, it is so much fun, you definitely need a few drinks in you first though! When in Yokohama like many other Japanese cities there are karaoke bars dotted all around the city and you can easily stumble across one.
I would recommend heading to the downtown area called Sakuragi-Cho also called Noge where there are plenty of small bars to go bar hopping and then finish your night in a karaoke bar. Many of the bars have set packages such as all you can drink for two hours etc prices and packages vary depending on the bar. Many of the karaoke booths have a box of fancy dress items too, which you should definitely make full use of, dress up as silly as you possibly can and sing the night away dressed like an idiot!
Minato Mirai is a futuristic area set along Yokohamas waterfront and the name translates to Harbor of the Future, the area has many features such as a Ferris wheel which is lit up at night, a 1930s sailing ship docked up and also an amusement park called Cosmo World. The Landmark Tower is a real highlight and is a huge skyscraper filled with shops, restaurants, hotels, offices and an observation deck, and it was Japans tallest building until 2014. Have breakfast in the hotel in the Landmark Tower before heading into Tokyo as it provides excellent views over the waterfront. If you can try and visit Minato Mirai both during the day and also at night to see the waterfront lit up.
There is a Pokemon Centre in Yokohama and if like me you’re a bit of a geek at heart and were also a huge pokemon loon as a kid you need to go! It’s more of a shop with plenty of merchandise available and also a gaming room. The Pokemon Centre is a smaller version to the one in Tokyo, but a must visit and its located just by Yokohama Station.
Sankeien Garden & Tea House
Entrance Fee: 700 JPY / Teahouse 500 JPY
Sankeien Garden is a great outdoor space to visit if you want to escape the modern skyrises of Yokohama. Its a large spacious and traditional Japanese Garden which features a pond, small rivers, historic buildings, tea house, pagodas and nature trails. The garden was created back in 1904. You can spend hours exploring all the different buildings and areas of the garden.
After we spent a few hours wandering around we went to the tea house which is a must! Sankeien Garden Tea House is located in the lobby of the memorial hall of Sankeien Gardens where you can enjoy a cup of matcha tea and some traditional Japanese sweets. The lovely ladies that work there also can show you the technique for making matcha tea. This was a real highlight of visiting the gardens as the ladies were so friendly, only one of them spoke a bit of broken English but we had such a laugh with them and got to experience a taste of Japanese culture.
Food & Drink
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! the bar is one of my favourite bars in Yokohama and I have so many great memories of this bar or at least from what I can remember. Its one of the dinkiest bars ever, but has a friendly atmosphere and plenty of retro board games to play while your boozing, best of all – all drinks are 500 Yen! This 80s style bar is located in the Noge area which is the best area for nightlife and a decent bar crawl in the city, the bar is also open until the very early hours of the morning and has a great selection of cocktails.
Gyoza No Ohsho
Gyoza No Ohsho is a large chain and has restaurants all over the country, there are several dotted all over Yokohama. They make the most delicious gyozas which are their signature dish. They also have several Chinese dishes available too. The restaurants have a bit of a diner kind of feel to them, but if you want delicious, cheap and quick eats then head to any of the Gyoza Ohsho chains around Yokohama.
Seryumon is like no other restaurant I have been to before, the restaurant is set out like an underground sewer with industrial pipes and brickwork. Every half an hour or so water runs through the middle of the restaurant, it’s definitely unique! As well as having a quirky interior it also serves delicious food, try their chilli chicken and gyozas! I visited the restaurant before I was vegetarian, so I can’t remember if there were many options for veggies, however it does have a slightly more western take on Japanese food so they might be able to adapt the menu to remove meat from a dish.
Transport & Getting Around
Being Japans second largest city and being in close proximity to Tokyo means that Yokohamas transport links are very efficient, and there are plenty of options available to get about. The city has two major railway stations with lots of links to Tokyo and the surrounding areas. There are also subways and buses available, but if your planning on sticking to central Yokohama most places are easily accessible by foot. If you want to get between Tokyo and Yokohama take the Tokyu Toyoko Line and opt for the express or limited express trains as they cost the same as other trains but are much faster.
48 Hour Itinerary
- After arriving grab some lunch at Gyoza No Ohsho, then head to the Cup Noodle Factory. In the evening grab some dinner at Seryumon restaurant and have drinks in Noge and check out one of the many karaoke bars.
- Have a big breakfast at the Yokohama Royal Park hotel in the Landmark tower for incredible views over Minato Mirai. Then head to the Pokemon Centre, after that then onto Sankeien Garden to explore and check out the Tea House.
If your vegetarian or just prefer a plant based diet, then the biggest bit of advice would be to do some research before leaving your accommodation and decide where to eat beforehand.
Try downloading the Happy Cow app or googling vegetarian friendly restaurants as trying to seek out places that serve veggie food isn’t always obvious in Japan, so research before you go. If you can also take a small translation card or find it in a guide book and take the translation for vegetarian food, as there is a language barrier. So if you have this you can show waiters and waitresses so they can assist you.
I would really recommend when exploring the city to download the maps.me app this is a great app to have in any country but especially countries where there can be quite a big language barrier. I swear by having this map in an unfamiliar city. It’s like google maps but works offline, so is great if you don’t have WiFi.
I would recommend planning your day before heading out, and seeing what sights and attractions are near to one another. I normally search places on my maps.me app and save and pin it so I can see what is close by, and what is the best route to take so I’m not wasting time going out of the way and then having to go back on myself.
- Language: Japanese
- Currency: Japanese Yen
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