Yokohama City An Exploration Guide

Yokohama is the second most highly populated city in Japan, transforming from a small fishing town to a large metropolis. It became larger as Japan opened up to trade, being home to one of the first ports in the country. Before Yokohama was open to trade, Japan was in the Edo era, where they were isolated from interacting with other countries. 

Yokohama is located south of Tokyo on Honshu, the main island of the Kanto region. It’s the epicenter of the Greater Tokyo Area’s economic and cultural landscape, with various attractions for people to enjoy. The translation of Yokohama is “horizontal beach,” which is a fitting title because of the bodies of water that surround it. 

Yokohama, Japan city skyline Minato Mirai at sunset

Yokohama City Via Google Maps

The History Of Yokohama City

There were many firsts for Japan achieved in the city of Yokohama. It was in this city where Japan opened its first English newspaper, European-inspired venues, railway station, and beer manufacturer

Before this development, however, there was a terrible earthquake that temporarily devastated the town, but it was eventually restored and revitalized.

Yokohama City Waterfront

That is until the Second World War when air bombing burned a large portion of the city. However, Yokohama persevered and once again became a thriving place to live and work.

Yokohama has also been a leader in fashion and art, being able to stay on top of the trends throughout history and showcasing this journey through museums and style.

While following the trends of the world, it has also managed to honor and hold on to traditional Japanese culture

Yokohama city in Japan at night

Above and beyond Yokohama being a hub for technology, infrastructure, and development, there are several attractions that make it one of the must-see destinations for anyone visiting Japan

Sankeien Garden

This traditional Japanese garden is a marvel to witness and has been open to guests for over 100 years. There are beautiful plants and flowers to explore, as well as various architectural wonders taken from other regions of Japan like Kyoto and transported here. There is also a glistening large pond, streams, and a trail surrounding the area.

Sankeien Garden in Yokohama

This stunning garden was built by Hara Senkai, a silk connoisseur, over twenty years. He understood how crucial art and landscape were to Japanese culture and pays perfect homage to such throughout the garden, from the areas always open to the public to his formerly personal oasis.

Sankeien Garden Official Website

Japanese styled house in Sankeien Garden, Yokohama

Sankeien Garden Location Via Google Maps

Guests can also enjoy a Japanese tea house, Shunsoro, which is said to have been built for Oda Nobunaga’s brother. There is also a Gekkaden guest house that was built for feudal lords of that era, and a temple

The Largest Chinatown 

What was once the area flocked to by people from China after Japan’s reopening is now the largest and most famous Chinatown. This bustling area is bursting with restaurants and markets for everyone to indulge in. 

Chinatown Yokohama Location Via Google Maps

Yokohama Chinatown is Japans largest Chinatown

China Town Yokohama Official Website

The incredible amount of restaurants offer a glimpse at Chinese culture from several regions. Shops and street food stalls are set up in the area to purchase traditional Chinese merchandise, souvenirs, and much more. In the center of all the hustle and bustle lies the Kanteibyo temple, erected in the worship of the god of business and prosperity.

Motomachi Street

Motomachi street used to be where people went shopping for Western fashion trends. It was one of the first places that people settled when Japan opened to foreigners. It’s still a coveted shopping destination, but the type of shops bars and cafes on the street has changed over the decades. 

Motomachi Street Location Via Google Maps

Motomachi Street is a famous shopping area in Yokohama

Official Website For Motomachi Street

Tourists can window shop or browse a variety of stores or grab a cup of coffee while walking the street. There is still an air of European and Western inspiration that can be seen throughout the streets. The street is often cleared for walking on the weekend and on holidays.

Yamashita Park

If you want to take a cruise around parts of Yokohama City, one of the best places to go is Yamashita Park. The park, right by the port, offers up a variety of cruises during the day and night. Tourists can even take a cruise during dinner, or just a short cruise ride to see a few sites. 

City Of Yokohama Official Website

Tourist boat at Yamashita Park in Yokohama

Yamashita Park Location Via Google Maps

There are plenty of places to eat in Yamashita Park, and a plethora of gorgeous architecture and hotels to admire while taking a stroll or sitting on a boat. The waterfront area in Yokohama is one of the most popular destinations for tourists to see in Japan.

Minato Mirai 21

Minato Mirai is the business epicenter of Yamashita, with a stunning skyline and a lot of fun things to do. There is an amusement park with an iconic Ferris Wheel and the famous Yokohama Landmark Tower. This tower, one of the biggest in Japan, features an observation deck where you can sometimes see Mount Fuji from.

Minato Mirai waterfront district

Minato Mirai Location Via Google Maps

There are also a number of shops in this area and within the tower, as well as some restaurants to enjoy. The Kishamichi Promenade is also in this district, as well as a spa, museums, and endless opportunities for fun and entertainment.

Minato Mirai Attractions Via Tripadvisor

Zoorasia

This zoo is one of the largest in Japan. This expansive zoo houses animals such as red pandas, polar bears, and elephants. There are seven geological areas within this zoo, including the Central Asian Highland, African Savannah, and the Amazon Jungle, to name a few. 

Zoorasai Official Website

Leopard at the Yokohama Zoo

The zoo is a bit of a trek from the central part of Yokohama, so it is recommended to take a full day to go out and explore. There are also restaurants located at the zoo and plenty of opportunities for family fun. 

Yokohama Municipal Zoo (Zoorasia) Location Via Google Maps

Ramen Museum

The noodle dish enjoyed all around the world has its own museum in Yokohama. This culinary delight from Japan is celebrated in this museum which chronicles the popular ramen dish, and also serves it. 

Part of this museum is modeled after the streets of Shitamachi, a prominent street in Japan that was famous for its delicious ramen.

Ramen Museum Official Website

It’s the perfect backdrop to enjoy a hot bowl of noodles. There are also displays that teach about the history of the dish, and an opportunity to try different interpretations of ramen from different Japanese regions.

Ramen Museum Location Via Google Maps

Hakkeijima (Hakkeijima Sea Paradise)

The Hakkeijima is an adventure aquarium and amusement park on a small island near downtown Yokohama. The park is free to enter, where there are also shops and restaurants to enjoy. 

Location Via Google Maps

There is a fee to enter some of the attractions featured within Hakkeijima including Aqua Resorts and Pleasure Land. Aqua Resorts is where the aquariums are located and they house animals such as dolphins, polar bears, and sea otters. Pleasure Land is the amusement park area that features rides ranging from a Merry Go Round to a rollercoaster. 

Hakkeijima Sea Paradise Official Website (In Japanese-Google Translate Required)

Kirin Beer Factory 

This beer factory is one of the most popular breweries in Japan. Yokohama is a beer consumption city, so it’s no surprise one of the best can be found here. 

Guests can learn about the history of Kirin beer and view various displays that help teach about how the manufacturing and brewing process works. After the tour, there is also an opportunity to taste some of Kirins finest beers. This iconic brewery has been in Yokohama for over 100 years, opened shortly after Japan re-opened itself to the rest of the world. 

Location Via Google Maps

10-minute walk from Namamugi Station on the Keikyu Line.

20-minute walk from Shin-Koyasu Station on the JR Keihin-Tohoku Line.

10-minutes by taxi from Tsurumi Station on the JR Keihin-Tohoku Line.

20-minute by taxi from JR Yokohama Station.

Kirin Beer Official Website (scroll down to find the Yokohama location)

When To Visit Yokohama 

Yokohama has a very mild climate throughout most of the year. There is humidity in the summer (July-September) and a small amount of snow in the winter. Yokohama doesn’t have extremes in temperatures and weather regardless of the season, so any time of year can be thoroughly enjoyed in Yokohama.

MT Lee
My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.