Yokohama: A Blend of Old and New Japan

Yokohama: A Blend of Old and New Japan

Yokohama is a Japanese city located in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo. It is the second largest city in Japan, after Tokyo, and is part of the Greater Tokyo Area. The city is situated on the western coast of Tokyo Bay, south of Tokyo. Yokohama has a rich history as an important port city and is known for its modern architecture, cosmopolitan culture, and scenic waterfront.

Short History

Yokohama was originally a small fishing village and became a center of foreign trade in the late 19th century, after the Japanese government opened the port to foreign ships in 1859. The city quickly became a hub for international commerce, with trade from all over the world passing through its port. Yokohama also played an important role in the industrialization of Japan, as many factories were established in the city during the early 20th century. Today, Yokohama is the second-largest city in Japan, with a population of over 3.7 million people.


Yokohama is known for its diverse architectural styles due to the city’s history of foreign trade and settlement. The city has a mix of traditional Japanese architecture, as well as western-style buildings from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The most famous example is the Red Brick Warehouse, which was built in 1913 and is now a popular shopping and dining area. Other notable buildings include the Yokohama Marine Tower, which was built in 1961 and is one of the tallest lighthouses in the world, and the Yokohama Landmark Tower, which was completed in 1993 and is the second tallest building in Japan.

Museums and Galleries

Yokohama, located south of Tokyo, is home to several museums and galleries that are worth a visit. Here are some of the most interesting ones:

  • Yokohama Museum of Art: This museum houses a large collection of modern and contemporary art, including works by Japanese and international artists.
  • Cup Noodles Museum: This museum is dedicated to the history of instant noodles and the creation of Cup Noodles. Visitors can make their own custom Cup Noodles and learn about the production process.
  • Yokohama Archives of History: This museum provides insight into the history of Yokohama, including its role as a port city and its relationship with Western nations.
  • Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History: This museum showcases the history and culture of the Kanagawa Prefecture, including exhibits on traditional crafts, folk art, and archaeological finds.
  • Mitsubishi Minatomirai Industrial Museum: This museum provides a glimpse into the technological advancements of Japan, particularly in the fields of transportation and energy.
  • Shomyo-ji Temple Art Museum: Located within a temple complex, this museum displays a collection of Buddhist art and artifacts, including scrolls, statues, and pottery.
  • Orbi Yokohama: This interactive museum combines nature and technology to create immersive exhibits on topics such as wildlife and space exploration.

Landmarks and Monuments

Yokohama has a rich cultural history dating back to the 16th century. Here are some of the most interesting landmarks and monuments to visit:

  • Sankeien Garden: This Japanese-style garden features a pond, teahouses, and traditional architecture.
  • Yokohama Landmark Tower: This 296-meter-tall skyscraper is the second tallest building in Japan and offers stunning views of the city.
  • Yokohama Chinatown: One of the largest Chinatowns in the world, it is known for its colorful streets, traditional architecture, and delicious street food.
  • Yamashita Park: A waterfront park with stunning views of the harbor and the iconic Hikawa Maru ship.
  • Minato Mirai 21: A futuristic district featuring modern architecture, high-end shopping, and entertainment venues.
  • Yokohama Marine Tower: A lighthouse-shaped tower offering panoramic views of the city and surrounding area.
  • Osanbashi Pier: A modern cruise terminal designed by a famous architect, with stunning views of the bay and the city skyline.

Parks and Green Spaces

Yokohama offers many beautiful parks and green spaces. Here are some of the most interesting ones worth visiting:

  • Sankeien Garden: This stunning garden boasts a collection of traditional Japanese architecture, including teahouses, pagodas, and bridges, set against the backdrop of beautiful gardens and ponds.
  • Yamashita Park: Located in the heart of Yokohama, this park features a beautiful rose garden, a large fountain, and views of the nearby harbor and ships.
  • Minato Mirai 21: A futuristic urban park built on reclaimed land, Minato Mirai 21 is home to many popular attractions, including the Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris wheel, Landmark Tower, and the Yokohama Museum of Art.
  • Nogeyama Zoo and Park: This park features a small zoo and botanical garden, making it a great place to relax and enjoy nature with the whole family.
  • Mitsuike Park: A large park with a pond, walking paths, and a playground, Mitsuike Park is a popular spot for picnics, jogging, and cycling.
  • Negishi Forest Park: This park features hiking trails, an outdoor amphitheater, and a greenhouse, making it a perfect place for a nature walk or a picnic.

These parks offer a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and provide visitors with a chance to relax and enjoy nature.

Shopping Districts

Yokohama has plenty of shopping districts that cater to different preferences and budgets. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Minato Mirai 21: This futuristic waterfront district is home to several shopping centers, including the Landmark Plaza, Queen’s Square, and World Porters. Visitors can find a wide range of fashion, beauty, and lifestyle stores, as well as restaurants and entertainment facilities.
  • Motomachi: Located near the historic foreign settlement in Yokohama, Motomachi is a charming shopping district with European-style architecture. Visitors can find upscale fashion boutiques, antique shops, and artisanal food stores, as well as quaint cafes and restaurants.
  • Chinatown: Yokohama’s Chinatown is one of the largest in the world, and is a bustling hub of activity with numerous shops and restaurants. Visitors can find all sorts of Chinese goods, including souvenirs, snacks, and traditional crafts.
  • Takashimaya: This department store is a popular shopping destination for locals and tourists alike, with multiple floors of fashion, beauty, and home goods. Takashimaya also has a food hall with a wide variety of gourmet foods and delicacies.
  • Isezaki Mall: This covered shopping street is over 1 km long and has hundreds of shops and restaurants selling everything from clothing to electronics to street food. It’s a great place to experience the lively atmosphere of downtown Yokohama.

Food and Drink

Yokohama is known for its diverse and delicious food scene. Here are some of the must-try dishes and drinks:

  • Ramen: Yokohama is famous for its “Iekei” ramen, which features a blend of tonkotsu (pork bone) and shoyu (soy sauce) broth, with toppings such as chashu (braised pork), spinach, and seaweed.
  • Gyoza: Yokohama is said to be the birthplace of Japanese-style gyoza, and you can find many delicious gyoza restaurants in the city.
  • Shumai: Another popular dumpling dish in Yokohama is shumai, which are steamed or fried pork dumplings.
  • Seafood: As a port city, Yokohama is known for its fresh seafood, including sushi, sashimi, and grilled fish.
  • Craft beer: Yokohama has a thriving craft beer scene, with many local breweries and bars offering a wide range of delicious beers.
  • Yokohama Sparkling: This is a carbonated drink made with local spring water and is often used to celebrate special occasions.
  • Coffee: Yokohama has a long history of coffee culture, and you can find many excellent coffee shops in the city, including some that have been open for over 100 years.


Yokohama is a well-connected city and offers various modes of transportation for visitors to move around. Here are some of the best ways to move around Yokohama:

  • Train: Yokohama is well-connected by train, with several train lines running through the city. The most popular train lines are the JR East lines, the Tokyu Toyoko line, and the Keihin Kyuko line. The train system is efficient, clean, and easy to navigate.
  • Bus: Yokohama has an extensive bus network, with buses running to all parts of the city. The buses are clean, comfortable, and air-conditioned, making them a great option during the summer months.
  • Subway: The Yokohama Subway operates two lines, the Blue Line and the Green Line, which connect various parts of the city.
  • Taxis: Taxis are readily available in Yokohama, and are a convenient way to move around the city. However, they can be expensive compared to other modes of transportation.
  • Bicycle: Cycling is a great way to explore Yokohama, with several cycling routes available in the city. Bicycle rentals are also available at several locations in the city.

City Safety

Yokohama is generally considered a safe city. The crime rate in Yokohama is relatively low compared to other major cities in the world, and the city is known for being a safe and comfortable place to live and visit. However, it’s always important to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings, especially when traveling in unfamiliar areas.

Expensive or Cheap

Yokohama is generally considered to be a mid-range city in terms of cost of living compared to other major cities in Japan like Tokyo or Osaka. While some aspects of living in Yokohama may be more expensive than other cities in Japan, such as housing costs, other expenses such as food and transportation can be relatively affordable. Ultimately, the cost of living in Yokohama will depend on factors such as lifestyle, accommodation preferences, and personal spending habits.

Date Ideas

Yokohama offers many romantic and interesting date ideas for visitors and locals alike. Here are some of the best options:

  • Take a stroll along the Yokohama Bay promenade, which offers stunning views of the city skyline and the water.
  • Visit the Yokohama Landmark Tower, one of the tallest buildings in Japan, and enjoy a meal or a drink at the Sky Garden on the 69th floor.
  • Explore the Sankeien Garden, a traditional Japanese garden featuring historic buildings, ponds, and seasonal flowers.
  • Take a romantic sunset cruise on the Bay Bridge Symphony, a luxury yacht that sails around Yokohama Bay.
  • Visit the Cup Noodle Museum, where you can learn about the history of instant noodles and even create your own custom cup of noodles.
  • Visit the Yokohama Chinatown, the largest Chinatown in Japan, and sample delicious Chinese food and drinks.
  • Take a relaxing dip in the hot springs at the Manyo Club, a luxurious spa resort that also features a restaurant and a hotel.

Fun and Interesting Facts

Yokohama is a bustling and lively city in Japan known for its beautiful waterfront, delicious cuisine, and rich cultural heritage. Here are some fun and interesting facts about Yokohama:

  • Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan, with a population of over 3.7 million people.
  • The city was one of the first in Japan to open its ports to foreign trade, and as a result, it has a long history of international exchange and cultural diversity.
  • The iconic Yokohama Landmark Tower is the tallest building in Japan, standing at 972 feet tall.
  • Yokohama is home to one of the largest Chinatowns in the world, featuring over 600 restaurants and shops.
  • The Yokohama Cosmo World amusement park features a giant Ferris wheel that offers breathtaking views of the city.

In conclusion, Yokohama is a vibrant and exciting city with a rich history and a bright future. Whether you’re interested in culture, cuisine, or just having fun, there’s something for everyone in Yokohama.