Yokohama Travel Guide
Located south of Tokyo on the western flank of Tokyo Bay, Yokohama is a de facto part of its metropolitan area. Nonetheless, it was once a significant city in Japan in its own right before Tokyo ascended to prominence, as it was a centrepiece port during the Meiji Period.
As such, the citizens of this city are used to the presence of overseas visitors, making this city one of the easiest to visit in all of Japan.
Come check out our Yokohama travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Yokohama, Japan.
Start your visit to the Yokohama area by checking out the HARA Model Railway Museum. As kooky as this place sounds, it is significant for reputedly being the home of the world’s largest collection of model railway cars.
Amassed by collector Nobutaro Hara, there are over 1,000 cars that can be observed here at any given time. This includes unique pieces such as cars from the series, Thomas the Tank Engine that runs on almost a half kilometre of track inside this massive facility.
The level of detail in this museum is astounding, as these cars run on miniature power lines strung up by an overhead gantry, passing through towns and landscapes which have been meticulously constructed over the years.
Keep the mood light by making the Cup Noodles Museum your next destination in Yokohama. Opened by the Nissin Food Company, who invented ramen noodles in 1958, it goes over the history of the dish, variants of it around the globe, and displays other aspects like modern art related to noodles and oddities like space ramen that was made for consumption by astronauts in zero-gravity conditions.
In addition to this, there are participatory exhibits where you can do things like making your own ramen flavour packets, a children’s playground themed on a noodle factory, and a Southeast Asian food bazaar where various versions of ramen are served to hungry museum attendees.
Next, make your way to the waterfront, where you’ll eventually find the Japan Coast Guard Museum. Be careful, as the building in which it is located is rather nondescript, and thus, it can be easily missed by foreigners.
Be sure to also download the Japanese phrasebook for Google Translate before making your way over here, as few of the captions on displays here are in English. Once inside, though, be sure to take in this institution’s prized possession: a North Korean spy boat that was intercepted and sunk off the western coast of Japan in the early 1990s.
Complete with damage and bullet holes in the side of its hold, it is a reminder of the tensions that still exist in Asia even in this seemingly peaceful modern age in which we live.
Those looking to visit a religious point of interest during their visit to Yokohama will want to drop by the Sojiji Temple. A vitally important building to those who adhere to the Zen school of Buddhism, this quaint structure was first built in the 14th century.
Only a few structures remain from that period, though, as a fire wiped out most of them in 1898. Despite this setback, the feel of their original construction was respected when they rebuilt the destroyed buildings.
With a peaceful garden to complete the compound, coming here is a great way to refresh your spirit after braving the hectic streets of this city in the Greater Tokyo Area.
While Japan is a very homogeneous country (99% of the permanent population are ethnic Japanese), small pockets of foreign-blooded citizens do exist. Starting largely with the opening of the country to foreign trade in the 19th century, it ended up giving Yokohama one of the largest Chinese communities in the country.
Today, Yokohama Chinatown is merely a place where Sino-Japanese run businesses handed down to them from generations before; very few still reside in the area. However, it is still a great place to celebrate the Chinese New Year, eat delicious steamed buns, and shop for souvenirs and product from Mainland China.
Have yet to see a traditional Japanese garden during your trip to Japan? Get this box ticked by dropping by Sankeien Garden while in Yokohama. A lush, green place that shows off buildings transported here from all over the country, it is a peaceful spot that will make you forget that you are in the heart of a bustling urban area.
After admiring the many lakes, flower beds, and other sights along its paths, stop in at the tea house located within its bounds, as this will enable you to end your visit in proper fashion.
Negishi Shinrin Park is another place worth visiting if the congested nature of Yokohama begins to get to you. Home to a popular horse racing track in previous generations, this park is popular during sakura season and during the fall months. Need to go for a jog? This is the perfect place to do it, as many locals will be engaging in the same activities as you.
Finally, be sure to check out the Sky Garden at Landmark Tower before leaving Yokohama. Best visited during the evening hours, the night views from this observation deck will astound even the most seasoned traveller.