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Since its foundation as a port city in the 1800s, Yokohama has served as Japan’s gateway to the world. Gazing out across the Pacific Ocean, Yokohama has a more international ambience than many other Japanese cities, with large populations of Filipinos, Brazilians, Koreans and a thriving Chinatown community. The city is the departure point for huge quantities of popular Japanese consumer goods, including electronics and cars, making it one of the world’s busiest ports. And while the growth of air travel has reduced Yokohama’s importance as a passenger port, the recent rise of Asia’s cruise industry has meant that, for many people, Yokohama remains the first place they set foot in Japan. With a modern harborfront area that features a huge ferris wheel, amusement park, shopping malls and museums, Yokohama offers a warm welcome to all visitors. Book now at Best Western Yokohama and explore all this city has to offer.
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Cosmo Clock 21
Cosmo Clock 21 is one of the world's most iconic ferris wheels – a seafront symbol of this port city. Located within the Cosmo World amusement park in the harborfront Minato Mirai 21 district, Cosmo Clock 21 was the tallest ferris wheel in the world when it first opened in 1989, rising 107.5 meters. While this has since been surpassed by many modern attractions, Cosmo Clock 21 remains one of the most famous wheels in the world. Guests can enjoy fantastic views of the entire waterfront area and beyond from Cosmo Clock 21, which features 60 passenger cars, each capable of carrying up to eight people. One rotation of the wheel takes 15 minutes.
Yokohama Landmark Tower
Rising 296 meters from the waterfront, Yokohama Landmark Tower is one of Japan's tallest buildings and another symbol of the city. Part of the modern Minato Mirai 21 harborfront district, Yokohama Landmark Tower is not only an impressive tower and a symbol of the city, but also an excellent tourist attraction. The Sky Garden observatory, which is perched on the 69th floor, 273 meters up, offers spectacular 360-degree views of Yokohama, Tokyo and even Mount Fuji on a clear day. Yokohama Landmark Tower is also home to some of the world's fastest elevators, which shoot visitors up to the observation deck in just 40 seconds, at speeds of 45kph!
In a bustling international port city, Sankei-en is a pure Japanese delight. Nestled close to the waterfront area, this exquisite Japanese garden dates back more than 100 years and features a charming landscape of streams, ponds, bridges, tea houses and pagodas that are more reminiscent of Kyoto than Yokohama. In fact, the park's elegant three-story pagoda, which dates back to the 1400s, was transported to Sankei-en from the former Japanese capital. The gardens now cover more than 17 hectares and provide a wonderful place for locals and visitors to stroll and re-connect with Japan's cultural heritage. In spring, Sankei-en becomes a popular place to see Japan's famous cherry blossoms.
As Japan's most outward-looking city, Yokohama has developed a thriving international community. The influx of international traders in the late 1800s gave rise to a large and vibrant Chinese population, and this community has since grown to become Japan's largest Chinatown. Visitors to this downtown district can now discover a colorful collection of narrow streets lined with many traditional Chinese shops, restaurants and food stalls serving a unique style of cuisine that combines Chinese and Japanese flavors. Yokohama's Chinatown is accessible via four main gates, with the Kanteibyo Temple positioned in the center of the district, making it a charming place to explore.
Cup Noodles Museum
Invented in Japan in the 1950s, instant noodles have become one of the country's biggest exports. So what better way to celebrate this global icon than with an interactive museum in the country's most famous port? Located in the harborfront Minato Mirai 21 district, the Cup Noodles Museum showcases the history of instant noodles through a series of fun exhibits and workshops. The museum also features a children's play area called Cupnoodles Park, and if you get hungry there is a food court called Noodles Bazaar which serves a range of instant noodle dishes from around the world. Further insight into Japan’s noodle heritage can be found at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum.
Yamashita Park and Hikawa Maru
Guests can explore Yokohama's rich maritime history at Yamashita Park, which stretches 750 meters along the city's waterfront. A pleasant outdoor space, this landscaped park was created in the 1920s following the Great Kanto earthquake and is now home to fountains, paths and sculptures. Anchored in front of the park is the Hikawa Maru, a former ocean liner which sailed to and from the US and Canada between 1930s and 1960. Now transformed into a museum, the ship provides a fascinating insight into a bygone era of trans-Pacific travel. Visitors are able to explore the ship’s first-class passenger cabins, which once carried Japan's imperial family and celebrities such as Charlie Chaplin.
Nogeyama Zoological Gardens
Nogeyama Zoological Gardens provides a charming escape from the city, yet within walking distance of the popular Minato Mirai 21 waterfront area. Covering almost 10 hectares of land, the zoo houses an extensive collection of approximately 1,400 animals covering 100 different species, including red pandas, chimpanzees, lions, tigers, zebras, giraffes, bears, camels and flamingos. Like Yamashita Park, the land upon which the zoo is located was reclaimed as a park following the Great Kanto earthquake, when the buildings in the area were destroyed. The Nogeyama Zoological Gardens were then created within the park in the 1950s. Entry is free-of-charge to all visitors.
Things to do in Yokohama