One of the things that make Japan will never run out of visitors to come is because Japan doesn’t only have Tokyo to offer to the visitors. Though I must agree that Tokyo is the most popular destination in there, beside Osaka and Kyoto, it doesn’t make that Japan only has those three cities to compete with the other country in terms of tourism. If last week I decided to cover Fukuoka, a beautiful city located on Kyushu Island, today I’m going back to the main island, which is Honshu Island, to cover a pleasant city that will make you start to like that city as soon as you arrive there because of the relaxed and the serene atmosphere inside that city. The city that I’m talking about is Yokohama, the seaside city where “harbour of the future” lies inside there.
Yokohama is the capital city of Kanagawa prefecture and it is the second largest city in Japan with a population of over three million. Located less than half an hour from south of Tokyo by train, makes Yokohama has a lot of visitors to come since it’s close from Tokyo. Yokohama grew rapidly from the small fishing village into one of the largest city in Japan following the end of the Japan’s isolation in the end of 19th century. Today, Yokohama serves as one of the major ports in Japan, along with Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya, Hakata, Tokyo, and Chiba.
In the central of Yokohama, there is a seaside urban area that serves as one of the main attraction in Yokohama. This area is Minato Mirai 21, sometimes shortened to Minator Mirai or MM, and the name means ” the harbour of future”. In this area, you can find lots of sky-scrapers, including Landmark Tower that is the tallest building in Japan, since Minato Mirai also serves as the business district of Yokohama.
Going to Minata Mirai is very easy. You can just take the train from Yokohama station to the Minato Mirai Station that is two stations away from the Yokohama Station. Minato Mirai Station itself is located on the basement floor of the Queen’s Tower, one of the department store in Minato Mirai. Inside Queen’s Tower you can find some of the most popular stores in Japan, such as Beams, A.P.C., Zara, and lots choices of restaurant at the food court.
You can recognize Queen’s Tower easily by lower floor, called Queen’s Square, since there are unique pillars of steels that are coiling around each others. By the night-time, the youngsters of Yokohama often make interesting performance shows at the Queen’s Square.
Located exactly beside the Queen’s Tower is another shopping mall, called Landmark Plaza. A giant galleria-style shopping mall that is located next to the 296 metres high sky-scraper that is no other than Landmark Tower, the tallest building in Japan, featuring similar variety of stores and restaurants to those found in the Queen’s Tower. In the Christmas day, the Landmark Plaza is famous for their Christmas snow-falling event called “Merry Snow Christmas”, featuring an eight metres high “Swarovsky Cristal” Christmas Tree placed on the centre of the mall and “Starlight Jingle”, a light and music show performance that is performed at schedule times. The illumination arch with approximately 70 thousand light bulbs at the Dockyard Garden makes it one of the most romantic place that you can found in Japan.
Beside of the shopping malls as the entertainment that you can find in Minato Mirai, there is also a big theme park located in the middle of the city. The name of the theme park is Cosmo World and it’s famous for its giant size Ferris Wheel.
The main feature of the Cosmo World is, of course, that giant-size Ferris Wheel, one of the biggest in the world, with a height of 112.5 metres and capacity of 480 passengers, that also serves as a giant digital clock for all of the people in Minato Mirai. However, the giant-size Ferris Wheel is not the only thing Cosmo World has to offer, a handful of roller coaster rides, carnival attractions, and a kid’s zone are also parts of this wonderful theme park that become more wonderful as the day turns into the night.
Though Minato Mirai is filled with packs of tall buildings, inside there, there are still some of the green parks where you can lie down and chill out for a while. Rinko Park is one of the best choices of parks since it’s the largest park in Minato Mirai and serve you with the excellent full view of Yokohama Port.
This seaside park really boasts an amazing night view of the Minato Mirai area beyond the curving coast line. Therefore, if you have some spare time in here, be sure to go to this park since you can see the charming blue sky of Yokohama while sitting on the park to feel the sea breeze or see the magnificent light of the sky-scrapers that surrounds the area in the night.
When you are strolling around Minato Mirai, somehow, you will find that there is a traditional ship in the middle of the business district. That ship name is Nippon Maru and it’s a real one, a retired sailing ship that is permanently docked and it’s open for public. Located across from the ship, there is a Yokohama Port Museum, a recently remodeled museum that has a History Zone that illustrates the entire history of the port and Rediscovery Zone that illustrates broader marine topics. Therefore, for those who love ships and marine stuffs, you can go inside the museum with only 600 yen.
Still related to the history of Yokohama as a port city, there is also another historical building located near the seaside of Minato Mirai. That building is Red Brick Warehouse, a warehouse complex that used to serve as custom-house, that has been converted into an entertainment complex. Today, the Red Brick Warehouse offer a unique shopping atmosphere, divided into 2 sections, which are Warehouse no.1 and no.2, those two buildings have some stores that offer interesting products. The first building houses 5 shops, including Akarenga Depot that sells brick goods, Yokohama Glass where you can experience glass craft making, S. SHOBEY＆Masuda Gama that sells silk products, and Yokohama Yaki Pottery and Camera wa Suzuki that can be found on the first floor. The second floor of the first building is a multipurpose space used for gallery and other events, while the third floor houses a hall with approximately 300 seats used for theater performances and concerts.
On the other hand, the second building of the Red Brick Warehouse houses about 40 shops, each of them has their own unique concept. The first floor offers some variety good shops, and the restaurants, food court, and open cafes that face straight to the sea. The second floor has many characteristic interiors, jewelry, and variety good shops. On the top of the building, you can find more cafes and restaurant, some of the most famous ones are, “Chano-ma” that has a theme of 21st Century tea room and “bills” that is extremely famous for the “best breakfast in the world”.
To be continued…
Some of the data and pictures are taken from :