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Yokohama

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Travel Guide Asia Japan Honshu Kanto Yokohama

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Introduction

Yokohama is one of the biggest port cities in Japan and is actually part of the greater Tokyo Metropolitan Area, together forming the biggest agglomeration in the world with almost 35 million people living here. Although never tell a local from Yokohama that is is part of Tokyo unless your ready for a major lesson.

Yokohama was the first port opened up to foreign trade after the opening of Japan in 1854. At the forefront of the Meiji restoration, the first train line in Japan connected Tokyo and Yokohama. However, Yokohama was devastated by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and again by the firebombings of World War II, and never really regained its prominence. It remains a maritime city to this day and retains an international flavor.

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Sights and Activities

  • Chinatown (中華街 Chūkagai), MM21 Motomachi-Chukagai Station. Yokohama's Chinatown is the largest in Japan and dates back to the Opening of Japan in 1859. These days it's unabashedly touristy, but there are plenty of Chinese grocery stores and places to buy a cheap cheongsam dress or jade knick-knacks.
  • Yokohama Stadium - Located in Naka ward. A short walk from Chinatown or Kannai station, this is probably one of the most fun places to watch a baseball game in Japan. Known as the BayStars Stadium, the Yokohama Baseball Team of the Central League, the Stadium itself was built on the remains of the Cricket Ballpark of the last century for the British delegation. The BayStars Stadium is an open roof stadium with natural grass, very rare in Japan, which prefers to man-made grass to save on costs, and the entertainment boasted throughout the games is trying hard, and doing a good job, by Japanese terms, in trying to have each game hosted at the "home ground" to be as American as possible.
  • Nissan Stadium (Located in Shin-Yokohama) - This is one of the biggest soccer stadiums in Japan. The final match of the 2002 FIFA WORLD CUP was held here. This is a home ground of J league soccer teams, Yokohama F. Marinos and Yokohama FC. There are also facilities such as soccer fields, skateboard parks and basketball courts are available for free to the public.
  • Marine Tower - The tallest onland lighthouse in the world. It is in Naka ward. In clear conditions, visitors can see Mount Fuji from the 100-metre high observation deck.
  • Hikawa Maru (氷川丸) - This passenger liner made 238 voyages across the Pacific to Seattle and Vancouver between 1930 and 1960, and served as a hospital ship during World War II. Now, we can enter and go around. It opens at 10:00am and closes at 5:00pm. It’s closed on Mondays. An admission fee is different depending on ages. 300 yen is general fee. Over 65-year-old people’s is 200 yen. And elementary schoolchildren’s, junior high school students’ and high school students’ are 100 yen. Moreover, this place is also used for location, for example, movie “Moonlight Serenade” which is filmed in 1997 or NHK drama “Haru e Natsu” in 2005.
  • Sky Walk - An observation platform attached to the Bay Bridge. To get there, take a bus in front of JR Sakuragicho station. If you cannot find the correct bus, ask for help from the Tourist information center located right in front of the station. However, the bus trip takes quite a while and there is nothing more to see than the view of Minato Mirai from afar.
  • Landmark Tower, MM21 Minato Mirai Station (Minato Mirai 21 district). Was the tallest building in Japan until the construction of the Tokyo Sky Tree. The observation platform on the top 69F provides good views (admission ¥1,000). The elevators are said to be the fastest in Japan. For a classier experience, try the cocktail lounge on the 70F (drinks ¥1,000+ each) or eat dinner on the 68th (see below).
  • Sankei-en Park_ (三渓園). 35 minutes by bus from Yokohama Stn. SE of Naka Ward, this is a traditional style of park and known as Teien (lit. "set park"). Opened in 1906, this large park (17,5000 ft²) has many Japanese traditional buildings, 13 of which have been designated as national heritages.
  • Yamate (山手) - This is the neighbourhood where foreigners settled and still settle. You can make a pleasant walk from the Italian garden near Ishikawa-cho station to the French park near Motomachi Chukagai station. The walk will take you along some nice houses that were previously owned by rich foreigners. Nowadays, these houses can be visited freely. A nice cake shop can be found here as well. The foreigner cemetery is also along this route and houses a small museum with some pictures of the Motomachi shopping street in the old days and some more cartoons showing how the Japanese saw foreigners.
  • Yamashita Park (山下公園). You can see the whole port of Yokohama and there's a lot of greenery. A short walk from Motomachi-Chinatown Stn (元町・中華街駅), JR Ishikawa-cho station (JR石川駅), JR Kannnai station (JR関内駅).

##Street Performance. There are many street performers, especially in Yamashita Park and Granmall Park (middle of Landmark Tower and Queens Square in Sakuragicho) every weekend. Above all, fire performance is so dynamic.

  • Ōsanbashi Pier (大さん橋). It is the main international pier at the Port of Yokohama, Naka Ward. The rooftop garden is open to public and is very beautiful, especially during sunset.
  • Kishine Park (岸根公園) (Metro Kishine Koen Stn). A large park 9 minutes away from Yokohama Stn, this is strictly for the locals most of the year, but very popular during cherry blossom season.
  • Kanagawa Budokan (神奈川県立武道館) (near Kishine Park). Kendo (Japanese fencing), judo and archery tournaments.
  • Kamoike Park (鴨池公園) (Tsuzuki). True to the name, "Duck Lake Park" has a large lake, with ducks during the day and fireflies often visible at night in the rainy season.
  • Yokohama Arena (横浜アリーナ) (Shin-Yokohama. 5 minutes walk from Shin-Yokohama Stn). This is the biggest arena in Japan. Many famous musicians have concerts there. If you want to go to those concerts, you need to buy the tickets in advance. There are also flea markets here sometimes. In this case, you don't need any tickets or admission.
  • River Karasuyama (烏山川) (in Shin-yokohama. 10 minutes walk from Shin-Yokohama station). This is a narrow river, but cherry trees are along both side of the river. In spring, the cherry trees are in full bloom and very beautiful. Also, there are lawn and benches here, so you can relax on the benches in a good weather.
  • Hideyo Noguchi Memorial Park (野口記念公園), Nagahama 114-4 (15 minutes from Nokendai Stn). 9:00am-5;00pm daily. The laboratory of bacteriologist Hideyo Noguchi, who discovered the bacteria that causes syphilis and worked on yellow fever vaccines, and whose face adorns the ¥1000 note. The original building was destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake, and the present structure dates from 1997.
  • Moroka Kumano Shrine (師岡熊野神社), ☎ +81 45-531-0150. Okurayama area. Take Tokyu-Toyoko Line from Yokohama Stn, about 10 min. Then, 7 minutes walk from Okurayama Stn. This is a famous shrine in Yokohama. Its god is a bird which has three legs. This bird seems like the symbol of the soccer teams of Japan. Therefore, as well as many soccer fans, even Japanese soccer players visit here and pray for the victory of their team. Of course, many other people pay the first visit of the year every year.
  • Shōmyō Temple (称名寺) (Take the 13 Yokohama Keikyu bus from Kanazawa-bunko Stn (Keihin Kyukou Main Line) get off at Shomyo-ji Temple bus stop). It is a temple built by Hojo Sanetoki in 1258. It has developed into Kamakura Period. It is specified for the historic site in Japan. There is a beautiful garden. A lot of cherry blossoms bloom in spring. Moreover, precincts are illuminated at fireworks of summer and the New Year and it is very beautiful.
  • Yokohama History Museum (横浜市歴史博物館), Kanagawa-ken, Yokohama-shi, Tuzuki-ku, Nakagawachuou 1-18-1, ☎ +81 45-912-7777. 9:00am-5:00pm. This museum introduces Yokohama's history from Primary period to Modern period. Next to the museum, there are excavations of Yayoi period.

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Events and Festivals

Traditional Festivals

Japan has countless traditional festivals and holidays. Then when you add the local festivals that number just grows and grows. Here is a list of the few major national traditional festivals.

  • Japanese New Year (January 1) - the most important holiday in Japan. Although there are lots of customs and traditions most of them are done in the private. This is mainly a family holiday and Japan can feel very empty as almost everyone goes home. Travelling in Japan in during this time is difficult because everything is shut down.
  • Seijin No Hi (2nd Monday of January) - the coming of age holiday for Japanese women which 20. Traditionally families will buy any young woman how turned 20 in the last year a kimono. On this day almost all Japanese women will ear a kimono.
  • Hin Festival (March 3) - Also known as doll festival the Hin Matsuri festival is meant for young women. In early february families with daughters put dolls in order to make the women happy and healthy later in life. On Girls Day, on March 3, the dolls are put away until next year.
  • Shichi Go San Festival (Novermber 5) - Boys who are 3 and 5, and girls 3 and 7 are taken to a shinto shrine in traditional Japanese dress. The children are brought there to pray for good luck, good health and wealth.

National Holidays

  • Golden Week - Is quite often referred to as the "Japanese Spring Break." It is a combination of many state holidays, including Showa Day, Greenery Day, Children's Day, and Constitution Memorial Day in order to give a full week off. It takes place during the first full week of May. Everyone gets this week off in Japan so it is very bad time to travel because everything is crowded, expensive and most hotels will be full. There is also a major festival in the southern city of Fukuoka this week, it is called Hakata Dontaku.

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Weather

Yokohama features a humid subtropical climate with hot and humid summers and chilly winters. Weatherwise, Yokohama has a mixed bag of rain, clouds and sun, although in Winter, it is surprisingly sunny, more so than Southern Spain. Winter temperatures rarely drop below freezing, while summer can get quite warm due to the effects of humidiy. The coldest temperature was on 24 January 1927 when −8.2 ° was reached, whilst the hottest day was 11 August 2013 at 37.4 °C. The highest monthly rainfall has been in October 2004 with 761.5 millimetres, closely followed by July 1941 with 753.4 millimetres, whilst December and January have recorded no measurable precipitation three times each.

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Getting There

By Plane

Yokohama does not have its own airport. You can reach Yokohama from Tokyo's two main airports.

Some Narita Express trains from Narita Airport go through to Yokohama (1½ hours, ¥4,290). Limousine Buses run frequently from Narita to the Yokohama City Air Terminal (YCAT) in 2 hours (¥3,600). The cheapest access from Narita Airport involves a Keisei train. The Keisei Main Line train, with one across-the-platform transfer at Aoto, will cost ¥1,500 to Yokohama. The Sky Access line train will cost ¥1,690. Most Sky Access trains run to Keisei Ueno, but there are a handful each day which run through to Yokohama (and beyond; generally to Kanazawa-Bunko) on the Keikyu Main Line.

From Haneda Airport, take the Keikyu Line's Airport Express (エアポート急行) to Yokohama station in 30-35 minutes for ¥480. Note that the Airport Express has several variants: If the train's destination is Shin-Zushi (新逗子) or Kanazawa-Bunko (金沢文庫), then you can stay on the train for the entire trip. If the train goes to another destination, it's likely to continue on into Tokyo so you will need to change at Keikyu-Kamata station to the next main line limited express train going in the other direction.

By Train

The overwhelming majority of visitors to Yokohama arrive from Tokyo by train. A multitude of train lines connect the two cities at roughly equal prices, but some of the more convenient options are:

  • Tokyu Toyoko Line (東急東横線) from Shibuya to Yokohama Station. A trip from Shibuya to Yokohama takes as little as 26 minutes on the fastest service; at a cost of ¥270 this is the cheapest trip from metro Tokyo. Chinatown, the terminus of the MM21 line, is another 10 minutes away (Motomachi-Chukagai, ¥480). Up to eight kyūkō (急行) and tokkyū (特急) trains per hour.
  • JR Ueno-Tokyo Line (上野東京ライン) and Tokaido Main Line (東海道線) from Ueno, Tokyo and Shinagawa stations (all on the Yamanote Line). Departs every 10 minutes; more trains during rush hour. About 25 minutes from Tokyo to Yokohama, ¥470. Note that Commuter Rapid Service (通勤快速) and Shonan Liner (湘南ライナー) trains do not stop at Yokohama Station.
  • JR Shonan Shinjuku Line (湘南新宿ライン) from Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ebisu and Ōsaki. This was the first line that connected the western part of the Tokyo metropolis to Yokohama; it competes with the Fukutoshin and Toyoko lines. Roughly four trains per hour, reaching Yokohama from Shinjuku in as little as 30 minutes at a cost of ¥550.
  • JR Yokosuka Line (横須賀線): A less-convenient alternative from Tokyo Station and Shinagawa. However, it is the route of choice if coming from stations east of Tokyo on the Sobu Rapid line, such as Tsudanuma and Chiba, as most of these trains continue onto the Yokosuka line. About 30 minutes from Tokyo to Yokohama; about 75 minutes from Chiba (¥1,080). Departs every 15 minutes or so from Tokyo; more trains during rush hour.
  • JR Keihin Tohoku Line (京浜東北線) from Nippori, Ueno, Akihabara, Tokyo, and Shinagawa Stations. This train stops at more stations in Yokohama than the Yokosuka Line, including Sakuragicho (桜木町), which is within walking distance of Chinatown. It is also a convenient route from stations north of Tokyo in Saitama prefecture. About 35 minutes from Tokyo Station to Yokohama Station. Departs every 5 minutes from Tokyo; more trains during rush hour.
  • Keihin Kyuko Main Line (京急本線), or Keikyu for short, from Shinagawa and Haneda Airport. Most trains from the Toei Asakusa subway line continue onto the Keikyu line. Departs every 10 minutes from Shinagawa at a cost of ¥300 (more trains during rush hour), with the fastest train reaching Yokohama in only 18 minutes. Note that Keikyu WING (京急ウィング) trains do not stop at Yokohama.
  • Sotetsu Line (相鉄線) from Ebina to Yokohama (25 minutes by limited express, ¥310) and from Shonan-dai to Yokohama (30 minutes by express, ¥350). A useful connection from the western Tokyo suburbs on the Odakyu Line. This train will go direct to Shibuya in 2019.

Shinkansen trains go to Shin-Yokohama station instead, a few stations away from the main Yokohama station. The two stations are connected via the JR Yokohama line (10-15 minutes via direct service, ¥170) and the Yokohama Subway Blue Line (10 minutes, ¥240). Alternatively, take the Shinkansen to Shinagawa and change to the Tokaido, Yokosuka or Keihin Tohoku lines. If your final destination is Chinatown or the harbor area, taking one of the non-Shinkansen trains listed above is likely to be faster.

The Minato Mirai Line (みなとみらい線), opened in 2004, is a direct extension of the Tokyu Toyoko Line. Connection with the lines is at Yokohama Station, and the line itself has five stations: Shin-Takashimacho (新高島町), Minatomirai (みなとみらい), Bashamichi (馬車道), Nihon Ōdori (日本大通り), and Motomachi-Chūkagai (元町・中華街), terminating at the posh Motomachi shopping street and the second largest Chinatown in the world. The line’s stations itself are worth seeing, especially Minato-Mirai Station itself, where you are able to see straight up to the very spacious entrance hall (7 floors in all) of the Yokohama Landmark Tower, the tallest building in Japan.

Bashamichi Station is built with artifact bricks and hosts the remains of the first western style bank of Yokohama. Note also that Bashamichi (literal translation: horse carriage street) was the first street in Japan to have gas fired street lighting, which were re-installed lately. Bashamichi Station is surrounded by historical buildings, built only a century ago, but for Japanese standards are a true catapulting into westernization. Thus all buildings remaining (partially rebuilt after the heavy bombings of WWII) are protected as “historical – cultural national treasure.”

Nihon-Ōdori Station is similar to Bashamichi Station. Nihon-Ōdori (meaning Japan Avenue) is a two lane-two way avenue, which back then separated the living quarters of the foreign delegation and Japanese.

The line runs parallel to the Keihin-Tohoku Line. Due to the massive expense of maintaining the designer-class stations, the fares are rather pricey, but definitely worthwhile. The line runs through the very historical parts of Yokohama, when Japan opened up to the Western civilization. Many history-related museums of Yokohama are dotted along the line, and to attract further tourists, the line offers a one-day unlimited ride ticket (¥460 for adults, 1/2 price for children).

By Boat

FESCO runs a service from Vostochny Port/Nakhodka in Far Eastern Russia to Yokohama.

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Getting Around

By Car

Velo taxis are widely available within the harbor area, while rickshaws make their rounds within Chinatown.

By Public Transport

The Minato Mirai 21 subway line from Yokohama station down the harborfront to Chinatown is the best method of accessing the main tourist haunts. The main subway line is useful primarily for transfers between central Yokohama and the Shinkansen station. JR Negishi Line (根岸線) is also available for Chinatown and Minato Mirai Area. All Negishi Line Trains with the blue line are direct service via the Keihin-Tohoku Line. For suburban areas, Yokohama has a subway and extensive commuter rail lines that crisscross the city from every direction and to all neighboring cities.

Yokohama Subway (横浜市営地下鉄) This train has two types: the "blue line" and the "green line". The former is from Azamino to Shonandai. The latter is from Hiyoshi to Nakayama. Using this train, you can get around Yokohama easily.

Akai Kutsu Bus is a sight seeing bus around Minatomirai, Chinatown and Motomachi. It runs every 20-30 minutes and looks like an old red bus. A ticket costs ¥100, and a 1 day pass costs ¥300.

The "Sea Bass" boat operates between JR Yokohama station (east exit), Minato Mirai and Yamashita Park, and is one of the nicest ways to get around on a sunny day. The fare is ¥350-700 depending on the distance.

By Foot

Central Yokohama is comparatively compact and the Chinatown/Yamashita Park area is best explored on foot.

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Eat

For Chinese food, head to Chinatown (中華街 Chūkagai), which has over 200 Chinese restaurants. Snacks are sold on the streets, but most restaurants in the area are quite expensive (expect to pay ¥1,500 for a decent lunch) and the food has been toned down to suit the Japanese palate. One of the most popular foods in Chinatown is Nikuman (肉まん nikuman), or bread filled with pork and vegetables, which are sold by dozens of stores and vendors. Chinatown is the terminus of the Minato Mirai 21 line.

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Sleep

  • Yokohama Hostel Village, SanWa Bldg 1F, 3-11-2 Matsukage-cho, Naka-ku (5 minutes walk from Ishikawa-cho JR Stn), ☎ +81 45-663-3696. nexpensive accommodations. Single ¥3,000. Recently added small LB apartments ¥4,300, no deposit is needed and you get your own kitchen and bathroom. edit
  • Guest House Kanalian, 16-5 Daimachi, Kanagawa-ku, ☎ +81 45-313-6442. 7 minutes walk from Yokohama Station West Exit. Beautiful handmade wooden house, really impressive and the host Lee is extremely hospital. Expect to chat over some beers with him. Dormitory Rooms 1 night // 2,000yen per person 1 Week // 13,000yen per person.

View our map of accommodation in Yokohama or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Keep Connected

Internet

Manga cafes are dotted along the streets of almost every city in Japan. For a very reasonable price (about ¥100 per 15 minutes), you receive a private cubicle with a PC with internet access at blistering Japanese internet speeds. The chairs are incredibly comfortable (making them an excellent place to sleep for the cash-deprived), and you can even order snacks and drinks from the staff.

A number of business hotels have Internet access available if you have your own device, sometimes for free. It is also possible to find Wi-Fi "hot spots" around many large cities in Japan, especially near tech-related businesses and large corporate buildings with unsecured wireless networks. 3G Wireless Data and Pocket Wifi are other options.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

Payphones (公衆電話 kōshū denwa) are easily found, particularly near train stations, although with the popularity of mobile phones, public pay phones are not quite as numerous as they once were. Gray and green pay phones accept ¥10 and ¥100 coins and prepaid cards. Be aware that not all places with public telephones have phones that accept coins, so it may be worthwhile to buy a phone card for emergency use. Some of the gray phones, as indicated on the display, can make international calls. Pre-paid cards can be purchased at convenience stores, train station kiosk stores and sometimes in vending machines next to the phone.

Modern Japanese mobile phones (携帯電話 keitai denwa or just keitai) tend to operate on unique cellular standards not always compatible with the rest of the world. 3G phones using the UMTS/WCDMA2100 standard and equipped with a 3G SIM card will most likely work. If your phone is up to spec, double-check with your carrier if they have a roaming agreement with either SoftBank or NTT DoCoMo. Coverage is generally excellent, unless you are heading to some remote mountainous areas. If you have no 3G phone but still have a 3G-compatible SIM card, you can rent a 3G phone in Japan and slot in your card, allowing you to keep your home phone number in Japan. For a longer trip, you can also purchase a phone, but doing this legally requires an Alien Registration Card (or an obliging Japanese friend willing to front for you).

The easier way is to get a prepaid phone. Prepaid phones are sold in most SoftBank and AU stores. If you already have a 3G phone, go with Softbank as it can sell SIMs as opposed to au whose prepaid service is phone-based like most CDMA carriers. Prepaid phones use a "card" with a pass key to "charge" a phone with minutes. These prepaid calling cards, unlike the phone itself, can be found in most convenience stores. A prepaid cell phone is available for as little as ¥5000 plus ¥3000 for a 60-90 day call time package, which will get drained at a rate of ¥100 per minute (¥10 per 6 seconds for AU's prepaid service). Both SoftBank and AU offer prepaid phones.

Post

The Japanese postal service is excellent! Domestic and international mail service is very quick and reliable. The prices for sending letters, postcards and parcels vary depending on where you send if from and to which country you send it too, and of course depends on weight as well, so check this calculation page of Japan Post for more details. Post offices generally are open from 9:00am to 5:00pm on weekdays, closing at weekends and also on national holidays, though a few open on Saturdays from 9:00am to 3:00pm. Central post offices are sometimes open until 7:00pm, open on Saturdays from 9:00am to 5:00pm and on Sundays and holidays from 9:00am to 12:30pm. There are post offices in every major city and minor town. Another thing to remember is that the post office is one of the few places in Japan that is guaranteed to have ATMs that take international cards.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 35.4437078
  • Longitude: 139.6380256

Accommodation in Yokohama

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This is version 20. Last edited at 12:12 on Aug 18, 17 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

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