Anyone who’s been to Tokyo
will tell you it’s a very exciting place, especially for first-time visitors
. But if you’re looking for something different, maybe somewhere with a slower pace and can be covered in a day, look no further than the port city of Yokohama.
Located south of Tokyo, Yokohama is only a 30-minute express train ride from Shinjuku, Shibuya or Shinagawa. There are plenty of things to do here - and with our handy list, you’ll be able to get the most out of Japan’s second largest city in the least amount of time. (And then you can start planning your return visit!)
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1. Sankeien GardenCredit: Travel In Boots
This traditional Japanese-style garden should be the first thing that you visit once you’re in Yokohama City. Opened by silk merchant Sankei Hara in 1906, Sankeien Garden is home to ponds, small streams, bamboo groves and seasonal flowers.
Credit: Yokohama Japan
It’s popular among locals for its cherry blossoms
(in late March and April), pink lotus blossoms (July and August) and beautiful golden leaves in autumn
. A number of historic buildings were moved from across Japan
to Sankeien Garden, including a three-storied pagoda that was originally constructed in Kyoto in the mid-1400s! While you’re here, you can also enjoy Japanese green tea prepared by skillful master tea makers.
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9am - 5pm (Closed from December 29 to 31)Fees:
58-1 Honmokusannotani, Naka Ward, Yokohama
+81-45-621-0634 | Website
2. Cup Noodles MuseumCredit: Where on Earth
The Cup Noodles Museum is a fun and interactive museum that shows you the history of instant ramen noodles and the creative thinking of the man who’s responsible for it all - Momofuku Ando a.k.a. the father of instant ramen. Most of the explanations are in Japanese but you can pick up a free English translation headset from the front office.
[caption id="attachment_6885" align="alignnone" width="900"]
Instant Noodles History Cube is a room full of instant noodles packaging from Japan and around the world.[/caption]
The museum’s five floors house a gift shop, a theatre, a children’s playground, a replica of Momofuku Ando’s work shed, a noodles bazaar and best of all, a place to design and make your own instant cup noodles!Credit: U.S. Army Garrison Japan
For an extra 300 JPY, you get to design your own cup, select a soup base and determine four toppings to go with it. Although it’s not halal for our consumption (it may contain pork and alcohol), your very own creation makes an awesome souvenir!
There’s a prayer room with prayer mats and a Qibla compass on the sixth floor of Yokohama World Porters
, which is a short 5 minutes walk from the Cup Noodles Museum.
10am - 6pm (Closed from December 29 to 31)
2-3-4 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama
+81-45-345-0825 | Website
3. Yokohama Cosmoworld
Credit: Deep Japan
It’s hard to miss Yokohama Cosmoworld and its colourful ferris wheel as you exit the Cup Noodles Museum. Yokohama Cosmoworld is divided into three zones according to age appropriateness and unlike other amusement parks, there’sbno entrance charge. Instead, you pay only for the rides that tickle your fancy.
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If you’re pressed for time, head straight for the Cosmo Clock 21 ferris wheel. It has panoramic views of the entire region and Tokyo Bay. On very clear days you can even see Shinjuku and Mt. Fuji from the top.
11am - 9pm (Closed on Thursdays and some holidays)
: 300 and 500 JPY for kiddie rides, and 700 JPY for the adult rides
2-8-1, Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama
4. Yokohama Red Brick WarehouseCredit: TimeOut Tokyo
Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse comprises of two historic landmarks that were built in the early 1900s and have since been converted into one of Yokohama’s most popular family spots.
[caption id="attachment_6891" align="alignnone" width="900"]
The Art Rink is a major winter attraction at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse.[/caption]
Credit: The Japan Times
Inside the buildings are 40 unique shops and eating establishments, while numerous events take place outside throughout the year.
10am - 7pm (Building 1) and 11am - 8pm (Building 2)
1-1-2, Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama
+81-45-227-2002 | Website
5. Nana’s Green TeaCredit: Giphy
Love green tea?
Credit: Tiew Yee Poon
You can indulge in Japanese tea without worrying about the ingredients at Nana’s Green Tea
. There are five outlets in Yokohama, with one being right in the Yokohama Red Brick House. Some of their menu items are safe* for Muslims to consume, like the Matcha Latte, Soft Cream Shiroko, Warabi Mochi and Onigiri Setto. Check the menu here
Wondering what else is there to enjoy? Check out our list of halal food guides for Japan
11am to 9pm
1F Yokohama Redbrick Warehouse, 1-1-2 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama
+81-45-664-2707 | Website*Do note that these are not halal-certified, and we advise all readers to do their own checks on the ingredients and to purchase at your own discretion.6. Osanbashi Pier
[caption id="attachment_6889" align="alignnone" width="900"]
An interesting attraction even if you’re not boarding a cruise ship.][/caption]
Credit: Yuko Honda
Just a stone’s throw away from Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse is the Osanbashi International Passenger Terminal or better known as Osanbanshi Pier. Surrounded by the sea, the pier’s rooftop features wooden walkways that are perfect for a leisurely walk while taking in the best views of the Minato Mirai skyline. (And on very clear days you can even see Mount Fuji!)
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Open 24 hours a day
1-1-4, Kaigandori, Naka-ku, Yokohama
+81-45-227-2002 | Website
7. Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum
You see it on cooking channels and in animated films. Now that you’re in Japan, you need to satisfy those ramen cravings, right? What better place to visit than the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum.
Apart from showcasing the history of ramen, the museum serves all the kinds of ramen from all over Japan – without having to board a shinkansen.
[caption id="attachment_6890" align="alignnone" width="900"]
The museum recreates Tokyo in 1958, the year the Tokyo Tower was built and instant noodles were first introduced to the world.[/caption]
Credit: Niklas Barsk
Best of all, you can sample halal ramen here, thanks to the museum’s initiative in 2013 to introduce the “Global Standard Ramen” menu for vegetarian and Muslim visitors.
[Don't miss: The Ultimate Guide to Halal Ramen in Japan
: The museum has a prayer room equipped with a sink, prayer mat and Qibla compass so you don’t have to worry about looking for a place to pray.
11am - 11pm (Closed on year end and new year holidays)
2-14-21 Shinyokohama, Kohoku-ku, Yokohama
+81-45-471-0503 | Website
8. Reptiles Cafe
Credit: The Japan Times
Tired of cat cafes? It turns out that Yokohama has a reptile cafe where you can drink tea and munch on sweets in the company of snakes, tortoises, frogs and iguanas.
While you're at it, don't forget to check out these 4 other animal cafes in Tokyo
[caption id="attachment_6894" align="alignnone" width="960"]
All iguana do is have some fun…[/caption]
Credit: Hachurui Cafe
While there isn’t a cover charge or time limit, so as long as you pick something from their selection of Chinese-style teas and desserts, you can relax with your scaly friends for as long as you want.
Credit: Giphy Opening Hours:
11am to 7pm
2F, 8-133, Chojamachi, Naka-ku, Yokohama
+81-45-263-4015 | Website
The fun doesn’t have to stop there! If you have have more time in Yokohama, check out Motomachi Shopping Street, Anpanman Children’s Museum and Mall, Shomyoji Temple, Zoorasia Yokohama Zoological Gardens, and Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise. But I guess we'll have to cover these in another article. Happy exploring!