When Amir and I visited Yokohama a couple of weeks ago, we both fell in love with the city. It was the first time either of us had been there, and we were quickly charmed by Yokohama - from its views and attractions to its overall vibe.
If you haven’t visited Yokohama yet, we highly, highly recommend that you do! The city is easily accessible from Tokyo and has so much to offer. Plus, the city is amazingly Muslim-friendly, with plenty of eateries offering halal food as well as prayer spaces available. To help you get the most out of your visit to the city, we’ve come up with the ultimate guide to Yokohama for Muslim travellers ?
Overview of Yokohama
Did you know that Yokohama is the second-largest city in Japan by population? It’s located south of Tokyo, within the Kanagawa Prefecture. It is best known for having one of Japan’s largest ports with strong historical significance - it’s opening in the mid-19th century basically opened Japan up to the world through foreign trade ?
Given Yokohama’s close location to Tokyo (only half an hour away by train), it’s a popular weekend or day trip destination for those that reside there. It’s also a lovely spot for those visiting Tokyo to take an excursion to!
For most travellers to Japan, Yokohama is accessible through Tokyo, with transportation easily available from both of Tokyo’s major airports, Narita International Airport as well as Haneda Airport. However, it’s worth noting that Haneda Airport is a lot closer to Yokohama (about 25 - 30 minutes drive away) as compared to Narita (about 1.5 hours drive away), so for those heading directly to Yokohama, it may make more sense to land in Haneda Airport.
There are a number of airlines servicing direct routes between Haneda Airport from Singapore (SIA, JAL and ANA), Kuala Lumpur (AirAsia, ANA) and Jakarta (Garuda and ANA).
Where to stay
One of my favourite things about Yokohama is how compact it is, in the sense that a lot of the main attractions are within walking distance from one another, or at the very most just a short train ride away. A number of key attractions such as Yokohama Cosmo World, Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, and the CUPNOODLES Museum are clustered within the area of Minato Mirai 21.
If you’re visiting Yokohama for the first time and will likely be visiting these main attractions, it makes sense to stay within or around the vicinity of Minato Mirai. A lot of Yokohama’s hotels are clustered around a few locations in and around Minato Mirai, which we’ll cover below.
Minato Mirai 21
Minato Mirai area, home to the Nippon Maru Memorial Park (pictured here)
The Minato Mirai 21 area (also known as just Minato Mirai) is located along the waterfront. Hotels in this area offer easy access to many of Yokohama’s main attractions, along with amazing harbourfront views of the city, with plenty of shops and eateries available. In addition, it is serviced by two train stations, the Minatomirai (Minatomirai line) and the Sakuragicho (JR and Blue subway lines) stations. However, it also tends to be the priciest area to stay. Hotels right by the waterfront such as the InterContinental or the Yokohama Bay Hotel can go for at least SGD165 or RM500 per night.
Another cluster of hotels is around the Kannai area, particularly around Kannai station. This area is within walking distance to many of the same attractions in the Minato Mirai 21 area, and it’s often a popular choice with tourists given the cheaper prices of the hotels, which are more mid-range.
My hotel room at APA Hotel Yokohama-Kannai
We stayed here during our time in Yokohama, specifically at APA Hotel Yokohama-Kannai. The hotel is part of the APA chain of hotels which has over 450 hotels all across Japan. The room was small (as with most hotel rooms in Japan), but it’s conveniently located just a few minutes walk away from Kannai station, and there are many convenience stores and eateries located around the hotel.
Yamashita Park & Chinatown
Chinatown and Yamashita Park are two areas located adjacent to the Kannai area, with Yamashita Park located along the waterfront. These areas collectively have a mix of mid-range to higher-end hotels and are also a popular area to stay - Yamashita Park is a green space filled with landscaped gardens and a walking path by the seaside that’s very scenic, while Chinatown is an area filled with shops and eateries that make for a vibrant place to explore.
Rose garden in Yamashita Park
Around Yokohama Station
Yokohama Station is a major railway interchange for the city which is also connected to Yokohama City Air Terminal (the bus and shuttle terminal), making it a major transport hub. Here, you’ll find the area buzzing with commercial activity, with malls like Sogo and Takashimaya located right by the stations, as well as more shopping streets all around. Given that Yokohama Station is one of the busiest stations in Japan (and the world!), the area is certainly one that has constant hustle and bustle.
While there are some hotels in the area, there are fewer options compared to Kannai, Chinatown and Yamashita Park areas, with prices going from mid-range to high-end.
Assuming that it’s your first time to the city and you’ll be exploring many of the main attractions Yokohama is known for, it makes sense to stay somewhere closer to the Minato Mirai area. Given that the hotels in Minato Mirai itself may be quite pricey, a hotel somewhere nearer to either the Sakuragicho or Kannai stations would be your best bet, as they tend to be cheaper while still being within walking proximity to the attractions. In addition, Amir and I found the more quiet and mellow vibe of the Kannai area where we stayed to be very enjoyable.
Getting around Yokohama
It should come as no surprise that Yokohama has a very thorough and efficient public transport system, which makes getting around the city easy. However, as with Tokyo, the sheer number of different train lines can sometimes be a little confusing (especially for first-timers to Japan), so a little research before your trip can be helpful to know what to expect. Here are some of the main things you need to know:
From the airport to Yokohama
If you’re heading from either airport in Tokyo straight to Yokohama, two of the most common (and cheapest!) methods are by taking either the airport limousine bus or the train.
Narita Airport to Yokohama Station
There’s a bus that goes from Narita Airport to Yokohama City Air Terminal (YCAT) - you can see the full schedule for bus timings here. Tickets cost 3,700 yen per adult and 1,850 yen per child. It takes about 1.5 hours to reach YCAT, and from there you can take the train to the station closest to your hotel.
If opting for the train, you can take the Narita Express, or N’EX, direct to Yokohama Station. Tickets cost 4,290 yen per person for ordinary cars or 5,380 yen for Green cars (i.e. First Class cars). The journey takes around 1 hour 20 minutes. However, an awesome option is the N’EX Tokyo Round Trip Ticket, a special pass targeted for foreign visitors where you get a round trip on the N’EX (for ordinary seats) between Narita Airport to select stations in the Tokyo metropolitan area for only 4,000 yen for adults and 2,000 yen for children! The applicable stations include Yokohama station, so it’s a super convenient and one of the most affordable options to get from Narita Airport to Yokohama. Read more about the ticket here.
Haneda Airport to Yokohama Station or Minato Mirai
Bus ticket from Haneda Airport to YCAT
Similar to Narita, you can take the bus from Haneda Airport to Yokohama city. There’s a direct route to YCAT that costs 580 yen per adult (or 290 yen per child) and takes around 45 minutes. Alternatively, if you’re staying in Minato Mirai, there’s also a bus route that goes to Minato Mirai, stopping along many of the main tourist attractions and hotels such as The Yokohama Bay Hotel and the InterContinental. This route costs 720 yen per adult (360 yen per child). It also passes by Yamashita Park, so if you’re staying there you can consider this route too! You can buy tickets for the bus at the ticketing counter located right near the arrivals area after exiting customs.
Riding the bus from Haneda Airport
The buses depart regularly from the bus stops located at the airport (there’s clear signage, so it should be easy to locate). Make sure you wait at the correct bus stop - they are numbered accordingly and your ticket will state which number bus stop to wait at. Porters will be on hand to help put your luggage in the luggage hold.
If you’re taking the train, the Keikyu line runs from Haneda Airport (with a station located at the international terminal) to Yokohama.
From Tokyo to Yokohama
Trains are the most common option to get from Tokyo to Yokohama, with several train lines servicing routes between the cities. Depending on which station you depart from in Tokyo (there are routes available from Tokyo, Shinjuku, Shibuya and Shinagawa stations, to name a few), the journey takes around 20 - 30 minutes and can cost anywhere between 200 - 500 yen.
A lot of the main attractions in Yokohama are within walking distance from one another, particularly in the Minato Mirai area. Other attractions that may be located further away are usually accessible by train.
To use public transport in Yokohama (be it train or bus), you can purchase paper tickets at the automated vending machines.
Subway ticket purchased at Yokohama station
#HHWT Tip: When buying tickets at the automated machines, you’ll be required to choose your ticket based on the fare amount to get to your intended station. The fare amounts for the different stations are usually displayed on a signboard above the vending machines. So for example, when I was at Yokohama Station and needed to buy a ticket to Kannai Station, I checked the fare to get to Kannai Station on the signboard above the vending machine (which was 210 yen). I then proceeded to choose my ticket at the vending machine by selecting the option for 210 yen.
Alternatively, you can also use IC cards (prepaid cards) - in Yokohama, the two most widely-used IC Cards are Suica and Pasmo. You can top-up the cards at the automated machines located at stations.
Akai Kutsu Bus
Akai Kutsu is a sightseeing bus that loops through Yokohama, with two routes available - one that goes through the Minato Mirai area, and one that goes to Chinatown and Motomachi. You can choose to take either a one-time ride on the bus (220 yen per adult or 110 yen per child), or you can opt for a day ticket and hop on and off the bus at your leisure (600 yen per adult or 300 yen per child). Passengers with IC cards can also use their card and get slightly cheaper fares! You can read more about the Akai Kutsu bus here.
#HHWT Tip: For those planning to take the Akai Kutsu, you may want to consider the Minato Burari Ticket. This ticket is targeted for visitors to Yokohama and grants unlimited access for one day on Yokohama’s municipal buses and subway (Blue line) within a designated area which includes Minato Mirai. In addition, the Minato Burari ticket offers special discounts or offers at various attractions and stores, including notable ones like Nippon Maru and Yokohama Port Museum, Yokohama Cosmo World and Sky Garden at Yokohama Landmark Tower. The ticket costs 500 yen for adults and 250 yen for children. Please note that there is another variation of the ticket (called Minato Burari Ticket Wide) which also offers roundtrip access on the subway to Shin-Yokohama station) and costs slightly more, so don’t get confused between the two! Read more about the ticket here.
For first-timers to Yokohama, here are some of the attractions you can’t miss!
Nippon Maru & Yokohama Port Museum
Nippon Maru is a sailing vessel dating back to the 1930s which now serves as part of the Yokohama Port Museum, which is located in Nippon Maru Memorial Park in Minato Mirai. The ship was used to train naval cadets and has been beautifully preserved to showcase Yokohama’s maritime history.
In the steering room of the Nippon Maru
The ship is located right across from the Yokohama Port Museum building. You can choose to go see just the ship or just the museum respectively, or you can opt for a combo ticket to access both the ship and the museum. We had a chance to explore the Nippon Maru and loved it! You can board the ship and explore sections of the boat from its top deck all the way to the lower decks below. It’s a fascinating glimpse into what life at sea would have been like for sailors back then, and it was cool to see how everything has been preserved, like a time capsule for that period. It does require climbing up and down steep stairs, so it’s probably not the most suitable activity for those with mobility issues.
#HHWT Tip: The ship looks at its finest (and best for pictures) when its sails are unfurled. This is done once a month on specific dates or for special occasions - while we couldn’t find this info available online, you can check at the ticket counter when purchasing tickets, where the info is displayed. Based on what we saw during our visit, the upcoming dates for 2019 are on 25 August, 16 & 29 September, 14 & 27 October, and 4 & 17 November.
We were also pleasantly surprised to find out that there’s a prayer space available at the museum! It is located in a small room right beside the information centre in the museum building (right across from Nippon Maru). A prayer mat and compass are provided, though you’ll need to bring your own prayer garments. You can take ablutions at the washroom around the corner from the information centre.
Opening hours: Tue - Sun, 10am - 5pm (closed on Mon)
- Single ticket (for either Nippon Maru or the museum): 400 yen (adult); 200 yen (child)
- Combo ticket (for both Nippon Maru and the museum): 600 yen (adult); 300 yen (child)
Address: 2 Chome-1-1 Minatomirai, Nishi Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 220-0012, Japan
Sky Garden At Yokohama Landmark Tower
If you're looking for a fantastic view of the city, look no further than Sky Garden at Yokohama Landmark Tower. This observation deck located on the 69th floor of the tallest building in Yokohama is the perfect spot to see the city from up above.
Yokohama on a cloudy day. The views on a clear day with blue skies would be stunning!
When we visited, the skies were unfortunately cloudy, but we still got great views! If you visit on a clear day, you can see all the way to Tokyo and even get a glimpse of Mount Fuji ?
Opening hours: Sun - Fri, 10am - 9pm; Sat, 10am - 10pm
Entrance fee: Adult (1,000 yen), High school students (800 yen), Elementary school students (500 yen), From 4 years old (200 yen)
Address: 69th Floor, Yokohama Landmark Tower, 2 Chome-2-1 Minatomirai, Nishi Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 220-8169, Japan (it’s right beside the Nippon Maru)
Yokohama Cosmo World
One of Yokohama's most famous landmarks is Cosmo Clock 21, a Ferris wheel that’s the largest one in the world with a clock function! This famous attraction that's a distinct part of the city's skyline is located in Yokohama Cosmo World, a theme park that’s less than 10 minutes walk from Yokohama Landmark Tower.
Diving Coaster Vanish going into the underwater tunnel
The theme park is small but has a nice collection of rides. Besides Cosmo Clock 21, the must-try ride has to be Diving Coaster Vanish, a rollercoaster that has a section which goes into a tube underwater! Don't worry, you won't get wet ?
The best part about Cosmo World is the fact that admission is free! Instead, you pay for whichever rides you want to take. You can purchase tickets for the rides at the ticket counter located in the middle of the park.
Opening hours: Mon - Tue, Fri, 11am - 9pm; Sat & Sun, 11am - 10pm; closed on Thu
Entrance fee: Free (rides cost between 600 - 900 yen per ride)
Address: 2 Chome-8-1 Shinko, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa231-0001, Japan
Yokohama World Porters
Located right across from the main entrance of Cosmo World is Yokohama World Porters, a shopping mall with stores selling a variety of goods, from toys to clothing, furniture, household products, and more.
Information counter at the second floor of Yokohama World Porters
Besides having a restaurant offering halal food (Sario, which we’ll cover in further detail below!), the mall also conveniently has a prayer room for Muslim visitors! It is located on the sixth floor, though you’ll need to go to the information counter located on the second floor first to sign in and get the passcode required to access the prayer room.
From the information counter, take the closest elevator to the sixth floor, then head left after exiting the elevators and walk to the end, where you’ll find the room located next to the Yokohama World Business Support Center. There are ablution facilities located around the corner from the room, and prayer mats and prayer garments are provided ?
Opening hours: 10.30am - 9.30pm daily
Entrance fee: Free
Address: 2 Chome-2-1 Shinko, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0001, Japan
Did you know that Yokohama has a museum dedicated to the inventor of instant noodles, Momofuku Ando and the company he founded, Nissin Food Products?
Display of instant noodle product packagings that have been produced over the years
The attraction is a wonderfully engaging facility that’s part museum, part interactive art space. There’s one whole room devoted to all the different types of instant noodles produced by Nissin displayed in chronological order, while another room houses an impressive sculpture of a Cup Noodles with its contents splashed to the ceiling.
There are also areas where you can try your hand at making chicken ramen noodles or even make your own customised Cup Noodles to bring home!
For a fee of 300 yen per cup, you’ll be able to draw your own design on the cup, choose your soup base, and also choose four toppings to include. The cup will then be sealed and you’ll be able to bring it home! Please note that the ingredients for the Cup Noodles are non-Muslim-friendly, hence you won’t be able to consume it. However, we did it anyway just for the fun experience, plus it would be a cool souvenir to give non-Muslim friends ?
Opening hours: Wed - Mon, 10am - 6pm (closed on Tue)
Entrance fee: Adult (500 yen); children in high school and younger (free) - additional fees are required for activities including Chicken Ramen Factory, My Cup Noodles Factory, and Cup Noodles Park
Address: 2 Chome-3-4 Shinko, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0001, Japan
Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse
Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse is a shopping mall and event space located in two warehouses that used to serve the port in the early 1900s. This iconic structure, which is also known by the name Akarenga, is easily recognisable thanks to its red brick exterior which makes for beautiful photos!
Desserts from Nana’s Green Tea
While the outside is eye-catching, inside the warehouses you’ll find shops selling all sorts of goods from souvenirs to artisanal crafts, clothing, accessories, and so much more. In Warehouse 2, you’ll also find several eateries all located on the first floor, though unfortunately, we couldn’t spot any that were Muslim-friendly, with the exception of Nana’s Green Tea, where we had some delicious matcha and black sesame seed-flavoured desserts. Based on our checks with staff, the desserts are made with Muslim-friendly ingredients that are free from pork, alcohol and lard, though we do recommend that you dine at your own discretion.
Both warehouses have three floors, though Warehouse 1 is bigger and filled with more stores. We spent a long time perusing the various products, especially locally-made products like silk scarves, coin purses and folding fans! It’s a great place to look for something a little special to bring home from Yokohama ?
Opening hours: 11am - 8pm daily
Entrance fee: Free
Address: 1 Chome-1 Shinko, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0001, Japan
Marine & Walk
The main entrance of Marine & Walk
A short walk away from Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse is Marine & Walk, a seaside mall and community space filled with eateries, upscale boutique stores and artsy features. This spot is a trendy hangout place among locals and it’s easy to see why - the hipster vibe of Marine & Walk is very apparent ?
Angel wings at Marine & Walk - there’s more than one painted on the walls there!
It’s easy to fall for the stylish, laid-back charm of Marine & Walk. The painted walls, the industrial-chic decor, and the fashionable boutiques are a great place to browse around (and take photos for Instagram!).
I loved the unique cutlery and ceramic ware I saw at the store Community Mill
The other thing I loved was the assortment of goods sold in the shops there, from clothing to homeware and decorative items, including local indie brands. While prices tend to be a little more pricey, if you’re looking for a high-quality item or a one-of-a-kind gift to bring home, chances are you’ll be able to find it here! Once you’re done shopping, take a leisurely stroll along the seaside-facing walkway.
Opening hours: 11am - 8pm daily
Entrance fee: Free
Address:1 Chome-3-1 Shinko, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0001, Japan
Osanbashi Pier is the oldest pier in Yokohama, constructed in the early 1800s. Today, it is still used as a pier where international passenger vessels such as cruise ships dock. The modern-day Osanbashi pier is a vast structure that has been designed to also be a recreational area, with walking paths and open space that's beautiful to behold, with a great view of Minato Mirai.
It's a lovely experience to walk leisurely along the pier. You'll see many locals (especially couples!) walking or just hanging out there. It's the perfect spot to take some photos too - the architectural details of the pier call for some epic shots!
#HHWT Tip: If you come to Osanbashi Pier at night, you’ll get the amazing night time views of the Minato Mirai area that have become an iconic sight of Yokohama.
Opening hours: 9am - 9.30pm daily
Entrance fee: Free
Address: 1 Chome-1-4 Kaigandori, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0002, Japan
Hikawa Maru, an ocean liner from the 1930s
If you walk along the waterfront from Osanbashi Pier, you’ll walk across Yamashita Park, a 750-metre park that stretches alongside the sea. This park is filled with beautifully landscaped gardens and also has an old ocean liner, the Hikawa Maru, permanently docked there.
Amir and I had visited Yamashita Park as a spontaneous decision after meeting a Malaysian family while having lunch in Chinatown who recommended us to go there (thanks Abang Azmil and Kak Shilla!). And boy, were we glad that we did! We were pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful rose garden, right in full view of the Hikawa Maru.
The park is yet another lovely place to stroll in Yokohama - the walking path is large and spacious, with views of the sea. If you have ample time, you can even visit the Hikawa Maru, which has been converted into a maritime museum open to the public (with an admission fee of 300 yen).
Opening hours: 24 hours
Entrance fee: Free
Address: 279 Yamashitacho, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0023, Japan
Kanteibyo Temple - one of two Chinese temples located in Chinatown
Did you know that Yokohama is home to the largest Chinatown in Japan? When Yokohama's port opened, traders that came from China settled within this area and thus, Yokohama’s Chinatown was born. While the area has grown smaller over the years, filled with businesses rather than actual Chinese residents, it remains a vibrant landmark in Yokohama, bustling with shops and eateries that make for a fun area to explore.
Browsing through colourful traditional socks at one of the many souvenir shops in Chinatown
Coming from countries with their own respective Chinatowns, it was interesting for Amir and I to see how they compared to the Chinatown in Yokohama. We found that while the neighbourhood is steeped in Chinese culture, there seems to be a strong fusion with local (i.e. Japanese) culture as compared to back home. For example, despite selling Chinese food or products, the storekeepers and customers all spoke in Japanese, and it was hard to tell if any of the store owners were actually of Chinese descent.
Nevertheless, it was exciting to explore the winding alleys of Chinatown. There are many stalls selling popular Chinese foods such as dumplings, bubble tea, and mooncakes (though unfortunately, it was hard for us to clearly identify any that were Muslim-friendly), plus a number of souvenir shops too.
#HHWT Tip: If you’re taking a train to visit Chinatown, the closest stations are Motomachi-Chukagai Station along the Minato Mirai Line or the Ishikawacho Station along the JR Negishi Line.
Opening hours: 24 hours
Entrance fee: Free
Address: 279 Yamashitacho, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0023, Japan
Asobuild (also known as Asobiru) is a relatively new development in Yokohama and a pretty interesting one! This building that was formerly part of the Yokohama Post Office has been converted into a play area, shopping and entertainment facility. Fun fact: the name Asobuild comes from the combination of the Japanese word ‘asobu’, which means to play, and the word building!
Asobuild has six floors, each with a different attraction. The top floor is a multi-sports court, while the first floor and basement floor are filled with eateries (though unfortunately, we couldn’t identify any that are Muslim-friendly). The fourth floor is a kids park called PuChu!, filled with play areas and activities for young ones.
The third floor houses Monotory, a space dedicated to handicraft workshops for making pottery, accessories, leather items, and much more. The workshops are all in Japanese, unfortunately, but fret not - they also sell various handicrafts that are lovely to browse through and would be a great souvenir to bring home!
The second floor has Ale-Box, an art exhibition area that hosts various temporary and permanent interactive art shows. When we visited, we caught an exhibition called Unko Museum (on until 30 September), which literally translates to ‘Poop Museum’ ? It was dedicated to transforming the perception that poop is gross and filled with whimsical poop-themed art installations.
Overall, we were charmed by the artsy nature of Asobuild and its existence to encourage art and playfulness in Yokohama.
Opening hours: 10am - 10pm daily
Entrance fee: Free (additional fees may be required for specific activities on each floor)
Address: 2 Chome-14-9 Takashima, Nishi Ward, Yokohama Kanagawa 220-0011, Japan (closest station is Yokohama Station - head through the Southeast exit to get to Asobuild)
Where to find halal food in Yokohama
One thing that’s really awesome about Yokohama is all the effort they have been putting in to make the city more Muslim-friendly for tourists. As a matter of fact, did you know that the city has produced a Muslim guide to Yokohama that details eateries offering Muslim-friendly meals, prayer spaces, and even a handy language guide with Japanese phrases to show restaurant staff to clarify whether their dishes are suitable for Muslims to consume? ?
#HHWT Tip: You can print out the guide from the online PDF, or alternatively you can visit the tourist information centres located at the Yokohama and Sakuragicho stations to pick up hard copies there. We also spotted the guide at the prayer room at Yokohama World Porters. The Yokohama tourism website also has a Muslim section that has useful information, so do check it out!
As you can see from the guide, there’s no shortage of eateries offering halal food options in Yokohama, and the best part is that you’ll be able to indulge in local cuisine too! We managed to eat at a number of Muslim-friendly eateries, which we’re excited to share with you here.
Sario (Yokohama World Porters)
Sario is a Chinese/Japanese restaurant with a special Muslim-friendly menu offering dishes made using halal ingredients. Please note that Sario does serve non-halal food, however, its Muslim-friendly dishes are prepared separately, using different cookware and utensils. For tableware, the restaurant shares its dishes, however, they are sanitised appropriately. You can also request for disposable plates/bowls if you prefer.
Sario’s Muslim-friendly menu includes dishes such as ramen, Japanese curry with rice, mabo tofu with rice, and butter chicken. We tried the ramen as well as the beef bowl, Japanese curry and mabo tofu sets, and found them to be tasty and overall value for money! The availability of a prayer room at Yokohama World Porters and the Muslim-friendly Sario makes it a great spot to take a break while exploring Minato Mirai.
#HHWT Tip: There is also an outlet of Sario located at Yokohama Chinatown (143 Yamashitacho, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0023, Japan).
Halal status: Muslim-friendly menu available with dishes made using halal ingredients. Please note that non-halal dishes are also served here, however, the Muslim-friendly dishes are prepared with separate cookware and utensils. We recommend that you dine at your own discretion.
Average price: 700 - 800 yen per dish
Opening hours: 10.30am - 10pm daily
Address: 1st Floor, Yokohama World Porters,2 Chome-2-1 Shinko, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0001, Japan
Minato is the sister restaurant to Matsuri, a well-known halal eatery in Osaka. The restaurant’s dishes are all made using fully halal ingredients, and with such an extensive menu, it was hard to choose! HHWT’s very own Faruq and Luqman have eaten there before, so we spotted a familiar sign at the door ?
We ended up trying a selection of dishes, and one of my favourites was easily the takoyaki - so tender and flavourful ? Amir enjoyed the assorted cutlets (deep fried vegetables and shrimp), as well as the yakisoba.
The restaurant also has a small prayer area available. There’s a sink available to take ablution, and prayer mats and prayer garments are provided.
Halal status: Dishes made using halal ingredients. Please note that alcoholic beverages are available here. We recommend that you dine at your own discretion.
Average price: 500 -800 yen per dish
Opening hours: 11am - 2pm, 5pm - 11.30pm daily
Address: 1F & B1F, Yokohama Newport Building, 194 Yamashitacho, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0023, Japan
If you’re looking for something a little special, Minokichi perfectly fits the bill. This established restaurant located in Yokohama Landmark Tower serves kaiseki (a traditional high-end, multi-course Japanese meal), with dishes particularly from Kyoto.
The restaurant serves non-halal food, however, you can book your meal in advance and Minokichi will cater to your preferences, including halal food, based on the availability of ingredients. When we visited, we were served a seafood-only meal, which was prepared free from alcohol or any other Japanese condiments that include alcohol such as mirin.
The meal was served elegantly in lacquered boxes and included a full spread of noodles, rice, tempura, sashimi and vegetable side dishes.
Halal status: Can request for Muslim-friendly meals (please book at least three days in advance - you can call or book online). Please note that alcoholic beverages are available here. We recommend that you dine at your own discretion.
Average price: 2,000 yen per person
Opening hours: 11am - 10pm daily
Address: 4F Landmark Plaza, 2 Chome-2-1 Minatomirai, Nishi Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 220-8104, Japan
Contact no.: +81 45-222-5420 (please note that English-speaking staff may not always be present. You may also book your table online - please indicate your preference for halal/Muslim-friendly meals in the comments section)
Port Terrace Cafe
Port Terrace Cafe is a cafeteria-style restaurant located in the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) building, located just down the road from the CUPNOODLES Museum.
Signs showing dishes available - bottom right corner will have an indication whether halal ingredients are used
The cafe serves a range of dishes, of which a good number include dishes made using halal ingredients. The restaurant has an interesting system - outside the entrance is a display area with signs showing every dish available. The sign will indicate whether the dish uses halal ingredients, or whether it’s non-halal. In front of each sign is a small bowl filled with tokens. If you want to order a particular dish, you pick up a token and proceed to the cashier to order and pay for your meal before picking it up at the service counters.
The dishes comprise mainly international fare, with dishes available from Thailand, India, Mexico, Jamaica and more - it’s a nice break from Japanese food if you’re missing different flavours! The cafe also has an outdoor terrace where you can sit and get some scenic views while you eat your meal.
Halal status: Dishes made using halal ingredients are available.
Average price: 600 - 800 yen per dish
Opening hours: 11.30am - 2pm; 5.30pm - 9pm daily (last order at 8.30pm)
Address: 3F JICA Yokohama, 2 Chome-3-1 Shinki, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0001, Japan
Malay Asian Cuisine
Missing the tastes of home? Well don’t worry, Malay Asian Cuisine is here to satisfy all your Malaysian food cravings. This eatery located close to Chinatown serves up Malaysian favourites like chicken rice, char kuey teow, laksa and nasi lemak. They have Malaysian chefs cooking the meals, so you can rest assured it’ll taste like the real thing!
We enjoyed the food and were pleasantly surprised to see many locals eating at the restaurant (though do note, as with most eateries in Japan, the flavours are adapted to local tastes, so don’t expect anything super spicy!). And if you forgot to pack your must-have supplies of food from home, you’ll be pleased to know the restaurant sells some favourites like Brahim’s packed food, Ayam Brand sardines, and kicap manis.
Halal status: All dishes made using halal ingredients. Please note that alcoholic beverages are available. We recommend that you dine at your own discretion.
Average price: 800 - 1,000 yen per dish
Opening hours: 11am – 2.30pm; 5pm – 9.30pm daily (Closed on Mon)
Address: 82-3 Yamashitacho, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0023, Japan
Mrs Istanbul (International Terminal, Haneda Airport)
It’s worth mentioning that if you’re travelling through Haneda Airport and want to grab a meal, there’s a halal eatery called Mrs Istanbul serving up Turkish kebabs and dishes available at the international terminal.
The eatery is part of the food hall located on the fourth floor (one floor up from the floor where the check-in counters are located). It’s located above where the J and I check-in rows are located.
#HHWT Tip: Haneda Airport also has a prayer room available in the international terminal located on the third floor (same floor as check-in counters). Head to the L check-in row, which is at the end. The prayer room is located nearby. There are two rooms available, and you’ll need to press the intercom, following which the door will be unlocked for you remotely.
Where and what can one buy from Yokohama to bring back as souvenirs? Many of the attractions we’ve highlighted above (such as Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, Chinatown, Marine & Walk and Sky Garden at Yokohama Landmark Tower) have variations of stores selling souvenirs or knick-knacks that would be great to bring home. But you can also check some of these other stores we came across during our visit.
Japanese discount and household stores
Doraemon chopsticks and cutlery set? Yes, please!
Don’t forget to also check out popular Japanese stores that you can browse to bring back some cute (and affordable) goodies, such as Donki and Tokyo Hands (both of which have outlets available near Yokohama Station). We dropped by Donki during our visit, where I fell in love with the cute lunch boxes and cutlery sets.
Hard Rock Cafe Shop
We also visited the Hard Rock Cafe shop, which is located in Queen’s Tower (a building that’s connected to Yokohama Landmark Tower). This standalone store next to the restaurant sells a variety of Yokohama-specific Hard Rock Cafe gear that would be a treat for someone who likes to collect Hard Rock merchandise.
Amir opted for something completely unique to bring home - a Yokohama Baystars jersey! If you’re familiar with Japan, you’ll know that baseball is a big deal here (similar to how football leagues like the English Premier League are famous back home), and the Yokohama Baystars are the city’s beloved baseball team. While we were in Yokohama there was a baseball game happening almost every night at the Yokohama Stadium, so Amir decided he wanted a jersey to commemorate the trip! There’s a Baystore located right at the stadium selling all kinds of merchandise. They can be quite pricey (a jersey can cost around 8,000 yen) but you can be sure that you’ll have a pretty awesome item to bring home!
And there you have it, folks - the ultimate guide to Yokohama for Muslim travellers! Suffice to say, having visited Yokohama for ourselves, we have grown terribly fond of this chill and laid-back city. Amir and I were sad to leave Yokohama, we really wished we could have stayed longer to soak in the atmosphere of the city and explore further. But we’ll be back someday, InsyaAllah! And in the meantime, we hope this inspires you to visit this Muslim-friendly city and see its charms for yourself ?