If you are traveling to Japan and are looking for welcoming and interesting cities to visit, you should definitely put Yokohama on your list!
Accessible via train from Tokyo (only 30 min from Shibuya), Yokohama is full of activities for families, friends, couples and even solo travelers. Whether you like to visit and learn new aspects of Japanese culture, lighten your wallet and go shopping, eat to your heart’s content, or Kanpai (cheers) with locals using your best Japanese, there is definitely something for everyone.
If you have already done some research on what to do in Yokohama, you probably found about the CupNoodle Museum (which is great for families! You can make you own personalized Cup Noodle and there are plenty of fun activities), the Ramen museum (in Shin-Yokohama: the atmosphere is great and you can try different mini bowls of Ramen) or the Chinatown area (a paradise for Chinese food). But if you’d like to go a bit deeper, here are a few ideas:
1 – Discover Japanese Traditional Art Performance at Yokohama Noh Theater
You probably have heard about Kabuki, but Noh is actually older. With 600 years of history, Noh is the oldest surviving theatrical art in Japan. It includes both music and dance performances in which the actors are wearing masks and costumes while performing in front of a group of musicians playing traditional instruments. And if you’ve never experienced this type of Japanese art before, you can start with Kyogen, which is the comedy version of Noh and is more accessible for newcomers.
Watching a Noh or Kyogen performance in Japan is a great way to feel the history and tradition of the country, and the Yokohama Noh Theater is a great place to do so! Just a 10-min. walk from Sakuragichō Station, it’s really easy to access and the main stage is amazing.
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We totally recommend that you to go on the second Sunday of the month, the designated “Day of Kyogen.” On this day, you can enjoy two performances followed by a talk from the artist about the plays. The ticket price is not expensive (around ¥2000) and this is easy to access for the uninitiated.
Be sure to check the upcoming events on the Yokohama Noh Theater official website: http://ynt.yafjp.org/en/schedule/
2 – Take in the Scene at Sankeien Garden, a Stunning Japanese-style Garden
Created by Sankei Hara, this spacious garden (about 175,000 square meters) is divided in 2 parts: the outer garden, which has been opened to the public in 1906, and the inner garden that was used privately by Sankei. Designated as a “place of scenic beauty” by Japan in 2007, this garden exhibits a lot of historical houses and buildings relocated from Kyoto and Kamakura, among other places.
The park is outstanding, and if you’re in the social media game, this is definitely an “instagrammable place”: you can find small waterfalls, Japanese-style bridges, beautiful flowers, bamboo groves, adorable cats taking naps on the grass, serene-looking ponds, pagodas, and so much more. The park scenery changes every season, and if you’re traveling during the Cherry Blossom season or during the fall, be sure to go there for great Sakura and Momiji shots! You can find the program for the entire year here: https://www.sankeien.or.jp/en-event/15.html
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After an enjoyable walk outside, you can go inside the Kakushokaku building to explore some Traditional Craft Exhibitions, and learn more about local artisans such as a Kimono maker, Bamboo craft maker, Tamami mat maker etc.
And because the best way to end a great stroll in a park is having a cup of traditional Japanese tea, be sure to enjoy a Matcha experience at Boutoutei. In a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere, you’ll have a perfect cup of Matcha paired with Japanese confectionery, plus you’ll have the chance to learn how to enjoy Japanese Tea Ceremony in the traditional way. [vc_gallery interval=”3″ images=”40103,40105,40104,40106″ img_size=”full”]
The Park is open from 9 am to 5 pm (last entry at 4:40 pm) every day except from December 29 to 31. The entry fees are 700 yen for adults (15 years old and above) and 200 yen for children. The Address is: 58-1, Honmoku Sannotani, naka-ku, Yokohama 231-0824 Japan
3 – Discover Japan’s First Seaside Park: Yamashita Park
Stretching about 750 meters along Yokohama’s waterfront, the Yamashita Park is one of the most famous parks of the city. It was created as part of a reconstruction project after the Great Kanto Earthquake and is a perfect place to chill for a bit with a great view of the sea, far from the hustle and bustle of busy city life. [vc_gallery interval=”3″ images=”40134,40132,40135,40101,40102″ img_size=”full”] From there, you will be able to see the impressive Hikawa Maru ship, which is now a floating museum. You can also enjoy beautiful roses in the rose garden, see cute dogs having fun, and to grab snacks at the popular “Happy Lawson” convenient store. On a nice day, this promenade is the perfect way to go from Osanbashi to Minato Mirai, and it’s also a very family-friendly spot to go with your kids.
4 – Enjoy a night landscape at Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse
What’s better than enjoying the end of the day with a delicious drink? Having a delicious drink with a view of course! The Red Brick Warehouse (a.k.a. “Renga Soko”) is nice to visit during the day, but it’s even better at night. For those who want to see Yokohama’s skyline with all the lights and beautiful colors that it has to offer, we recommend going to the TUNE Balcony, Dining & Bar. Located at the 3rd floor, this is the perfect spot for a great night view. You just need to order the seasonal fruit cocktail, let your body merge with the comfy sofa and enjoy!
If you are on a romantic date and would like to impress your partner, the Motion Blue is a great place to enjoy drinks while listening to live music. Dim lights, jazz concerts, refreshing drinks and delicious dishes with your beloved, that’s what we call paradise! There are a lot of festivals and events at the Red Brick Warehouse, so be sure to check the official website to see if there is something happening during your trip: https://www.yokohama-akarenga.jp/event/ [vc_single_image image=”40109″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”]
5- Enjoy Local Vibes and Authentic Atmosphere in the Noge area
Small bars, eateries, mini karaoke shops (called “snacks”), this is what the Noge area is all about, and trust us when we say that this is the is the perfect way to close off a day in Yokohama. Often compared to the Golden Gai area of Tokyo, you will sometimes have to pass by the entrance to each location in order to understand what’s happening inside. But compared to Golden Gai, you won’t find as many tourists in the Noge area, which still has a clientele consisting mainly of locals. Don’t be shy and be sure to try a few places in Noge during your trip in Yokohama! Even if you don’t speak Japanese, you’ll have a great time in this blast-from-the-past neighborhood. Yokohama is also a great spot for beer lovers. If you’re into craft beers, then be sure to check this Craft Beer map: http://www.welcome.city.yokohama.jp/ja/tourism/beer/map/ According to Yokohama residents, you only need 3 days to become a Yokohama citizen. Which says a lot about how warm and welcoming they are! There are tons of activities to do there, so maybe 3 days would be a good start to plentifully enjoy the charm of the city and the local hospitality. We were just there a few days ago and we already can’t wait to go back! Discover the beauty of Yokohama on the official Instagram account: @findyouryokohama_japan
Be sure to join our 3-hour food tour in Shinjuku and experience Golden Gai before your trip to Yokohama, so you’ll be 100% ready to hangout in Noge Area!