Since Yokohama is the second-largest city in Japan, you can almost sure that there will be plenty of things to do in Yokohama city to keep you entertained. And this is a city like no other in Japan. It was one of the first Japanese ports to open to foreign trade, and among the top attractions to visit in Yokohama are its large Chinatown and the Cup Noodles Museum.
Given its proximity to the capital, with it being just a 45-minute away, it is a place that can easily be visited as a day trip from Tokyo. There are some unique and fun activities in Yokohama that you need to check out, and I can wholeheartedly recommend this city to all travel enthusiasts, including families with children.
Explore the colourful Chinatown with all the Chinese restaurants and shops. Don't miss the gorgeous Sankei-en Garden, a stunning botanical garden with several tea houses and stunning scenery. See beautiful historic buildings well-preserved from different eras. Marvel at the Yokohama Landmark Tower which is the second-tallest building in Japan.
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Top things to do in Yokohama
I loved my time in Yokohama, and honestly, I couldn't believe how many great things to do in Yokohama I've discovered on my trip. I highly recommend a trip around the Yokohama Chinatown which is packed with Chinese restaurants and shops. It's the largest Chinatown in the whole of Japan so you just know you want to add it to your list.
You can't miss a trip to the Cup noodles Museum dedicated to its founder, Momofuku Ando. We've got him to thank for all the fantastic instant noodles we can enjoy from the local supermarkets. I think students especially are grateful to Ando-san!
Check out the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, once used as a customs buildings, now a complex for shopping and other events. It's located just by the Red Brick Warehouse Pier for when you fancy a walk by the water or you can spot it from the Landmark Tower.
For families with kids, I especially recommend a visit to the Yokohama Cosmo world, a really fun amusement park with a giant ferris wheel and a super speedy roller coaster. This place looks especially spectacular after dark when all the neon lights draw you in for pictures and fun adventures.
Excited about all the activities in Yokohama? Let's see in detail what to do in Yokohama on your next trip.
Soak up the atmosphere in Yokohama Chinatown
If there is one place I encourage you to start your exploration of Yokohama, it's in the Chinatown district of the city, which is, in fact, the largest Chinatown in Japan. Please get excited because imagine all the dim sum!
Of course, there is a small Chinese population these days, but there are plenty of Chinese-themed shops and lots of history (160 years, to be precise) to discover.
We all know that Japanese food is one of the world's best, but I recommend getting your hands on some truly authentic Chinese food while you are here. And yes, there is a large shopping street full of really great souvenirs from Japan.
I love a beautiful Japanese garden and couldn't pass the opportunity to visit the gorgeous Sankeien garden in Yokohama. The garden was open in 1904, and it's special because of its numerous historic buildings from different eras. You can be forgiven for thinking you are transported to Kyoto while you walk some trails here.
There are several tea houses, and you'll even see a pagoda here. I especially recommend a visit here during the autumn as the colours look incredible. Besides, autumn is generally one of the best times to visit Japan. For the most remarkable activity at the Sankeien garden, plan your visit for the firefly viewing, which normally takes place towards the end of May.
The opening hours are from 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30).
Experience the nightlife on Noge Street
If there is one place you NEED to visit in the evening, it's Noge Street -- the hub for nightlife, entertainment, and fun in Yokohama. Jazz fans will be excited to know that this is a hot spot for jazz clubs, and for a well-rounded experience, make sure to pop into a fewizakayas which are authentic Japanese pubs. This quirky area of the city features many streets with a different feels, so take your time soaking it all up.
Noge street is basically Yokohama's answer to Shinjuku's Golden Gai. This place is ideal for bar hoping. You will find over 60 bars packed on this street alone.
During the day, Noge street has a very similar vibe to Tokyo's Yanaka district. It has a retro vibe to it, which continues to allow visitors to glimpse at a 60s-70s Japan.
Visit the Cup Noodles Museum
Cup Noodles, also commonly referred to as Pot Noodles around the world, are famous around the globe as being a quick, tasty and affordable Asian snack. Want to know more about their history? I've got you because I'm about to send you to the Cup Noodle Museum in Yokohama.
A visit here is an experience of its own, with so much to do while at the museum. First, learn about the inventor of the instant ramen noodles. Gosh, we're so grateful to Momofuku Andofor this!
Once you learn everything about noodles and instant noodles, create your own cup noodles package! Such a cool and unique activity. Select your favourite soup from among four varieties, as well as your favourite toppings.
If you fancy some food while you are here (and of course you will), hit up the 'Noodles Bazaar', which features noodles worldwide.
Explore the Shin Yokohama Instant Ramen Museum
If you are a foodie at heart, you cannot miss a visit to the Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum, which will give you a great insight into one of the most famous Japanese dishes in Japan and worldwide.
Let's face it, ramen is really difficult to improve so what chance to learn all about it? The exhibition teaches you all about the different broths, the cooking process, how to do taste tests. At the end, you can enjoy a hearty bowl of the rarest ramen dishes in Japan.
The museum is only a five-minute walk from Shin-Yokohama station, and I encourage you to place it high on your list, especially if you're passionate about Japanese food.
Witness Minato Mirai at night
Minato Mari, also locally referred to as MM, is the city's central business district and is a fantastic place to go shopping, sightsee and soak up the glitzy atmosphere of the city's up-and-coming harbour. While this is a stunning place to observe any time of the day, you must see the skyline at night.
Photograph the futurist waterfront with Yokohama's most fabulous hotels, the famed landmark tower and of course the ferris wheel.
Minato Mirai is known as "The Harbour of the future". Before 1980s the area was a large shipyard until new development started here to transform it into a new and exciting city centre.
Get a 360 view from the landmark tower
We all love to feast our eyes on the most magnificent buildings and skyscrapers in the world, and gazing up at the Landmark Tower in Yokohama, cannot be overlooked as one of the top activities in the city. This is one of Japan's most significant buildings and the second-tallest building in Japan.
As you can imagine, it is one of the best spots to get a panoramic view of the city. I highly recommend making your way to the top in the world's second-fastest elevators to take in all the impressive views.
On the 69th floor there is an observatory, Sky Garden, which can reward you with stunning views of Mount Fuji on a clear day.
Good to know: I recommend visiting at sunset, so you can take in all the views under the golden hour and get the chance to see Mount Fuji. Wait until it gets dark and admire the vastness of Yokohama with all its intricacies. It's just as glorious as seeing Tokyo from above!
Take a stroll along Osanbashi Pier
This modern-day cruise ship terminal is more than just a pier; it is an architectural wonder and the oldest pier in Yokohama. This incredible wooden design is a stunning feature of the city and captivates people from all over the world, so of course, when you are here, this is one of the top things places to visit in Yokohama.
It was initially constructed between 1889 -- 1896 and was then again reconstructed to meet modern demands between 1988 -- 2002. What you see today was, in fact, the subject of a worldwide architectural design competition. As well as welcoming international tourists arriving on cruise ships, it is a prime spot for travellers to Yokohama who come here to enjoy the open green spaces and walk the 400m long pier. In addition, it is the best place to observe the iconic Minato Mirai skyline, so make sure to bring your camera with you.
Attend the Kanagawa Fireworks Festival
The Kanagawa Fireworks Festival is one of the best summer events to take place in the city of Yokohama. Witness some fantastic fireworks displays against the backdrop of the iconic Minato Marai skyline. The festival is held annually, on the last Saturday of August. Every year you will see 3000 fireworks set off from the Umino Park.
The festival does bring over 1 million people to the Minato Marai area so be mindful that there will be some crowds. You'll see locals wearing yukatas (you can too, if you wish) and many enjoying a picnic with family and friends. It's a great time of the year to enjoy a celebratory summer night.
Attend a game at Yokohama Stadium
The Yokohama Stadium is home to various basketball, football, and baseball teams. The stadium was featured in the 2020 Olympics and as the venue for baseball and softball events during the competition.
As with everything cool in Japan, there's something unique about the stadium too. The stadium's speciality is mandarin orange ice which is especially refreshing during the summer.
While there are 20,000 seats for football and 34,000 for baseball games, I still advise to purchase your ticket in advance. You can check on the official site more information about all upcoming games and how to purchase tickets.
Walk across Yokohama Bay Bridge
This iconic bridge stretches for 860 metres (2,820 ft) and is a landmark of Yokohama. Since it features a fully pedestrianised walkway known as the 'sky walk', I encourage you to put an afternoon aside to take a walk across this incredible structure. The Yokohama Bay Bridge has come to be known as the Brooklyn Bridge of Japan and is a true landmark of the city, which is certainly worth checking out. It crosses the Tokyo Bay and this structure is a wonderful engineering work, earthquake proof as well.
You will definitely cross it if you make your way from Narita to Yokohama, but the pedestrian promenade is way more interesting.
The Skywalk is located on the lower level of the bridge and is a fantastic way to get a panoramic view of the city and a close look at some of the largest cruise ships that dock in port. One of our top tips is to check the cruise schedule of Yokohama port for arrivals and departures of the cruise ships and watch as these enormous vessels move below the bridge.
Relax at the Shomyoji Temple
No trip to Yokohama is complete without a visit to the beautiful Shomyoji Temple. Shomyoji Temple is located about twenty minutes from Yokohama station and is a perfect activity if you're keen on a relaxed afternoon with wooded trails, a superb garden and a stunning vermilion bridge.
Shomyoji Temple was declared a National Treasure in 1922. Enjoy many stunning features of the temple, including its main gate, lined with beautiful cherry blossoms in the spring, the pretty red bridges which cross the mirroring pond, the Bonsho temple bell, and a historic cemetery. In addition, you can follow the hiking trails to Mount Hinata and Mount Inari, so allow extra time if you plan a day of sightseeing and adventure. The views from the top will be well worth the effort!
Good to know: Free entry. Every Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 15:00, the Yokohama Kanazawa City Guide Association offers a free garden guide.
How to get to Yokohama
You can reach Yokohama from Tokyo within 20 - 45 minutes, depending on which train you choose. The journey is covered by the JR Pass, which I recommend that you purchase.
Where to stay in Yokohama
Suppose you want to have the experience of a lifetime. In that case, you cannot overlook the luxurious Hyatt regency in Yokohama, opened recently in 2020. The interior of the hotel depicts the city and culture of Yokohama by displaying traditional Japanese aesthetics and Western design. Book your stay now!
Staying at the Yokohama sky resort, which covers the 52nd floors upwards to the 67th, means you will never be short of a panoramic view. Located in the iconic Landmark Towers, this hotel offers incredible accommodation, top-class cuisine including French, Chinese and Japanese restaurants, a fitness club and a spa, all of which are easily accessed during your stay to make you feel at home. Book your stay now!
This classy and sophisticated hotel oozes tradition and offers a relaxing atmosphere to indulge in during your stay. With a prime location close to the waterfront and steps away from Yamashita Park and the many attractions, this is a leading hotel for visitors to the city. Book your stay now!
Don't forget to check the super practical 2 weeks in Japan itinerary as well as the 3 weeks in Japan itinerary. Generally, I recommend a minimum of 7 days in Japan for first time visitors. But after your first visit, I can assure you that you will love everything Japan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Yokohama worth visiting?
Yes, Yokohama is definitely worth visiting, especially if you are interested in seeing Japan's second-largest city with a rich history, and influences from both Japan and foreign countries. There are many attractions to see in Yokohama, such as the Yokohama Chinatown, the Minato Mirai 21 district, and the historic Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse. There are also many museums, parks, and shopping and dining options available in the city. Besides, it's just a short train ride from Tokyo, so you can easily do a day trip to Yokohama if you prefer.
What is Yokohama best known for?
Yokohama is best known for its port, which was one of the first to be opened to foreign trade in 1859. The city has an international flavour, with many foreign-themed shopping and dining areas. Yokohama has the largest Chinatown in Japan, which is home to hundreds of restaurants and shops. It's particularly renowned for its food specialities, including moon cakes, steamed buns, and a variety of other Chinese dishes.
This is a seaside urban area whose name means “harbor of the future”. It has many large high-rises, including the Landmark Tower, which is the second-tallest building in Japan. Minato Mirai also contains a large ferris wheel (Cosmo Clock 21), shopping centres, a convention centre, an art museum, and more.
How long does it take to drive from Tokyo to Yokohama?
It takes just over 40 minutes to drive from Tokyo to Yokohama. You can also take the JR train from Tokyo Station to Yokohama Station (downtown) which takes approximately 1 hour.