With all the thrills that Tokyo has to offer, it is understandable why Yokohama often gets overshadowed by its giant neighbour. As a matter of fact, Yokohama too has a bunch of promising attractions equally exciting as Tokyo, namely its open-air nature, historical values, observation deck, unique museums, and many more!
That's not even the best part yet. Because the good news is, you don't have to plan big or spare too much time to explore the port city. As it's only 40 kilometres from Tokyo, you can visit almost all of Yokohama's best spots on a day trip, and all on foot.
This is where you will most likely start: Yokohama's main weapon to attract visitors. And it really worked for me. Firstly, it's just a stone's throw away from Yokohama's main station. Secondly, it boasts an amazing waterfront atmosphere, with plenty of open air spaces, friendly pedestrians and lakeside parks, pleasant corners to just sit around and relax, or simply just to people-watch, complete with a plethora of dining and shopping options.
Sky Garden Observatory
Still within Minato Mirai area, you can also visit Landmark Tower Yokohama (which was once the tallest building in Japan) to get on its fastest elevator up the observation deck. Standing in the height of 273 metres, you'll not only get a 360 degree view of Minato Mirai, but also the port of Yokohama, with Tokyo to the north, and even as far as Mount Fuji if the skies are clear.
Nippon Maru & Yokohama Port Museum
Nippon Maru is a sailing ship built back in 1930, that is now permanently docked in Minato Mirai, not so far from Landmark Tower. Here you can see the details of the ship, and even get on board to see its inside. Just immediately on the north of the ship is Yokohama Port Museum where you will obtain further information on the historic side of Minato Mirai area and Yokohama Port in general.
Done with Minato Mirai, it's time to go on to Cosmo World and try some exciting rides still with rich harborfront vibes. If you think you don't have enough time, at least make sure to take a glimpse of the park's giant ferris wheel as it features the world's largest digital clock.
The Cup Noodle Museum
For a quirkier type of museum, you might want to try this one. Owned by Japan's most popular instant noodle brand, Nissin, The Cup Noodle Museum promotes everything about noodles, covering its history, interactive artworks, and various noodle-related workshops like the chicken-ramen-making class. One of the most popular sections among visitors is the "My Cup Noodles Factory" where you can try creating your own customised noodle cup including its designs, flavors, and even topping variations.
Marine Walk Yokohama
Now let's get back to something more harbour-themed. Marine Walk Yokohama is an open-air shopping mall with a pedestrian-friendly concept that boasts a strong seaside atmosphere. The mall comprises a collection of unique shops, restaurants, and cafes, some with seating areas for visitors to relax and enjoy the sea breezes.
Sea Bass Cruise
Reaching dusk, spot the nearest pier to catch Sea Bass, Yokohama's public water transportation. Choose the route bound for Yamashita Park, and enjoy a short yet fantastic trip across the waters of Yokohama during sunset -- where the skies turn striking purple, and the buildings on the back start getting lit up. Check out the photo series of cruising Yokohama Port with Sea Bass here.
When the night falls, it's time to end your trip at one of the most lively and amazing place in Yokohama. Get mesmerized by the sparkling lights and lanterns throughout the Chinatown, try its authentic treats (don't go home unless you've tasted the buns that come in unique flavors) and pay a homage to the temple so rich in Chinese culture, Kanteibyo.