When people speak of Japan, the first thing that comes to their mind is Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Ramen, and Anime.
But Japan has more to offer than these mainstream attractions that visitors can enjoy.
If your next travel adventure takes you to Japan, don't forget to take a short detour or perhaps include the city of Yokohama in your itinerary.
Yokohama, being Japan's second-biggest metropolis, has a wide array of attractions.
From food to historical, cultural, and natural sites, Yokohama has it all.
This capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture is home to 3.6 million people.
It is highly accessible as it is just 29-kilometers south of Tokyo.
For those coming from Tokyo, they can arrive in Yokohama in less than 30 minutes through the public train.
While those who want to avoid the Tokyo rush hour can grab a taxi or drive one and a half hour to get there.
Historically, Yokohama was the first city that opened to foreign traders back in 1859.
It was when Japan imposed a self-isolation policy in the latter part of the Edo Period.
From then on, the city grew from a small fishing village to Japan's second-biggest city after it opened its port to foreign traders.
Today, the city remains a top-rated tourist destination and housing.
To give you a glimpse of this awe-inspiring city, here are the 15 best things to do in Yokohama:
Shop While Learning History at Red Brick Warehouse
If you want to experience a fusion of history and the modern world, visit the Red Brick Warehouse.
This building is easily distinguished for its brick-clad structure built back in 1911 at the port area of Yokohama.
It served as the headquarters for the trade ships of American Commodore Matthew Perry docked in Yokohama Port.
The Red Brick Warehouse is significant not just to Yokohama's history but in entire Japan for providing a haven for American traders such as Perry.
The warehouse also served as Yokohama Bay's former Customs Inspection House.
However, the warehouse was converted into a plush mall that houses boutiques and cafes, all worth visiting.
Watch a Pro Baseball Game at the Massive Yokohama Stadium
With a massive seating capacity of 72,327, the Yokohama Stadium is considered the biggest multi-purpose stadium in Japan.
The primary sport played in the stadium is professional baseball featuring the home team, the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, a regular team in the Japan Central League.
Visiting the city won't be complete without taking photos in this open-air stadium and watching the BayStars' home game.
This man-made marvel in Yokohama City was constructed in 1978.
Today, it remains the city’s epicenter for major sports activities.
Make Your Ramen Noodles at the Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum
This popular tourist destination located in the heart of Yokohama is best-known for its DIY cup noodles.
This museum is the monument for Momofuku Ando, Japan's first person to make instant ramen.
Ando also established the Nissin Food Products and made the world-famous Nissin Cup Noodles.
One of the best parts of the museum is the "Instant Noodles History Cube," which is described by most visitors as an Instagrammable section.
The section has a wall full of a mural that pictures out the colorful history of the Nissin Cup Noodles.
Other attractions there include the Momofuku Theater, Cup Noodles Park, My Cup Noodles Factory, and the Chicken Ramen Factory.
Pay Tribute to Sailors at the Nippon Maru Memorial Park
Since Yokohama City is widely known for its port, it is undoubtedly that the city also produced thousands of sailors throughout history.
Nippon Maru, one of Yokohama's most popular navigation training ships, was built in 1930 and was decommissioned in 1984.
For 54 years, Nippon Maru held a tremendous historical significance to Yokohama's rich maritime tradition for having trained 11,500 sailors.
Now, Nippon Maru is docked and displayed at the Yokohama dockyard.
The colossal sailing ship is 97 meters in length and 13 meters wide.
Those interested in what life is at sea can visit the ship and take a tour of its different.
Shop ‘til You Drop at Marine and Walk Yokohama
It is one of the best places to visit in the city for its relaxing atmosphere and the wide array of shops to choose from.
The Marine and Walk Yokohama boasts a very scenic location and layout that houses a collection of designer shops, boutiques, and unique products from international and domestic brands.
Plus, it is also home to several bistros and gourmet restaurants that are clustered in one place.
The mall's design itself is simply astonishing.
It has an industrial design inspired by the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, making it perfect for Instagram photos.
Furthermore, the mall is also the home of the Yokohama Museum of Art and the Sky Garden Observatory.
Pump Your Adrenaline Up at Cosmo World Amusement Park
There are so many reasons why you shouldn't miss Yokohama on your Japan trip, and one of them is experiencing the crazy rides at Cosmo World.
Aside from having one of the largest Ferris wheels in the world called "Cosmo Clock 21", the amusement park boasts dozens of rides for both children and adults.
The Cosmo World is located at bayside in Yokohama's Minato Mirai district.
Despite having a compact size, the amusement park is packed with exciting attractions.
It has three sections, the kids' carnival zone, the Burano Street zone, and the Wonder Amuse zone.
The kids' carnival zone is specifically for children with rides such as merry-go-round, monorails, carousels, and bumper cars.
Meanwhile, the Burano Street zone houses the more adrenaline-pumping rides and also has its own horror house.
Lastly, the Wonder Amuze zone, also the amusement park's main area, is known for having the "Diving Coaster."
The "Diving Coaster" is considered one of the most popular and most thrilling rides in Cosmo World.
It is similar to a roller coaster, but what makes it more thrilling is the ride which suddenly dives underneath a pool of water.
Bottom's Up at Kirin Beer Village
Kirin, one of Japan's most beloved brands of beer, tours people at their beer factory located on the Yokohama port area’s northern side.
The Beer Village offers tours for visitors keen on learning the history of Kirin's brand, and of course, chug down a mug or bottle of this famous beer freshly brewed from its factory.
The Beer Village offers three kinds of tours in their factory.
Visitors can choose between the factory tour, which is concluded with a complimentary beer tasting.
The other tour is the beer-making process, where visitors learn how Kirin brews their beer.
Lastly, the leisure tour where visitors can hang around and enjoy a scrumptious meal with a cold bottle of beer on the side at the Spring Valley restaurant inside the factory.
Ultimately, there is no entrance fee for visitors.
However, visitors should book a schedule ahead of time at the factory's official website.
Be One With Nature at the Sankeien Garden
For nature lovers who want to meditate and relax, the Sankeien Garden should not be missed when visiting Yokohama.
The garden that is designed by Tomitaro Hara, a silk trade businessman in Yokohama, intends to provide the locals an area to meditate, pray, and destress.
It was first opened in 1906 and housed the Kanto area's oldest wooden pagoda called Tomyoji Temple that dates back to 1457.
The garden also holds a historical significance to Yokohama's feudal past.
It houses numerous tea houses, daimyo (feudal lord) houses, and the Tomyoji Temple.
The entire garden ultimately offers peace and calmness amidst Yokohama’s bustling metropolis.
It has a small river system, a pond, a well-manicured lawn, and a trail, as well as beautiful flowers that take you back to the time of feudal Japan.
To get there, you can ride a bus at the Negishi station on the 58,101 or 99 routes to Honmoku, where the garden is located.
Excite Your Tastebuds at the Manchinro Honten
Situated inside the Yokohama Chinatown, this restaurant has been there since 1892.
It already stood the test of time and maintained its original Cantonese recipes for more than a century already.
However, this old beauty is known for its delicious food and its beautifully designed interiors and facade that virtually takes you to a luxurious Chinese restaurant.
The restaurant is popularly known for its dumplings, but they have a lot to offer on their menu, such as their crab meat parcel.
Travel Back in Time at Yokohama Archives of History
This museum first opened its doors in 1981 to display the preserved documents and artifacts that tell how Japan opened its doors to the world through trade.
It houses the archives and the historical materials and exhibits way back from the Edo period until the Taisho-Showa period.
More than 250,000 items and documents relevant to Yokohama's history are also stored in the museum.
To make the visit more worthwhile and exciting, try attending one of its special exhibitions that are held quarterly.
To get to Yokohama Archives of History, located in the Kannai district, where the historic Chinatown and Yamashita Park are also found.
Taste the Flavors of History at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum
This miniature theme park is best visited when hungry.
The Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum houses some of the best ramen noodle makers in the Kanagawa Prefecture.
This tourist attraction in Yokohama is unique because of its one-of-a-kind way of telling you the history of ramen through different galleries, exhibits.
It houses nine restaurants all specializing in ramen that come from the different ramen capitals of Japan, such as Tokyo, Kitakata, Sapporo, Kumamoto, Hakata, Yokohama, and Tokyo.
Plus, the storefronts of each restaurant have vintage and by-gone era designs that give you that ultimate throwback experience while enjoying a delicious bowl of ramen.
To get to Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum, it is a short walk from the Shin-Yokohama Station.
Wanter Around Yokohama Chinatown
Located in Yamashitacho, Naka Ward, this Chinatown serves as the largest in entire Japan.
If you have had enough Japanese food and want to indulge yourself with another cuisine, the Yokohama Chinatown is your perfect destination.
It’s best known for its fabulous Chinese food, old temples, and vibrant atmosphere.
The Chinatown was established in 1859, a few years after the Port of Yokohama opened to international traders.
Chinese traders who found their fortune in Japan then settled there permanently.
The Chinatown boasts around 600 Chinese specialty stores and restaurants that offer authentic Chinese products and dishes.
The Yokohama Chinatown is very easy to find, it is very close to the Minato Mirai area, wherein most of Yokohama's tourist sites are located.
Dive Into an Underwater Adventure at the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise
This amusement park/oceanarium is built on a tiny island, 30-minutes off-shore of Yokohama.
It also boasts an amusement park, a huge aquarium housing different marine animals, a hotel, exciting rides, and a shopping mall.
You can bring your entire family or friends because the admission or entrance of this amusement park is free.
However, there is an admission fee if you're planning to enter the Pleasure Island and the Aqua Resorts.
Nevertheless, the free amenities and attractions in Hakkeijima Sea Paradise are already enough to enjoy the whole experience.
Ultimately, be amazed by its huge aquarium where you can see live marine animals from sharks, dolphins, seals, polar bears, and giant sea turtles.
Uncover History at the Yokohama Port Museum
It first opened in 1989 and underwent a major renovation in 2009.
Today, the Yokohama Port Museum still proudly houses the famous sailing ship Nippon Maru and other historical artifacts, materials, and documents that detail the rich maritime history of Yokohama City.
The museum is located at the front of Yokohama's Minato Mirai 21 District's Landmark Tower.
It's pretty easy to distinguish if you're already at the museum since Nippon Maru can be seen towering the Yokohama port dock just beside the museum.
The museum is best described to have a semi-circular building on two levels with two different zones.
They are the Port of Yokohama history zone, and the Port of Yokohama rediscover zone.
Each zone will tell you the 150-year maritime history of Yokohama and its important role in Japan's development and partnership with foreign powers.
It also houses an exhibition room, a library, and some leisure shops such as restaurants and a gift shop.
Stroll at the Beautiful Yamashita Park
This public park in Yokohama has its distinct beauty for having a European-inspired design from its lawns, gardens, monuments, statues, and fountains.
It is also the only park in Yokohama to have such a design compared to the Sankeien Garden.
Enjoy an afternoon stroll and the sea breeze at this park covering around 700 meters along Tokyo Bay's waterfront.
Locals love to visit this place after a busy day to recuperate and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Also, the Yamashita Park is close to the Gundam Factory Yokohama, another famous attraction in the city where a towering 19-meter tall moving Gundam was built.
Yokohama is more than just a side trip or a detour for visitors who want to go to Japan.
People should book a separate trip dedicated only to visiting this city.
The city offers both tranquility, history, and the modern world all packed in one place.