The development of Yokohama as one of Japan's major port cities has been well documented, and for good reason! The area has shed its past of a humble fishing village and today stands a tall example of an international hub for not only trade and business, but also a rich cultural heritage. The influx of international visitors, both in form of traders and settlers has resulted in the formation of vibrant cultural enclaves such as the city's famed Chinatown and vast business districts like Minato Mirai. All of these have begun attracting an increasing number of travellers from all across the globe, completing the transformation of Yokohama into a true global city!
Situated just south of the Japanese capital, Yokohama has wide accessibility through most means of transportation. And the city's vast Subway network makes travel hassle free within the city as well. It then just widens the options in terms of choosing a neighborhood to stay in for your vacation. But leave the groundwork to us. In this list, we bring to you, some of the best neighbourhoods of Yokohama and what they might have in store for you, travellers!
The waterfront district of Minato Mirai holds the distinction of being the city's central business district. The neighborhood, which is a part of the larger Nishi ward, grew into the city centre following planned development in the 1980s and today attracts travellers and businesspersons from all over the globe. In the heart of Minato Mirai is the 972 feet high Yokohama Landmark Tower, which has an observatory with sweeping views of the city and, if you're lucky, of the famed Mount Fuji as well! And then there's the ideally located Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris Wheel, another landmark of the Yokohama. Take a ride for equally stunning views of the city and its stunning waterfront. The Yokohama Art Museum, the Mitsubishi Industrial Museum and the 1930s sailing vessel, Nippon Maru not only add variety to the go-to list, but also give you an insight into the development of the city.
Minato Mirai has a vast shopping district which is characterized by a good mix of top labels and several homegrown boutiques. Other than the shopping centres at the Landmark Tower and the Yokohama station, the other popular stops for shopaholics include the cultural avenue of the Red Brick Warehouse and the pedestrian shopping streets of central parts of the neighborhood. Fine dining restaurants, cafes, and bars are in plenty in Minato Mirai and especially stunning are the ones that are close to the waterfront. Enjoy a dinner with fine views or take a walk along the Kishamichi Promenade to cap off a long day of sightseeing and shopping in the district
Besides the Yokohama station, the neighborhood is also serviceable through the MinatoMirai station of the Yokohama Minatomirai Railway and the Sakuragichō Station of the Yokohama Municipal Subway. Hotels are in plenty and amongst the best in the city.
One of Japan's largest and most famed cultural enclaves, the Chinatown in Yokohama is a treat for international travellers. Find your way to the majestic gates of the neighborhood for a unique experience. Not only does the area have a unique history, which is showcased through the architecture of the temples and the entrance gates, it also has some of the best eateries in all of Yokohama. Chinese settlers came to the city around the time of the opening of the city's port way back in the mid nineteenth century. You should not miss out the asian cuisine including the hot steamed buns and ramen noodles at one of the many home-grown eateries or a fusion restaurant.
And then there's the picturesque surroundings of the Chinatown to go along with the rest. The waterfront park of Yamashita is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. The green space has several flower gardens and fountains and great views of the shore that will refresh you in the midst of a long day. And talking of views, the Yokohama Marine Tower offers sweeping views of Chinatown and other parts of the city. The neighborhood also has many museums that will take you through the history of Yokohama and it's relations with the rest of the world. Yokohama Eurasian Museum and the Japanese Newspaper Museum are among the must-visit spots.
The neighborhood is serviceable through the Motomachi-Chukagai station on the MinatoMirai line and the Ishikawacho Station on the JR Negishi Line. Hotels are in plenty and not as pricey as in some other parts of Yokohama, making it a great choice for a nice budget stay.
Just east of Chinatown of the neighborhood of Motomachi, which has a reputation of being a stylish neighbourhood. It draws large crowds to the Motomachi Shopping Street, known for its boutiques showcasing designs with both Japanese and western influences. And to go along with the shopping districts, Motomachi also has some of Yokohama's most recognisable landmarks and monuments including the Ice Making monument and Cleaning Industry Memorial. Other sites like the Old British Navy Garrison and the American Monument Park will give you insight into the history of Japan. Rest assured, there is not a dull moment during your stay in Motomachi as you will never run out of sights to visit.
The neighbourhood is calmer than most others in Yokohama making it perfect for couples looking for a romantic getaway. The Harbour View Park offers a great view of the sunset over the Yokohama Harbour and the lush green surroundings are perfect for casual strolls. Motomachi is a great neighborhood for an outdoorsy vacation in general. The area is best discovered on foot as you are bound to bump into an artsy cafe, a take out coffee shop, or a nice outdoor restaurant at every turn. And as is the case with many other seaside neighbourhoods of the city, Motomachi has a lovely waterfront that offers great walks, especially after sunset.
For staying options, one can find numerous hostels and apartments within the neighborhood. Besides, Motomachi also has a few luxury hotels if that's something that you would be interested in. The Motomachi-Chūkagai Station of the Yokohama Municipal Subway is the closest station to the neighborhood.
After operations began on Yokohama port in the 1850s, a lot foreign traders began arriving in the city and a large number of the westerners settled in what is currently the Yamatecho neighborhood. The area today is characterized by beautiful mansions and wide avenues lined with shady trees, lending it a quaint appeal. And if the mesmerising facades of the building aren't enough, try visiting the inside of one of these landmark buildings, as a lot of them have been converted into museums and galleries hosting cultural heritage. The Yamate and Iwasaki Museum, Ehrisman Residence, Berrick Hall, and the Former British Consul's Residence are among the many such attractions.
Burgeoning youth crowds have, in recent years, become a characteristic of the historic neighborhood, owing somewhat to the presence of the international schools and university campuses. They can be seen thronging the casual eateries, cafes or strolling around the streets with take-out coffee. The public spaces in Yamatecho are also amongst the best in the city, with the Harbour View Park topping the list. Visit the vast green park for some of the best views of the city's famed harbour and the Yokohama Bay Bridge.
The Motomachi-Chūkagai station of the Yokohama Municipal Subway's Minatomirai Line makes the neighborhood easily accessible from all parts of the city. The central location of Yamatecho also means that hotels are easy to find and some of the best in all of Yokohama.
The northeastern ward of Kohoku is the perfect venue for a vacation if you wish to be outside of the central business districts, but still in proximity to the major attractions. The quieter, largely residential area has a lot to offer travellers on its own, with the multipurpose green spaces in Kohoku being a major draw. The centrally located Okurayama Park is one of the most picturesque settings in the city with its plum orchards and lush surroundings, making it the perfect venue for a family outing or a picnic. And then there's obviously the Yokohama-Shin Park, which other than being home to the Nissan Stadium, also has a bird watching area, many sports fields and an artificial inlet of the Tsurumi river.
Another one of the major attractions in Kohoku is the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum, a recreational centre that housed several ramen stalls from different regions all at a single mid-twentieth century theme area. Do not miss out on trying out some of the best ramen noodles, and with as many options, you are bound to find your calling. Kohoku also has many bars and restaurants that offer a nice mix of Japanese and Western cuisine. The concentration of these establishments is rather high near the Shin-Yokohama station and some of them are definitely worth checking out. End your day in the neighborhood with a drink or a nice family dinner at one of your choice.
Besides the Shin-Yokohama station, Kohoku is serviceable through multiple stations on the Blue Line of the Yokohama Municipal Subway. Hotels might be on the pricier side, but finding a good staying option should not be any trouble at all in the area.
Across onto the northern bank of the Ooka river, the neighborhood of Nogecho has developed quite a reputation for a lively nightlife. Nogecho has some of the best bars and beer cafes in the city, all lined up along the labyrinth-like network of streets and alleyways. The neighborhood has withstood rapid urbanisation and development and maintains its old worldly charm with very few high-rise buildings or urban structures in its vicinity. In fact, a stroll in the area will surely take you back to time when people ran restaurants and bars from within their own homes and privately owned buildings. The streets, all lit with yesteryear lampposts, also offer several eateries offering the best local cuisine.
The neighborhood also has an alternative appeal, especially for the enthusiasts of music and performing arts. Several jazz clubs and comedy clubs have cropped up in the vicinity and today lend a nice eclectic touch to the subculture of Nogecho. There's obviously the more traditional entertainment options including the izakaya taverns, live music venues with local performers and street festivals, all of which will keep you interested all day long. Nogecho also has a few handicraft shops where you can find reasonably priced souvenirs and mementos to take back home from your trip. Visit during the night for a unique experience under the light of the lampposts, which is in stark contrast with the glitzy parts of the town.
The neighborhood is a short walk from the Sakuragichō Station on the Blue line of the Yokohama Municipal Subway. Hotels are in plenty in Nogecho and are cheaper than in comparison to those in the other parts of the city.
That's all from our side, traveller. Take your pick, Japan's famed port city awaits you!