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YOKOHAMA

15 Best Things to Do in Yokohama: Chinatown, Minato Mirai and Sankeien

By Lucy Baker
Updated: November 21, 2023

A 30-minute train ride from downtown Tokyo, Yokohama is an easy day trip for getting away from the hustle and bustle of the capital.

When Japan opened its ports for foreign trade, Yokohama played a crucial role in bringing goods in and out of the country. It rapidly transitioned to a modern city in line with the development of new technologies. Today, the cosmopolitan city is home to high-tech industrial headquarters and manufacturers and is the second largest city in Japan after Tokyo.

Looking for a foodie guide? See what to eat in Yokohama.

A photo of Yokohama portside

Yokohama is well-known for its multiculturality, with over 3 million international residents. The city is also home to Japan's largest Chinatown. Keep reading the best things to do in Yokohama!

Best 15 Things To Do in Yokohama

  1. Walk Along Kishamichi Promenade
  2. Shop, Eat and Be Merry in Minato Mirai
  3. Enjoy Nightlife and Entertainment at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse
  4. Ride the Roller Coasters of Yokohama Cosmo World
  5. Go Up Landmark Tower
  6. Toe-Tap Alongside Music Fans at a Jazz Cafe
  7. Feast on Chinese Cuisine and Street Food at Yokohama Chinatown
  8. Slurp Some Noodles at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum
  9. Make Your Own Instant Ramen at the Cup Noodles Museum
  10. Tour the Kirin Beer Factory
  11. Check Out the Kanagawa Shinbun Fireworks Festival
  12. Admire the Views From Yokohama Bay Bridge's Skywalk
  13. Stroll Through Sankeien Garden
  14. Explore Yamate, Yokohama's European District
  15. Spot the Resident Animals of Zoorasia

1. Walk Along Kishamichi Promenade

A photo of Kishamichi Promenade in Yokohama on a sunny day.

Kishamichi Promenade is a 500-meter waterfront boardwalk connecting two of Yokohama's commercial districts. Consider it a starting point if you explore port-side Yokohama on foot. Walking along the promenade, take in the city skyline, which looks best against a clear blue sky.

2. Shop, Eat and Be Merry in Minato Mirai

Named "harbor of the future," Minato Mirai is Yokohama's central business district, though it also houses a fair share of entertainment hubs. Minato Mirai is an ever-sprawling area for shopping, business, museums, bars, and dining. We could easily spend a day here and never get bored, but we recommend visiting after hours to view Yokohama at night. 

3. Enjoy Nightlife and Entertainment at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse

A photo of Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse at dusk with Mount Fuji in the background

An unmissable red brick building by the portside, the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse district used to be a hub for trade activities back in its heyday. The building has since been revamped. Venturing inside, you'll find trendy shops, bars, cafes, restaurants, and exhibition spaces. This is the best place in Yokohama to enjoy a few drinks and people-watch. The area surrounding the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse is a coveted winter and summer venue for festivals and cultural events.

4. Ride the Roller Coasters of Yokohama Cosmo World

A photo of the entrance to Cosmo World, an amusement park in Minato Mirai in Yokohama

Thrill-seekers should head to Yokohama Cosmo World, an amusement park in Minato Mirai. You can get your adrenaline hit for the day by riding its colorful roller coaster and other rides. It's free to enter the park grounds, open year-round, but you'll need to purchase a day pass or individual ride tickets to enjoy the park to its fullest. 

Previously one of the world's tallest, Yokohama Cosmo World's 100-meter-tall Ferris wheel offers spectacular panoramas of the city. It's especially stunning at sunset and incredibly romantic, so if you're planning a date in Yokohama, be sure to make time for this one!

5. Go Up Landmark Tower

A photo of Yokohama's Landmark Tower

Offering 360-degree views of Yokohama, Landmark Tower is not just a skyline-defining structure; it's also the place to go for vast views of Yokohama City and beyond. It's the third tallest building in Japan, just under 300 meters tall, and houses the country's fastest elevators. On a clear day, you can see Tokyo to the north and Mt. Fuji to the south. 

6. Toe-Tap Alongside Music Fans at a Jazz Cafe

Did you know that Yokohama is the home of jazz in Japan? The city is known for its cozy jazz bars, making it the perfect place for bar hopping if you have a penchant for rhythm and blues. Every year in October, one of the biggest jazz festivals in the country takes over the city, Yokohama Jazz Promenade. Attending the festival is a must if you're visiting around that time.

7. Feast on Chinese Cuisine and Street Food at Yokohama Chinatown

A photo of the entrance to Yokohama Chinatown

Yokohama Chukagai, or Yokohama Chinatown, is a must-see attraction just a few train stations from Minato Mirai. It's a foodie heaven with plenty of restaurants, street food stalls, and Asian grocery stores. It certainly tips its hat to cultural influences introduced to Japan from China when it opened up to foreign trade. It's a gateway to delicious Chinese food and chukaryori, which you can sample anywhere within a 500-meter-by-500-meter area. 

8. Slurp Some Noodles at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum

A photo of the basement floor of the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum

If you're wondering where to eat in Yokohama, there's one place you must go if you love ramen. The Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum pays homage to Japan's favorite noodle dish, perfect for anybody who loves ramen and wants to learn more about its origins.

On the first floor, see how ramen evolved throughout the centuries. On the basement floor, you can sample dishes from nine vendors, each specializing in a different regional variety of ramen. And if you're worried you can't stomach nine bowls of noodles, broth and toppings, you are not alone. Thankfully, you can order mini ramen bowls instead of your usual full-sized portions from the ticket machines to ensure you have enough tummy space to taste everything.

9. Make Your Own Instant Ramen at the Cup Noodles Museum

A staff at the Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama shows a finished custom-order cup noodle pack.

If you're traveling with children, the Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum will entertain little and big travelers. Get to know the inventor of the cup noodle himself, Momofuku Ando, and his story through colorful and interactive galleries. The museum's most popular activity, however, is the make-your-own-cup-noodle workshop. Decorate your cup, choose your flavors and toppings, and watch it get packaged up on the conveyor belt. Note that a reservation is required, and if possible, book your slot a week or so before your visit! 

10. Tour the Kirin Beer Factory

Proudly founded in Yokohama, the Kirin Brewery Company is one of Japan's leading breweries. Sure, you can find Kirin beers in convenience stores nationwide, but you can taste the best of Kirin's offerings on tap at the Kirin Beer Factory. Tour the beer brewing facilities, learn about Kirin's history and production, and, of course, enjoy some delicious beer tastings. The tour is a coveted activity. Reservations open a month in advance, so be sure to book your slot. 

11. Check Out the Kanagawa Shinbun Fireworks Festival

A photo of fireworks lighting up Yokohama Bay

Firework festivals are popular in Japan during summer, and the Kanagawa Shinbun Fireworks Festival is one of the biggest fireworks events in Yokohama. Find a spot to watch hanabi (fireworks) by the waterfront with 1 million other spectators as the fireworks burst and sparkle in the sky over Rinko Park. Enjoy a picnic and street food, or people-watching in traditional dress amongst the festival spirit!

Pro tip: Claiming your spot early is key to enjoying the fireworks, so plan accordingly. 

12. Admire the Views From Yokohama Bay Bridge's Skywalk

A photo inside of Yokohama Bay Bridge's Sky Walk

An icon of Yokohama since it was completed in 1989, the Yokohama Bay Bridge is an 860-meter-long cable bridge connecting two of Yokohama's industrial areas. You can see this bridge from different points in the city, especially at night when its lights turn on. While you can't cross the entire bridge on foot, there is a pedestrian walking path under the highway where you can get amazing views from Minato Mirai and the boats coming in and out of the port. If your schedule permits, we recommend coming here to catch the sunset.

13. Stroll Through Sankeien Garden

A picture of the pond at Senkeien Garden in Yokohama

As a beautiful example of a traditional landscape garden, strolling around Sankeien Garden is one of the most tranquil things to do in Yokohama. This lush Japanese-style garden is located on the city's southern side. It features several historic buildings from around Japan, such as tea houses and the residence of a former feudal lord. From anywhere along Sankeiein Garden's pond, you can view the Former Tomyoji Temple's 3-storied Pagoda. In the spring, the park blooms with cherry blossoms and other flowers, sprinkling its walking paths with color. 

14. Explore Yamate, Yokohama's European District

After Japan opened its borders to trade in the late 1850s, not only did merchants from Asia make frequent stops in Yokohama, but Westerners also made the trek to sell their wares. Chinese traders made themselves home in Chinatown, and Western traders resided in Yamate. Also known as "The Bluff," Yamate has some relaxing park spaces and a few preserved Western buildings open to the public. Walking around, you'll also notice many international institutions, schools, and churches.

15. Spot the Resident Animals of Zoorasia

A picture of a tiger at Yokohama's Zoorasia

One of Japan's largest and best-kept, Zoorasia is a spacious zoological park on the outskirts of Yokohama that makes for a great family day out. The enclosures are designed to mimic the natural habitats of animals from Eurasia. Conservatively speaking, it takes about three to four hours to walk around the entire zoo (it's massive!), so plan to spend at least an entire morning or afternoon here.

Day Trips From Yokohama

A photo of Kamakura's Daibutsu Buddha statue

If you're sparing a couple of days to spend in Yokohama, consider adding one of these day trip options to your itinerary. 

Kawasaki

If you're traveling from central Tokyo, chances are you'll pass through Kawasaki. And while most areas of Kawasaki are residential, there are pockets of culture and entertainment if you know where to look. 

The city is home to one of Kanagawa Prefecture's most popular temples, Kawasaki Daishi, the Fujiko F. Fujio Museum (dedicated to Doraemon's creator), and the Taro Okamoto Museum of Art. 

Some parts of Kawasaki also have great food, which you can sample for yourself during a craft beer and regional food pairing

Kamakura

Kamakura is one of Japan's ancient capitals, with dozens, if not hundreds, of temples to show for its centuries-long history. It's a great day trip destination to get away from Yokohama's busier areas, and there are ample choices for restaurants, cafés and activities. 

You can dive deeper into Kamakura's religious roots through a shojin ryori (Buddhist cuisine) cooking class

Chigasaki

Cool, calm and collected Chigasaki is an often-overlooked city, though it has tons to offer, especially in terms of ocean-side activities. (Chigasaki is the birthplace of surfing in Japan, after all.) It's definitely a more mellow place to hang out, but it has its charms. 

Sign up for a meditative calligraphy lesson (sushi lunch included) to channel inner peace.

We strive to be as accurate as possible and keep up with the changing landscape of Japan’s food and travel industries. If you spot any inaccuracies, please send a report.
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Lucy Baker
Never not hungry, Lucy is an artist and foodie from Australia. You can find her hunting for the next delicious deal, documenting her food, or brunching. She lives firmly by the philosophy that food friends are the best of friends.
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