Discover Japan, between traditions and modernity: here is our selection of the best districts to stay in Yokohama!
Yokohama, Tokyo‘s sprawling neighbor on Honshu Island, is Japan’s second most populous city after the capital, with 3.71 million inhabitants (3,718,913). The capital of Kanagawa Prefecture, it is located only forty kilometers south of Tokyo, and its economy is mainly oriented towards maritime trade and port activity (it is Japan’s leading harbor). Yokohama, whose Nissan stadium will host some of the matches of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, boasts a rich historical and cultural heritage. As such, it is home to many must-see historic buildings. A city open to the world, it is also one of Japan’s most cosmopolitan cities. As is often the case in Japan, accommodation is expensive and will represent quite a large part of your budget.
Though Yokohama is subdivided into 18 districts, we will only focus on the neighborhoods situated closest to the city center. Discover our selection of the best areas to stay in Yokohama.
Yokohama is home to Japan’s largest Chinatown. Located very close to the port, Chinatown is one of the city’s most important tourist attractions. Founded in the 1850s following the city’s first trade endeavors with Hong Kong and Shanghai and despite the isolationism imposed by the Shogunate, Chinatown is demarcated by four Chinese doors of different colors. Housing countless shops, it also features no less than 500 restaurants and stalls where you can savor Chinese specialties at low prices. Not far away, you’ll find several Buddhist temples (Masobyo and Kanteibyo) lining the streets, where food stalls exude delicious scents. Centrally located, this swarming area is an excellent place to stay in Yokohama. It is conveniently situated between the port, Yokohama Stadium, and several public parks such as Yokohama Park, Yamashita Park, and Minatonomieruoka Park.
Motomachi and Yamate
Located next to Chinatown in the Naka-Ku district, Motomachi and Yamate are two vibrant districts of Yokohama. This liveliness results from the influx of thousands of expatriates seduced by both Yamate’s “exotic” character, and Motomachi’s shopping-friendly atmosphere. Yamate Hill is perched on a headland that offers a breathtaking view of the rest of Yokohama.
While discovering the area, stroll through Minatomieruoka Park (Harbour View Park), which overlooks the harbor and offers the most beautiful view of the Bay Bridge. The area is home to the Yokohama Foreign Cemetery, which houses 4,000 graves of foreigners who lived there and contributed to Japan’s opening to the rest of the world. The area houses several Buddhist temples as well as museums – such as Yamate Museum and Iwasaki Museum -, many restaurants and a myriad of shops. If you’re keen to stay in a quiet neighborhood or if you are an expatriate with children – Yamate is home to many schools – this is an excellent place to stay in Yokohama.
Sakuragicho and Minato Mirai 21
Minato Mirai 21 and Sakuragicho represent both the business district of Yokohama and the location of the city’s central station, an ideal place to stay in Yokohama if you want to take the Shinkansen train to discover other Japanese cities (Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Kyoto, Fukuoka or Sapporo). Home to a wealth of skyscrapers and vast shopping centers, the Minato Mirai 21 district was built on the occasion of the Yokohama exhibition in 1989 and symbolizes Japan’s entry into modernity. In contrast, the Sakuragicho district is emblematic the ancient city, the preservation of traditions and historic Japanese heritage.
In this central area to stay in Yokohama, don’t miss a visit to the Yokohama Museum of Art, the Mitsubishi Industrial Museum in Minatomirai, the Yokohama Landmark Tower – a 70-storey skyscraper housing an array of restaurants, shopping centers, and a panoramic observatory on the 69th floor, accessible via the world’s fastest elevator. Also, make sure you visit the Yokohama Marine Museum or the Yokohama Cosmo World leisure park, home to one of the world’s largest wheels, peaking at 112.5 meters). It should be noted that the Japanese are very fond of amusement parks: you’ll find dozens of them where you can have fun with your children. Minato Mirai 21 and Sakuragicho are central areas to stay in Yokohama; however, living costs are high.
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