11 must-see things to do in Yokohama

Visiter Yokohama, Japon

Visit Yokohama, Tokyo’s big neighbor: check out our selection of 11 must-see things to do!

Yokohama is a port city and the capital of Japan’s Kanagawa prefecture. With over 3.7 million inhabitants, it is the country’s second most populous city, behind the Tokyo metropolitan area. Its international port is considered one of the most important in the archipelago and accounts for most of its activity.

In the late 1850s, after two centuries of isolation, Japan signed a trade treaty with the Americans, and Yokohama began to attract many foreigners. The Nipponese village saw its port grow in activity, its architecture undergo a metamorphosis and its center grow considerably richer with the boom in international trade. With its rich mix of cultures, its history and its proximity to the capital, Yokohama is an interesting stopover during a stay in the Land of the Rising Sun!

Looking for things to do in Yokohama? Find out what you can’t miss in this modern, lively and innovative city, whether in urban, social or environmental terms!

Also read on the Yokohama guide :

1. Chinatown

Visiting Yokohama inevitably involves a visit to ! Yokohama’s Chinatown appeared around 1860, shortly after Japan reopened to the outside world, and is now considered the largest in the Japanese archipelago, and one of the largest in the world.

Four magnificent main gates provide access to this lively, colorful and popular part of town, brimming with Chinese stores, restaurants and stalls, and home to several temples(Masobyo and Kanteibyo). Vary your pleasures by sampling Chinese specialties!

2. Minato Mirai 21 and its Landmark Tower

The Minato Mirai 21 business district, which translates as 21st Century Port of the Future, is a symbol of the city’s modernity. It is home to some of Yokohama’s best attractions, including :

  • Landmark Tower, Japan’s second-tallest skyscraper (296 metres)
  • The Cosmo World family theme park and its Cosmo Clock, a giant Ferris wheel (112.5 metres) that doubles as a clock.
  • The Nippon Maru museum ship, moored in the city’s port since 1984
  • Akarenga Sôkô or Red Brick Warehouse, a complex divided into a cultural venue and a shopping mall
  • Yokohama Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
  • The Yokohama Minato Mirai Manyo Club onsen, for a moment of relaxation

3. Yamate

Perched on a hill, the ancient district of Yamate offers a breathtaking view of the bay and its harbor, and is a must-see in Yokohama. As international trade spread through the city, it was here that foreign newcomers made their home. So it’s not surprising to come across Christian churches, a Western cemetery and colonial-style houses from the period (late 19th – early 20th century) on Yamate-Hon-Dori Street. The latter have been preserved, some transformed into museums, and are now open to the public.

4. Motomachi

Motomachi, Yokohama

Photo credit: Flickr – Jun Takeuchi

Motomachi, at the foot of Yamate Hill, is a chic shopping district created by settlers. Made up of five streets of Japanese and Western-influenced boutiques, it’s the perfect place to indulge your shopping cravings!

5. Yokohama Bay Bridge

Yokohama Bay Bridge

Photo credit: Wikipedia – Captain76

What’s there to do in Yokohama? Head for the Yokohama Bay Bridge (1989), which crosses Tokyo Bay! The bridge offers a pedestrian walkway (Yokohama Skywalk) over 50 meters above the water, with a view of the bay and the Minto Mirai district.

6. Museums

Musée Cup Noodles, Yokohama

Photo credit: Flickr – Holly

Do you like museums? If so, you’re sure to fall in love with Tokyo’s neighbor and its many museums. From the playful Cup Noodles Museum to the historic Navy Museum, there’s something for everyone! What to do in Yokohama Take your pick:

  • The Cup Noodles Museum, dedicated to instant noodles and their creator
  • The Musée de la Marine, recounting the city’s maritime history
  • The Hikawa Maru Museum Ship, a liner that has become a symbol of the port city

Also: Silk Museum, Yokohama Art Museum, Doll Museum, Hara Model Railway Museum, Ramen Museum.

7. Parks and gardens

Sankei-en Gardens, Yokohama, Japan

Photo credit: Flickr – Joe deSousa

Yokohama’s many green spaces contrast with the industrial character of this large Japanese city, allowing you to alternate between sightseeing and relaxation. Here’s a small selection of places to visit in Yokohama, whatever the season:

  • The traditional Sankei-en garden, recognized as a « scenic beauty » by the Japanese government in 2007, is home to a pond, tea houses and some 17 historic monuments.
  • Kishamichi and Sakura-Dori, a street lined with cherry trees, is a long promenade, formerly used as a railroad line, linking Nippon Maru Memorial Park to the islet of Shinko.
  • The Osanbashi pier is an urban space designed to welcome cruise ship passengers as well as visitors and local residents looking for a pleasant stroll.
  • Yamashita Beach Park stretches along the city’s docks, opposite the Hikawa Maru museum liner.

8. Temples

Temple Kanteibyo, Yokohama

Photo credit: Flickr – Wayne Hsieh

As in all major Japanese cities, Yokohama is home to major temples such as Shômyô-ji and its Jôdo teien garden, founded in the Kamakura period (1185-1333), in the south of the city; or Sôji-ji, a temple of the Soto school of Zen Buddhism rebuilt in Yokohama after a fire, in the north of the city.

These are complemented by the colorful religious and cultural spaces of Chinatown, Kanteibyo (1862), dedicated to the guardian of Chinatown, and Masobyo (2006).

9. Nissan stadium

Stade Nissan, Yokohama

Photo credit: Flickr – kanegen

Formerly Yokohama International Stadium, Nissan Stadium has 72,327 seats, making it Japan’s largest stadium. It was in this stadium that Brazil won the 2002 FIFA World Cup against Germany.

The stadium will also host the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

10. Noge’s nightlife

After dark, the Noge district in the heart of Yokohama is the place to be. Izakayas, small Japanese bistros, rub shoulders with foreign restaurants, bars and clubs, where locals and tourists mingle to enjoy the district’s unique atmosphere.

11. Kamakura

If you’ve got a bit of time left, continue on to Kamakura, a charming seaside resort just 30 minutes by public transport from Yokohama. Popular with Tokyoites and foreign visitors alike, Kamakura can be visited for its Buddhist temples (Kotoku-in) and Shinto shrines, or simply for its Yuigahama surf beach on Sagami Bay.

How to get to Yokohama

Want to visit Yokohama? Then you’ll need to fly to Tokyo Haneda International Airport (Narita Airport is further away). To prepare for your trip, remember to plan ahead, in particular by booking your flight in advance on flight comparators such as Ulysse, where you’ll find the best price for your departure dates. If you rent a car, you can reach Yokohama in 20 minutes; otherwise, special buses provide a 30-minute connection.

Already in Tokyo? Yokohama can be reached in around 30 minutes by train on the Toyoko line from Shibuya, on the Tokaido or Yokosuka lines from Tokyo or Shinagawa stations, or on the Shonan Shinjuku line from Shinjuku or Shibuya.

Where to stay in Yokohama?

Just take a look at this hotel comparator and you’ll see that it’s not difficult to find accommodation in this large, modern city. But where should you stay when visiting Yokohama? In Chinatown, close to many tourist attractions? Near Central Station, in the dynamic Minato Mirai 21 or the older Sakuragicho? In Yamate or Motomachi, quiet yet lively neighborhoods that appeal to locals and tourists alike? Read our article « Whereto stay in Yokohama » to help you plan your stay!

Map of hotels and accommodations – Yokohama,JP