Located at the center of the nation, Yokohama has been at the core of many of Japan’s recent economic developments. This port city is the second most populated city in Japan, with a total population of almost 4 million people, after the 23 wards of Tokyo. As this city is conveniently located along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, numerous foreign companies have set up their Japanese branches in this international trading port. The capital of Kanagawa prefecture, Yokohama, is a city filled with Japanese pride as not only is it one of the largest tourist attraction of the country but it is also one of the biggest hubs for business and culture.
A Look Into Japan’s Bayside Marina in Yokohama
Yokohama city, the capital of Kanagawa Prefecture, is ranked number two on Japan’s most populated cities. Located directly south of the city of Tokyo, this port city is also a major business and commercial center of the Kanto region of Honshu island. Its population of 3.7 million people has always been regarded as warm and welcoming to tourists as this city has been welcoming non-locals since the 19th century. With the opening up of Japan to outside influences and trade, Yokohama was one of the main cities that had seen a rapid growth and is, to this day, one of Japan’s major ports.
All the way up to the 19th century, what is known today as the great port city of Yokohama was only a little unremarkable fishing village. It was at the end of Japan’s 200-year seclusion that Yokohama had seen its opportunity to grow. It was in 1853 that fleets of American warships, headed by Commodore Matthew Perry, when arrived in the waters of Yokohama. The United States of America had begun pressuring the Tokugawa Shogunate to open the ports of Japan to the world and in 1854, the Treaty of Peace and Amity was signed. The treaty initially planned for the opening of the port of Kanagawa-juku, known today as the Kanagawa Ward, to foreign ships for commerce. Kanagawa-juku was a port city of great importance as it lied on the Tokaido, one of 5 major roads that connected Edo to Kyoto and Osaka. The Tokugawa Shogunate felt that Kanagawa-Juku would give foreigners too easy of an access to its major roads and cities, thus, it moved the construction of port facilities to the small fishing village of Yokohama. The port city of Yokohama was opened for use on June 2, 1859. This development had elevated Yokohama into becoming the national center for foreign trade. Foreigners even started residing in the city, first occupying the low-lying area of Kannai, then later moving up to the Yamate area which overlooks the city.
As Yokohama is located right beside the Pacific Ocean, it has a humid subtropical climate. This means that summers in Yokohama city are hot and humid while the winter season is chilly and windy. The summer heat in this city can reach at most 37 degrees celsius while the winters can go as low as -8.2 degrees celsius. Another aspect of Yokohama’s weather to take note of is the amount of precipitation it receives. Typically, the most amount of rainfall occurs in the months of July to October. Hardly any rain falls in December and January.
Yokohama Bayside Marina is where most of the boats dock in the port city. As the largest marina in the nation, Yokohama Bayside Marina holds around 1,500 boats and yachts. This area is very popular for tourists as it is very pleasant to sit back and watch the boats go in and out of the port. This area is also very popular for tourists as it is filled with great restaurants and shopping destinations.
Bayside Fun at the Yokohama Marina: Restaurants, Hotels and, Activities
The Bayside Marina is open every day for tourists and features many attractions that one might want to go to. From the high-service hotels to the world-class restaurants, this area has much to offer its visitors.
For hotels, the following have been recommended for their exceptional quality.
- InterContinental Yokohama Grand
This international chain hotel is the first of its kind to open in the nation. The InterContinental Hotels and Resorts chain has over 170 hotels built in various places of the world. These hotels all have a common goal of reflecting the elegance and unique aspects of the surrounding culture and environment. It is a perfect setting for businessmen who travel the world as it promises a consistently high-quality service that is uncompromised whichever branch one visits. As this specific branch of InterContinental is located in the major port city of Yokohama, it is not uncommon for the hotel to host business conventions and events.
- Yokohama Minatomirai Manyo Club
The Yokohama Minatomirai Manyo Club is a hot spring resort that features a relaxation above all else. This hot spring resort takes its water from the springs of Atami and Yugawara. The resort consumes so much hot spring water in its operations that there is a need for hot spring water to be delivered around six times a day at 20,000 liters each trip. There are many varieties of baths that one can enter, however, the most popular ones would have to be the Observation Foot bath, the Outdoor Bath, and the Cypress Bathtub. All of these baths have a commanding view of the bay and are perfect for photos. This resort also features spas with Thai massage experts and British style reflexology. Accommodations are in the traditional Japanese style with guests wearing yukatas and meals are Japanese food.
- Shin Yokohama Prince Hotel
This is a high-rise hotel (42-story) and is located at the heart of the port city. This is one of the most recommended accommodations that one can avail of while on a budget as the level of service and quality of the place is above the amount that guests pay for their rooms. The hotel is also conveniently located near many of Yokohama’s points of interest such as the Nissan Stadium, Yokohama Arena, and the Shin-Yokohama Station. Its convenient location and budget friendly rates also make this hotel a popular site for events and business conferences. This hotel also allows for guests to be picked up directly from the airports of Narita and Haneda via limousine service.
The food culture in Yokohama is very deep. From traditional Japanese cuisine to Italian, this city has much to offer its hungry visitors. The following is a list of the top rated restaurants in the city.
- Ohtanawanoren, Janomeya, and Arai-ya
These three restaurants all take the same spot as they are neck-to-neck for having the best gyu-nabe in the business. Gyu-nabe is the term for traditional Japanese hotpot. This beef stew is made with the meat diced into cubes, the base made with miso and green onions, and stewed over a charcoal fire. These three restaurants have been in the business long enough to have seen Yokohama as it was just opening up its ports.
- Hotel New Grand
This is the best place to try the ever popular Napolitan pasta. As a pasta dish created in the city of Yokohama, this has become the one dish that every visitor must try and where else to try it than at its birthplace. The Napolitan is said to have been invented by Shigetada Irie, the head chef of the hotel. He came up with the idea after the Second World War. He saw the foreign occupation forces pouring ketchup over cooked noodles and was inspired to come up with a way to create something more appetizing. He named this dish Spaghetti Napolitan after the dish Napolitan Seafood Doria created by the first head chef of the same hotel.
- Yokohama Brick Warehouse
This area was once a warehouse space but has since been converted into numerous restaurants and events areas. The Yokohama Brick Warehouse is where one can experience the undoubtedly best Aisukurin or ice cream of Japan. The Bashamichi Ice gives tasters a classic tasting ice cream with a nice Japanese twist.
Outlet Mall Shopping at Bayside Marina Yokohama
Shopping in Japan is as easy as taking a 30-minute train ride to Yokohama. This port city features all the major international brands as well as many local ones as well. The Mitsui Outlet Park in Bayside Yokohama, located in the Shiraho, Kanazawa-Ku, features over 80 different outlet shops held by brands known and loved around the world. The coastal design of this outlet mall was based on the Nantucket Island in the United States of America. The shops and restaurants are open from 10 AM to 8 PM. Wifi is available throughout the area and there are lockers which one can rent out in order to keep luggage safely locked away. There is an information center with guides, maps, and staff that can help tourists who do not speak Japanese. The only drawback of this place is that there are no avenues to exchange foreign cash but one may withdraw Yen from the various ATMs in the area and use credit cards. The great thing about shopping here is that most of the shops are tax-free.
Getting to and around Yokohama
One thing to always consider when planning an itinerary for a trip is the logistics for one’s travel. Luckily enough for people looking to visit the fine city of Yokohama, Japan’s public transport system is among the top in the world.Since Yokohama is a major destination for both tourists and businessmen, traveling to this city is without hassle. The closest and most convenient city to travel from would be Tokyo as it is only around 30 km from Yokohama city. The bayside city is conveniently connected with 4 major railway companies, all of which will meet at either the Yokohama Station or the Shin-Yokohama Station. The Yokohama Station is the center-most train station of the city and is the point from which one would most likely start their tour of the city. The Shin-Yokohama station is located on the outskirts of the city and is around 10 minutes away from the city center when taking the local subway lines. All the several ways to go about traveling to the port city of Yokohama are listed below.
- Tokyu Toyoko Line
By far the cheapest way to get to Yokohama from Tokyo, this trip will only cost 270 yen and will take about 25 minutes. Once can take the Tokyu Toyoko Line to Yokohama from Shibuya Station.
- JR Lines
There are multiple JR lines that go from Tokyo to Yokohama. The first would be the JR Tokaido Line from Tokyo Station to Yokohama station. From Tokyo station, it will take about 25 minutes and 470 yen for one to arrive in Yokohama Station. This trip is the fastest of all the JR lines. The second would be the JR Yokosuka Line which is the second fastest option. It would take around half an hour and 470 yen to get to Yokohama using this line. This line also provides a direct connection with Chiba and Narita International Airports. The third would be JR Shonan Shinjuku Line. This line provides a non-stop trip between Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Ikebukuro to Yokohama. This trip costs 550 yen from Shinjuku and 390 from Shibuya. There Is only a 10-minute difference in the time it takes to get to Yokohama between the two. The JR Keihin-Tohoku Line is the last JR line and slowest one on the list. It takes a total of 40 minutes to get to Yokohama from Tokyo Station and will cost around 470 yen.
- Keikyu Keihinyuko Line
As a rapid limited express train, this line provides the most cost and time efficient way to get to Yokohama. For the low price of 300 yen for a ticket at the Shinagawa Station, one can arrive at Yokohama in 20 minutes.
- JR Tokaido Shinkansen
As the Shinkansen(bullet train) was made for long distance travel, this is the priciest way to get to Yokohama but it is also the fastest. It is not recommended to take this option unless absolutely necessary. It will only take 10 minutes to get from Shinagawa Station to Shin-Yokohama Station.
One can get to most of the points of interests of the city of Yokohama by simply just walking. The most common route that people take to see the sights of the city is to start at Minato Mirai and walk along the waterfront. This would take tourists to Osanbashi Pier and eventually, Yamashita Park. From there, tourists can go to the Yamate district and the local Chinatown.
The city also has the option for visitors to take the local buses, called the Akaikutsu Loop Bus. The best place to start this bus ride is at Sakuragicho Station. This loop bus goes through most of Yokohama's attractions. These buses arrive at the stations every 30 to 40 minutes. Each trip will cost 100 yen but one may avail of a day pass for 500 yen. The validity of the day pass is not only applicable to the Akaikutsu Loop Bus but also most of the other local public transportation modes.
The little port city of Yokohama is filled with modernity and culture, where the continuous growth of urban features are kept in check by the local culture and traditions. Yokohama is unique because it successfully looks towards the future without forgetting its past. From its grand hotels in Kannai district to the shopping streets of Motomachi, Yokohama will give visitors everything that they would want to experience on a trip. With over 150 years of operation, the port of Yokohama and the city will continue moving forward and bring happiness to those that visit it.