Japan is a country that supports progress as well as conservation. They are very progressive in terms of development and technology but at the same time, you can clearly see that they value and treasure their history with their evident efforts to preserve and take care of these historic establishments and landmarks. When you go to Japan, you will notice this mix of old and new everywhere you go. In some places, the new overwhelms the old while it other places it’s the opposite that happens. There are also some places that have seem to showcase the balance between the two and a perfect example of such a mix of old and new is the district in Japan known as the Minato Mirai
The History of Minato Mirai
This place can be found in Yokohama, Kanagawa and the development and construction of Minato Mirai took decades to initiate. In the year of 1965, Ichio Asukata, who was the mayor of Yokohama, proposed the development plans for a certain area of the district. It was to be one of Yokohama’s six major developments. These plans were reviewed and remodeled with such detail that the actual start of the construction happened in 18 years later, in the year of 1983.
The area that they used for the development used to be where the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard was located as well as the Japanese National Railways classification yard. With this being said, you already know that this area was and still is somewhat of a bay because it is surrounded by sea water. To be able to use the area for its intended purpose, their engineers and rural planners had to reclaim the land. They did this by constantly putting soil into the water to raise the level of the ground below the water. It process also contributed a lot to the delay of the plan initiation because they had to wait for the soil to consolidate for it to be suitable for the construction works there were planning to do on it.
The benefits of constructing Minato Mirai became evident quickly because of how it helped connect certain areas of Japan together in this region. Before Minato Mirai was established in this area of Yokohama, the port, harbour, and industrial areas were divided. Once it was constructed, it was able to link these areas which eventually turned into what is now known as the business and central core of Yokohama.
People commonly refer to this area as Minato Mirai but unknown to all is the fact that Minato Mirai isn’t the complete name of this area. It is actually Minato Mirai 21. It was named that through a public poll conducted by the government. They choose Minato Mirai 21 because when translated it means “Harbour of the Future in the 21st century”. Although its name had an anticlimactic origin story, its meaning does perfectly fit its purpose.
A Guide to the Attractions Founds in Minato Mirai, Japan
When researching about Minato Mirai, you will immediately encounter facts of how it is an important business center for the big corporations found in Japan. To mention some examples of these big businesses, there are the likes of Nissan Motors, JGC Corporation, and the Chiyoda Corporation. This notion is still true to this day but business is not everything that is good in this area of Yokohama.
Minato Mirai has been able to flourish as a favored destination for tourists and travelers because of the many attractions you can find and enjoy here. Of course, by going here, you will be able to set your eyes upon the Yokohama Bay Bridge or experience the Yokohama Chinatown that is very nearby but there is so much more in store for you on your visit here.
As you tour this urban district, you can easily see many of their famous structures. These structures are the likes of the Landmark Tower and the three Queen’s Square Towers. The Landmark Tower used to be the tallest building in Japan from the year of 1993 until the year of 2014. Certain buildings were built with the use of great advancements in construction which made the Landmark Tower become only the 3rd tallest tower or skyscraper in Japan but nevertheless, this title is still a prestigious one to have. The Queen’s Square Towers, on the other hand, is an attraction that is known to be part of the iconic Yokohama skyline but, usually, it is more popularly known for the large shopping mall it contains within it. Where there is business, there is money and the Queens Square is definitely an establishment that would have something you would want to spend money on.
If you are looking for other great shopping places in this area, you’ll find a unique establishment called the Red Brick Warehouses. These two western-style brick buildings were built in 1911 and 1913. They were maintained very well and presently, it is used as an event space as well as a place where you can find stores and restaurants to shop in and eat in.
In the spirit of appreciating old things, you will also find a number of museums in this area. There are the likes of the Mitsubishi Minato Mirai Industrial Museum, the Yokohama Museum of Art, and the Cup Noodles Museum. The Mitsubishi Minato Mirai Industrial Museum focuses on educating kids through their interactive attractions like their aerospace feature as well as environment and technology features. By bring your kids here, they will surely learn about the technologies used in different fields of science.
As its name suggests, the Yokohama Museum of Art is where you can find modern as well as contemporary art that revolves around the history of Yokohama. It is a great place to learn about how the Yokohama became what it is today. Lastly, the museum devoted to cup noodles was made by Nissin Corporation. This museum offers kids a lot of activities involving cup noodles. The most popular attraction here is the one that involves designing your own cup noodles. It’s a very fun place to go to because this is the only place in the world that has an attraction like this. Even if it is quite an unusual museum, the uniqueness of the attraction alone should make it worth it especially if you are touring around Japan in hopes of finding things you can’t find anywhere else.
All these museums can find fun and excitement to both adults and kids but no attraction in Minato Mirai will excite kids and teenagers more than the place called Cosmo World. This is the amusement park you can find in Minato Mirai and it is filled with all kinds of rides. The large Ferris wheel that you can find in this park is one of the iconic parts of the Yokohama skyline so seeing it up close and personal should be a special treat. In addition to it contributing to the beautiful Yokohama skyline, this ride was also recognized for officially being the largest clock in the world at least until the clock that holds the record now was constructed.
Getting to Minato Mirai as well as the Accommodations You Can Find There
You can easily reach Minato Mirai from anywhere in Japan. Your primary goal is to reach the Yokohama Station because from there, you can either take a bus or take a car to the harbour. If by any chance, you are coming from the Narita Airport, you can opt to take the train that gets you to the Nippori station. Once there, take another train to the Tokyo Station via the JR Yamanote Line. Afterwards, you need to take one more train to the Yokohama Station through the JR Tokaido Line. All in all, this travel would take about one hour and a half before you reach Yokohama Station and this one-way fare would cost you a total of 4290 yen. You can also opt to take a limousine bus from the airport straight to the Yokohama City Air Terminal in the same amount of time for a price of 3600 yen.
If you are coming from any of the Tokyo areas, the route you will take will depend on the nearest station to you. If you are coming from the Tokyo station, it would be best to travel through the JR East Tokaido Line, the Yokosuka Line, or the Keihin-Tokohu Line. A trip through any of these lines would take about 25 minutes and would cost you only 470 yen for a one-way trip. On the slight chance that you are coming from anywhere else, you can easily research the fastest route to the Yokohama station through the internet to guide you though it isn’t necessary because the maps of the train system in Japan is very detailed so all you really need to do is read which train leads where.
Since this area of Yokohama is a business district, you can already expect that the accommodations or hotels to be found here are of great quality. If you want a place to stay in that has been tried and tested by previous travelers, you’ll want to try booking a place in either the Intercontinental Yokohama Hotel, the Pan Pacific Yokohama Bay, or the Shin Yokohama Prince Hotel. All of these hotels have received great feedback because of their service and facilities and if those are things you are particular with regarding the place that you will be staying it, you will not be disappointed in booking a room in these establishments.
With all the things about Minato Mirai being laid down here, it is evident that the district is alive and well in Japan. They show great appreciation and valuing of their historic landmarks and their potential for progress and growth is tremendous as well because of all of the budding and major businesses to be found here. As a traveler to this area in Japan, all you will really need to enjoy your trip or stay here is a solid itinerary to maximize the time that you have in this wonderful part of Japan. Once you get that in order, nothing should hinder you from having the time of your life here.