Guest Post by Paula from Truly Expat
Yokohama was one of the first ports open for foreign trade back in the 19th century. That is why there is such a diverse range of international spots. From the cute boutiques of France to the hustle and bustle of China, there is a little something for everyone. You will be surprised to find that Yokohama was once the hotspot for foreigners to live with an international school, foreign foods and one of the busiest train stations in Japan.
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It doesn’t matter what time of day or what day of the week this place is always busy. Discover Asia’s largest Chinatown; by roaming around and exploring the temples, shops and restaurants. Whether you sit down for Dimsum (or yum cha in Japanese) or explore the street food, this place will tickle all of your senses.
Must-try – You can not go past trying the pandaman chocolate steamed buns, which is what people head to Chinatown to taste. There are a few different types of steam buns, but the pandaman chocolate is my favorite.
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Monument of the birthplace of rugby
If you love your sport, then head over to the monument of the first rugby club. Yokohama is the birthplace of Asian rugby, introduced back in 1899 when Edward Bramwell Clark introduced rugby to his students. Rugby now is a big sport in Japan which it recently hosted the rugby world cup.
The road was established back in 1888 when visitors from abroad arrived at the Yokohama seaport where east meets west. This street will see you walking along cobbled streets and browse the little boutiques that make you feel like you are in a town in Europe. I always feel like I am in a little back street in France rather than the downtown Yokohama. Whether you try one of the many cafes or browse the many boutiques, you can’t help but see two cultures blended into one.
Must try – Uchiki Pan is the very first bakery in Japan; nothing is better than picking up some fresh pastry or two for the day.
Yokohama Country and Athletics Club (YCAC)
If you would like to watch a game of local rugby, then head over to YCAC to watch a game. YCAC is no stadium, but it does have a lovely family feel to it. Ensure you look at the website before heading over to ensure that they are playing that weekend.
Yamashita Park is a public park along the water’s edge of Yokohama. Whether you choose to come during summer and watch many young families playing in the open air or come during Sakura season when the cheery blossoms make this park a spectacular site. Grab a snack, sit on one of the benches or pull up a piece of grass and soak in the atmosphere.
Yokohama DeNa Baystars
While we are talking sports, head over to Yokohama Stadium and watch The YOKOHAMA DeNa BAYSTARS. They are a professional baseball team affiliated with the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization (NPB). Baseball is huge in Japan and the atmosphere (even if you do not understand what they are chanting) if fun to watch.
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Yokohama Cosmo World
This place is great during the day or at night. The Yokohama Cosmo World can be found in the Minato district. You will not be able to miss it, as it is the largest clock faced Ferris wheel in the world. Although the amusement park isn’t huge, it will have enough to do to have you and the kids entertained.
Cup Noodle Museum
You do not have to be a big kid to enjoy this museum. The Cup noodle museum is an excellent place to explore where cup noodles originated. Ensure that you arrive early enough to be able to book in for a time slot to make your noodles; this is especially fun for kids (or big kids like myself). Then head upstairs to enjoy a plate of noodles from all different regions around the world.
Yokohama Bay Brewing
For those who love beer, you can not go to this little gem of a pub. It won an award at the Gold Brewers Seal 2014 in the Czech Republic. As a result their signature bay pilsner is a must. You can not dispute with the birthplace of pilsner now, can you? The founder of Yokohama Bay Brewing, Shinya Suzuki, has become quite the name internationally. He was only 30 years old when he won the Gold Brewers Seal.
Yokohama Noh Theatre
Noh is the oldest surviving theatrical art in Japan; it can be traced back six hundred years. Whether you choose to see a performance or go on a guided and non-guided tour of the theatre, this place will amaze you. It has so much detail and so much history and is well worth a visit.
Yokohama Station, which is located in the Nishi Ward, is crazy busy. It is ranked as one of the top ten busiest stations in the world. Avoid it at rush hour if possible. Unless of course, you would like to experience what it feels like to be an actual sardine. Just above this station, you will find the Takashimaya department store but also loads of little streets full of local restaurants and many boutique-style shops.
Must-Try – Nagaska Sarashina Tahei is the best soba noodles I have tasted in a long time. This restaurant has been running for over 100 years, and you can find it in Takashimaya shopping center on the 8th floor.
Yokohama at night
Yokohama comes alive at night. Whether its the bustling streets around Yokohama station or the lights being lit up in around Cosmo World or the Port, this place is so different and so pretty any time of year. Japan is so safe that wandering I have wandered the streets on my own many times. Side note the Kishamichi Promenade is probably my favorite view at night.