As the first Japanese harbour city open to foreign trade, Yokohama has a long history of greeting foreigners. To this day, it’s one of the best places to visit in Japan.
The city also provides an alternative to the megacity of Tokyo. It’s not as overwhelming as Tokyo but has plenty of sites to explore, including a major Chinatown neighbourhood, various museums, and religious sites.
With one day in Yokohama, it’s important to plan your trip. Otherwise, you may miss out on some of the coolest attractions the city has to offer.
Not sure where to start? Plan your trip with this complete 1-day Yokohama itinerary…
What to do in Yokohama in 24 hours: A complete 1-day itinerary
As with our other one-day city plans, this Yokohama itinerary tries to include some of the most significant attractions. You get a taste of the city without needing to explore every side street.
You’ll start near the northern end of the harbour and work your way across the bay, checking out the best sites along the way.
From Yokohama Landmark Tower to Zo no Hana Park, you’ll get to spend most of the day on foot. Toward the end of the trip, you may need to hop on a bus to reach the last destination before it closes.
Catch a train, bus, or shuttle to Yokohama Station to start your trip
Whether you’ve arrived by plane, train, or automobile, you’ll begin your day at Yokohama Station. It’s the perfect starting point for exploring Yokohama in one day.
You’re at the northern end of the port area, and all the best things to do & see in Yokohama are within walking distance.
The station itself is a popular tourist destination. Underneath the station is a large underground shopping district containing multiple malls, department stores, and restaurants.
Whether you arrive at the east or west entrance to the station, take the stairs down to the underground complex. You could spend an entire day underground, but you’ll need to avoid dawdling.
Take a stroll around the area, check out a few of the shops, and then find breakfast. The underground complex has an endless selection of restaurants and cafes.
If the restaurants are too packed, the area just outside the station usually has a few food stalls serving local delicacies.
PRO TIP: Let someone else handle the logistics and find local gems by booking yourself on the Yokohama Private Local Tour!
Pose for photos with a superhero at Yokohama Anpanman Children’s Museum & Mall
After grabbing a bite from one of the restaurants or stalls in or around the station, travel south on Minatomirai Street until you reach the Children’s Museum & Mall.
The museum is surprisingly big, with many different displays and life-size cartoon figures, providing the perfect backdrop for your vacation photos. It’s a whimsical spot geared more toward children than adults, but still fun for any age.
As the name of the museum suggests, it’s dedicated to Anpanman.
The popular children’s superhero originally appeared in a picture book published between 1973 and 2013. It’s now a part of Japanese pop culture.
The interior of the museum includes many sculptures, murals, and scenes related to the Anpanman comic book. The outside of the museum includes a food court and souvenir shops.
If you’re not into the family attractions, you could skip this destination, but you’ll miss out on some interesting displays.
See everything from the top of Yokohama Landmark Tower Sky Garden
From the Children’s Museum, walk toward the port. You can’t miss the next site, as it stands almost 300 metres high.
The Yokohama Landmark Tower is truly a landmark in the city. A trip to the top is likely to be the highlight of your Yokohama itinerary, as you can see for miles in every direction.
On a clear day, you can even spot Tokyo and Mt. Fuji.
While the view is best at night, you’ll arrive before midday. You should still enjoy the 360-degree panoramic view from the highest observation deck in the city.
You also get to ride the fastest elevator in Japan. Fly up to the 69th floor of the tower in less than 40 seconds.
Besides a jaw-dropping view of the city, the tower includes more options for eating and shopping. You can find almost anything, including fast food chains and designer shops.
Cut across the Kishamichi Promenade to Shinko Pier
When you get back to ground level, walk across the street to the western edge of the port. Right next to the Port Museum, you’ll find Kishamichi Promenade.
The wide public promenade provides great views of the harbour from both sides. You can spot many of the attractions, including the large Ferris Wheel at the nearby theme park.
The main reason to travel across the promenade is to reach Shinko Pier. It’s the largest pier in Yokohama and mostly includes commercial development along with a few historic sites.
You could easily spend your entire 24 hours in Yokohama exploring Shinko Pier. It’s where you’ll find the Red Brick Warehouse, several shopping malls, a few museums, and Cosmo World.
Ride the Ferris wheel at Cosmo World
Cosmo World is the first site that you’ll see as you reach Shinko Pier. In fact, you’ll likely see the towering Ferris wheel before you even cross the promenade to the pier.
Cosmo World is an amusement park with numerous roller coaster rides, a shopping centre, and the Ferris Wheel. Named Cosmo Clock 21, it was formerly the tallest Ferris Wheel in the world.
While the Landmark Tower offers a better view of the city, you can still see quite a lot from the top of the wheel.
When trying to see as much of Yokohama in 24 hours as you can, you can’t spend too much time at any stop. After going on the Ferris wheel or exploring the park for an hour, it’s time to move on and get some more food.
Directly across the street from the park, stop at the Cup Noodles Museum. The interactive museum showcases the history of instant ramen and includes numerous displays and exhibits, but the main reason to stop here is the food.
Get a quick cup of instant ramen at the museum’s restaurant, slurp down your food, and walk to the southeast side of Shinko Pier.
Shop at the historic Red Brick Warehouse
From the theme park and the noodle museum, it’s just a couple of blocks to the Red Brick Warehouse.
As you may guess, this attraction features old warehouses constructed from red brick. The buildings were formerly used for shipping activities almost 100 years ago.
The site was recently renovated and now includes commercial spaces. You’ll come across about 40 different shops.
During a stroll through the warehouse area, you’ll find open cafes, a food court, and various shops on the first floor. The second floor includes a few jewellery stores and high-end boutique shops.
Some of the best spots are on the third floor, including a tearoom and several cafes and bars. While you’re up there, get a drink or a snack.
PRO TIP: Ready to taste the absolute best of Yokohama? Delight your tastebuds on the Eat Like a Local in Yokohama Tour!
Relax and enjoy fresh air at Zo no Hana Park
When you finish exploring the warehouse, exit Shinko Pier to the south. When you get back on land, you’ll enter Zo no Hana Park.
The park isn’t very big, but it does include more sweeping views of the port area and a few spots to sit and relax. The park faces the bay and includes rows of stones in open grassy areas where you can sit.
Throughout the trip, almost every stop has a selection of restaurants, cafes, and stalls where you can grab a quick meal.
The park also has a few food options, including Zo-no-Hana Café. While you can get a meal, the main reason to visit the café is the soft serve ice cream. Enjoy a cold treat as you sit out in the open park.
Explore the streets of Yokohama’s Chinatown
Don’t get too comfortable at the park. After enjoying an ice cream, it’s time to explore Chinatown. It’s directly across the street from the park and covers several city blocks.
While many cities around the world have their own versions of Chinatown, this is one of the largest that you’ll ever come across outside of China.
The Yokohama Chinatown includes about 250 Chinese-owned restaurants and shops. Every building is covered in bright displays and Chinese characters.
As you walk the crowded, colourful streets, you’ll forget you’re in Japan. You can even enjoy authentic Chinese cuisine if you’re still hungry after grabbing small snacks throughout the trip.
Walk through Sankeien Garden
When you finish wandering the streets of Chinatown, catch the bus to Sankeien Garden.
To reach the last stop on your trip, you’ll need to walk a couple of blocks north to Geijutsugekijo NHK Mae Bus Stop. It’s a 30-minute bus ride to the garden, but a 60-minute trip on foot.
Sankeien is a traditional Japanese garden, opened to the public in 1906. Covering over 175,000 square metres, the garden includes a three-story pagoda on top of a hill overlooking the green lawn.
Take a stroll along the paths, and cross bridges over gentle streams and ponds. It’s a tranquil setting and a departure from the crowded streets of Chinatown.
As the sun starts to set, it’s time to catch the bus back to your hotel or the station and call it a day.
Where to stay: The best hotels for 24 hours in Yokohama
As Japan’s second-biggest city, it’s no surprise that sorting through the best places to stay in Yokohama can sometimes be a challenge. If you’ve only got a quick layover in Yokohama, the areas of Kannai, Motomachi, and Minato Mirai are a good place to start your accommodations search. Try one of these top Yokohama hotels on for size…
- Hotel MYSTAYS Yokohama Kannai: A newer 3-star hotel with simple and spacious contemporary rooms that are a cut above what you’d normally find in this price range in Japan. Kannai Station is less than five minutes away by foot to whisk you anywhere you want to go in the city.
- Hotel New Grand: While throwing the term “new” into its name is slightly deceiving, this heritage hotel has got the “grand” part down pat. This historical property has a century of hospitality behind it and, although updated for the 21st century, shows off its turn-of-the-century elegance throughout. The location close to both Chinatown and Motomachi is fantastic as well.
- Yokohama Royal Park Hotel: If mega views are what you’re after, look no further than this hotel located above the 52nd floor of the Yokohama Landmark Tower in Minato Mirai. Besides the amazing vistas of the city & bay, you can even catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji on a clear day!
- InterContinental Yokohama Grand Hotel: The Yokohama accommodations experience doesn’t get much better than this fabulous luxury hotel in the heart of Minato Mirai. Guests will be absolutely delighted, not just with its spacious modern rooms but through its host of amenities, including six on-site dining options, an indoor pool, sauna, fitness centre, and spa.