Despite its relatively minor star status, many wayfarers would agree that Yokohama is one of the more interesting travel destinations in Japan. As a historic international trading port, Yokohama has always welcomed foreign visitors. The influences of different cultures are found throughout the city, from the food to the modern architecture.
Thanks to the diversity of the region, you’ll find a wide variety of fun things to do in Yokohama. It’s one of the largest cities in Japan, providing all the urban pleasures you can imagine, from karaoke bars to shopping complexes.
Not sure where to begin? Start planning your trip with this guide to the best Yokohama attractions…
Table of Contents
- What to do in Yokohama: Top attractions & places to visit
- Browse the underground Business District below Yokohama Station
- Spot Tokyo from the top of Yokohama Landmark Tower Sky Garden
- Stroll through Sankeien Garden
- Indulge in Chinese cuisine in Chinatown
- Get an instant ramen history lesson at Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum
- Enjoy an ocean breeze from Yamashita Park
- Shop locally made goods on Motomachi Shopping Street
- Discover the history of the port at the Red Brick Warehouse
- Where to stay: The best hotels for sightseeing in Yokohama
What to do in Yokohama: Top attractions & places to visit
Browse the underground Business District below Yokohama Station
If you’re travelling to Yokohama from another city, your Japan itinerary will likely take you to Yokohama Station. It’s where most tourists first arrive.
Yokohama Station is the fifth busiest railway station in the world and the hub for the local bus routes. The station itself is impressive, but the real reason to stick around is found below.
The west and east entrances to the station lead you to a massive underground business district with multiple shopping malls and dozens of department stores.
The station also houses several hotels, a supermarket, and a cinema. You could spend your entire trip at the station without needing set to foot outside and still have a great time.
Spot Tokyo from the top of Yokohama Landmark Tower Sky Garden
A trip to Yokohama wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the tallest building in Japan. The Yokohama Landmark Tower is close to 300 metres tall and features the world’s fastest elevator.
The observation deck is one of the top Yokohama points of interest. It provides a sweeping view of the surrounding area. Depending on the weather, you can see all the way to Mt. Fuji and Tokyo.
Even on an overcast day, the observation deck offers panoramic views of the city. The observation deck also provides a spot to grab some food and souvenirs.
Besides the observation deck, you can explore other areas of the tower. You’ll find more restaurants, shops, and commercial establishments. The tower even has a Pokémon store.
Stroll through Sankeien Garden
If you get tired of the crowded parts of the city, visit Sankeien Garden. It’s one of the best places to visit in Yokohama when you need to get away from the crowds.
The historic garden was opened in 1904. It includes many of the features that you may expect to see at a traditional Japanese garden.
You can stroll across green fields and small bridges that you take you over narrow streams. The area also includes several ponds and a large three-story pagoda.
Other buildings include several tea houses, a main hall, and a historic residence for the feudal lord.
Indulge in Chinese cuisine in Chinatown
Trying to decide what to do in Yokohama isn’t always easy, as the city has so much to offer, including the largest Chinatown in Japan.
The area is marked by four gates, letting you know that you’ve reached Chinatown. Even without passing through one of the gates, you’ll know you’ve arrived. Due to the brightly coloured buildings, signs, and displays, it’s hard not to notice the changing landscape.
The Yokohama Chinatown includes hundreds of shops and eateries. You can enjoy the flavour of authentic cuisine from various regions of China.
If you visit toward the beginning of February, you’ll get to witness the celebrations surrounding Chinese New Year. The area comes alive with floats, parades, and attracts lots of people.
Get an instant ramen history lesson at Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum
If you only have 24 hours in Yokohama, you may not have time to visit a ramen museum, but it’s an interesting way to spend a few hours during a longer trip.
The Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum is one of several noodle museums in the region. It’s dedicated to the inventor of the instant ramen noodle cup that revolutionised the way people eat the popular noodle dish.
Momofuku Ando invented Chicken Ramen and founded Nissin Food Products. You can learn more about the father of instant ramen through various exhibits before enjoying a warm cup of noodles at the on-site restaurant.
Enjoy an ocean breeze from Yamashita Park
Most of the top things to see in Yokohama are near the harbour, including Yamashita Park. This public park is well-known for its waterfront views and monuments.
The park includes a wide-open green space with the bay on one side and commercial development on the other.
As you stroll through the park, take a moment to sit on a bench and stare out at the water, and watch the ships come in. You can also find fountains, walking paths, and several interesting statues, such as the “Little Girl with the Red Shoes On” statue or the “Guardian of the Water” statue.
Shop locally made goods on Motomachi Shopping Street
If you want to know where to go in Yokohama for shopping, visit Motomachi. The popular shopping street includes a collection of tightly packed shops.
Most of the establishments are boutique shops and coffee houses. It’s not the fanciest shopping street in the city, but it has its own charm.
You won’t find many designer brands or tech stores. You’ll find locally produced goods at the various clothing stores, shoe stores, and other small shops.
The narrow street is closed to traffic. You can safely stroll down the street and go window shopping. Parallel to Motomachi is another shopping street called Crafts Street. Instead of clothes and shoes, you’ll find a wide variety of handcrafted goods.
Discover the history of the port at the Red Brick Warehouse
The Red Brick Warehouse is a series of old buildings that were renovated in the past couple of decades. It’s at the top of the list of places to visit for historic Yokohama sightseeing, allowing you to picture what the area may have looked like a hundred years ago.
While the buildings don’t feature exhibits or museums, the exteriors are well-preserved examples of the types of buildings that once lined the port area.
The main warehouse includes three stories housing over 40 shops. On the first floor and third floor, you can find restaurants, cafes, and a tearoom. The second floor is a little fancier, with a jewellery store and several variety shops.
Where to stay: The best hotels for sightseeing in Yokohama
As the city is Japan’s second-biggest, choosing where to stay in Yokohama isn’t always cut-and-dry.
For most travellers, the areas of Kannai, Motomachi, and Minato Mirai are a good base as they’re close to many of the top Yokohama tourist attractions and the city’s most-coveted sightseeing opportunities.
Here are a few of the best hotels in Yokohama to start your search…
- Hotel MYSTAYS Yokohama Kannai: A brand-new 3-star hotel offering spacious and clean modern rooms. Kannai Station and the Red Warehouse are a quick jaunt away.
- Hotel New Grand: This chic hotel, situated in front of Yamashita Park, features large contemporary rooms peering out onto Yokohama Bay. The location, just steps away from both Chinatown and Motomachi, is simply perfect for travellers.
- Yokohama Royal Park Hotel: Perched above the 52nd floor of the iconic Yokohama Landmark Tower in Minato Mirai, this lovely hotel charms guests with a barrage of amenities and large classy rooms with city & bay views.
- InterContinental Yokohama Grand Hotel: As you’d expect from this popular chain, their luxury hotel in Yokohama pushes all the buttons to make your stay as memorable as possible. The rooms here are cavernous compared to the usual Japanese standard and deliver tremendous vistas over the city & the bay. This is one hotel you don’t want to miss…