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50 things to do in Yokohama

Explore Japan's second city, packed with attractions that'll inject some fun into your day of sightseeing

The historical Nippon Maru in the centre of Yokohama

As one of the first Japanese ports to open to the world in the late Edo era, Yokohama has retained its international vibe and historical uniqueness while developing into a massive modern metropolis over the past century. The city is packed with great things to do, including eating your way through Chinatown, riding a roller coaster over the sea and emptying your wallet at the many massive shopping complexes offering all the latest trends.

Check out our picks of the 50 best things to do in Yokohama, head down south and start exploring this beautiful city, accessible in a mere 30 minutes from both central Tokyo and Haneda Airport. And once you're all done with Yokohama, why not return to Tokyo and tackle our 30 essential things to do in the capital.

1

Paddle through the city…

You can start your day with some exercise: the latest craze in Yokohama is stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) on the river, which winds through the city's modern buildings and piers. Classes for beginners and various tour options are offered for ¥4,000 from 9am. Reservations essential, either through their website or email: mail@mizube.so (English OK). Mizubeso

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Koganecho
2

Browse the best shops…

From global sports brands such as Nike, Adidas and New Balance to local players such as Ships and United Arrows, this bayside mall brings you around 80 top shops. After shopping, relax at one of the inhouse cafés and let the shopper's high sink in. Mitsui Outlet Park Yokohama Bayside

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Yokohama
3

Peek into the future of visual entertainment…

This might be the first hologram projection theatre in the world. The stage is comprised of multi-image layers, which are created by a 'ghost-type' projection device that adds depth to the 3D image – a technological combo that produces an illusion realistic enough to be taken for a real actor. DMM VR Theater

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Yokohama Station area
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4

Customise your Cup Noodles…

Instant noodles are big in Japan. At this interactive museum you get to have fun while learning about the creative-thinking process of Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant noodles, by seeing, touching, playing and eating. You can also make your own original Cup Noodles at My Cupnoodles Factory. Cupnoodles Museum

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Minato Mirai
5

Sip on local craft beer…

Look for a small bar counter tucked away inside the restaurant Sul Ponte Umaya no Shokutaku and take a seat to taste freshly brewed Yokohama Beer. The copper cooker and storage tanks you see in the back are made in the Czech Republic, and there are five regular beer varieties. Yokohama Beer Stand

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Yokohama
6

Beef up on wagyu…

Loved for its delicious gyunabe (a histrial beef pot which is slightly different from sukiyaki), this long-standing restaurant is renowned for using exclusive Kobe beef and kuroge wagyu in its dishes. Traditional Japanese kaiseki dishes are also available. Yokohama Seryna-Romanjaya

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Yokohama
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7

Gaze out from a ship-deck rooftop…

Known as 'the whale's back' among locals, this international port sees passenger ships arrive and depart, but the real reason to visit is the sweeping view of Minato Mirai, the city’s seaside urban area. The rooftop is designed to look like a ship’s deck and invites you to linger longer with wooden pathways and grassy areas. Osanbashi Yokohama International Passenger Terminal

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Yokohama
8

Drop in for a jazzy night…

Its streets littered with music bars, restaurants and gig spots, Yokohama is the home of jazz in Japan. Here you can just drop in casually for dinner and a live performance: there's someone playing on stage every night. Bar Bar Bar

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Yokohama
9

Store your luggage…

There’s no need to cart your luggage around all day while you’re out exploring. Leave your bags with this cloak service that's open from 9am to 9pm (¥500 per day). If you're staying overnight, you can take advantage of their hotel delivery service. Sakuragicho Station Tourist Information Center

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Yokohama
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10

Experience a city hot spring…

If you can’t manage to get away for an onsen retreat, a trip to this mega spa is a good second best. Enjoy the indulgence of the Yugawara Onsen as well as massage treatments, a restaurant with a fantastic city view, and a choice of hotel rooms should you wish to stay the night. Yokohama Minato Mirai Manyo Club

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Minato Mirai
11

See worlds collide through art…

One of the region’s major fine art museums, this Kenzo Tange-designed building is set on a prime, tree-lined plaza in Minato Mirai. Abundant light pours in through a huge skylight above the courtyard in the centre of the entrance hall. To the right of the court, temporary exhibitions range from Leonardo da Vinci to contemporary artist Yoshitomo Nara. Yokohama Museum of Art

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Minato Mirai
12

Mingle with wild animals for free…

Besides the fact this zoo boasts over 100 species of animals – from penguins to giraffes to lions – the reason it’s become so popular is because it’s in the heart of Yokohama’s Minato Mirai district and it’s free to get in! Nogeyama Zoo

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Yokohama
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13

Try traditional kaiseki…

One of the most historical Japanese restaurants still in business today, Tanakaya marks its 153rd anniversary this year. Try the kaiseki two-hour lunch course (from ¥8,316) or the dinner course (from ¥13,662). Reservations essential. Tanakaya

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Yokohama
14

Run over the sea…

At this 'leisure land' consisting of an amusement park and aquarium, you can see more than 100,000 creatures at the Aquamuseum and touch marine animals like white whales at the Contact Lagoon. As the name says, sea paradise. Hakkeijima Sea Paradise

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Yokohama
15

Kick off your day at the buffet…

Located near Yokohama Stadium, this restaurant boasts an envy-inducing selection of wines and a terrace where dog-owners can dine with their pooches. The breakfast buffet (from 7am) features both Japanese and western fare and can be had for a mere ¥1,500, including a drink. Aquila Volans

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Yokohama
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16

View art under the railway…

Since 2005, the city has worked to transform this riverside area from an illegal red-light district into a hub for artists, who now sell their works at market stalls set up beneath elevated railway tracks during a monthly event called Nokisaki Art Fair. Every autumn, the Koganecho Bazaar sees artists from around the world turn the streets into a stage. Koganecho

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Koganecho
17

Jump into 3D nature…

If you thought BBC nature documentaries Planet Earth and Frozen Planet were spectacular, just wait until you see this collaboration between BBC Earth and Sega. Orbi Yokohama promises a ‘supercharged nature experience’ that fuses the Beeb's superlative nature footage with the kind of high-tech, reality-bending attractions seen at Sega's Joypolis arcade in Odaiba. Orbi Yokohama

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Minato Mirai
18

Mill around in traditional garb…

Yokohama was one of the engines of Japan's modernisation during the Meiji period, but the city still also holds traces of the preceding era. Try renting a kimono or more casual hakama wear for your Sunday stroll through town. Yokohama Kimono Station

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Yokohama
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19

Park off in a historic garden…

A beautiful, traditional Japanese garden that was laid out by a silk merchant in 1906. When religious relics were being torn down as religion fell from official favour in the Meiji era, the local merchant decided to save the treasures from the bulldozer, importing them from across Japan. The grounds now house a three-storey pagoda from Kyoto, and a feudal lord’s residence among many other priceless structures. Sankeien Garden

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Yokohama
20

Appreciate a pioneering meal…

Hotel New Grand has seen many a famous figure pass through its doors, and its restaurants offer a variety of original dishes and drinks. At Le Normandie, on the fifth floor of the Tower building, you can enjoy both panoramic views and chicken curry, the Japanese version of which supposedly originated here. Hotel New Grand

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Yokohama
21

Fly over Mt Fuji…

Ever dreamt of being a pilot? This flight simulator is an accurate model of the Airbus A320 aircraft's cockpit, is used by several airlines for pilot training, and allows you to fly wherever your heart desires – as long as you stay in Japanese airspace. Book through the website or call ahead (English available). JFlight

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Yokohama
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22

Try a ladylike hobby…

Browse amongst thousands of colourful paper napkins in this little shop in the Motomachi shopping street. In addition to dressing your dining table to the nines, you can use them for wrapping or decorating items à la decoupage. Der Kleine Laden Tokyo

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Motomachi
23

Hop on a romantic cruise…

Here’s an idea for a different kind of date: book a lunch or dinner cruise on the Royal Wing and enjoy the authentic Chinese cuisine while taking in city views from the bay. If you're short on time, try the 90-minute tea-time cruise. Royal Wing

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Yokohama
24

Experience zazen meditation…

Originally founded in Ishikawa prefecture 700 years ago, this temple was rebuilt in Yokohama in 1911 and welcomes people from around the world for zazen meditation training (English sessions are offered for ¥500 once a month at 9.30am). Sotoshu Daihonzan Sojiji Temple

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Yokohama
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25

Mix matcha with shochu…

If you still have time and energy for bar hopping, head over to the Noge area where many bars and izakayas line the streets. At Hanahane, you can dig into tasty Japanese home dishes while sipping on shochu infused with matcha green tea. Hanahane

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Yokohama
26

Watch the ancient art of noh…

Noh and kyogen are both forms of classic drama and considered two of the world's oldest performing arts. Watch them here along with other traditional Japanese arts like ryukyu buyo as well as new works through international collabs. The second Sunday of every month is Kyogen Day, when tickets go for just ¥2,000. Yokohama Noh Theater

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Yokohama
27

Look out from a 94m-high deck…

Yokohama’s iconic lighthouse was established in 1961 and refurbished in 2009. From its observation deck, you can enjoy views of the beautiful port town, which transforms into a kind of festival of lights at night. If the weather is clear, you might see Mt Fuji, too. It also houses a variety of shops and restaurants. Yokohama Marine Tower

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Yokohama
28

Say good morn with sushi…

It may not be as big as Tsukiji but you can still find excellent quality sushi at Yokohama City Central Wholesale Market. Stop by Sagamiya for breakfast (or lunch or dinner) and get served sushi piece by piece – the faster you eat, the faster they serve. Visit on the first and third Saturdays of every month for their 'public open day' where they demonstrate tuna filleting. Yokohama City Central Wholesale Market

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Yokohama
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29

Ride a rickshaw…

Don't have much time to see the sights? Not to worry: this rickshaw service offers a plentiful selection of routes that'll take you around town in a breeze. The energetic pullers are also highly qualified tour guides. Yokohama Omotenashiya

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Chinatown
30

Be a ramen chef…

A couple of floors here are devoted to the history of the variety of noodle that has become a national obsession in Japan, but the main attraction is the nine ramen shops in the basement. Each shop sells a different style of ramen, ranging from Sapporo ramen (miso-based soup) from the north, to Hakata ramen (pork- and chicken-based soup) from the south. Shinyokohama Raumen Museum

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Shin-Yokohama
31

Shop in the sea breeze…

Building on the legacy of the nearby Red Brick Warehouse, the bayside Minato Mirai area got another old-new centre of retail and culture in spring 2016. Utilising some of the aged brick warehouses still left on the waterfront, Marine & Walk is a multi-structure 'open mall' with attractive ocean views, narrow alleyways and faux-19th century décor. Marine & Walk Yokohama

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Minato Mirai
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32

Have a tea ceremony in the sky…

Take your tea ceremony experience to the next level by having it at Yokohama Royal Park Hotel’s tea room, which you'll find on the 65th floor (that’s 256m above ground) of Yokohama Landmark Tower. Kaikoh-an

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Minato Mirai
33

Tour a World Cup stadium…

In 2002, Japan had its first-ever FIFA World Cup finals victory at this stadium, now the home of local team Yokohama F. Marinos. Relive the moment with a tour of the stadium, which will also host the final match of the Rugby World Cup 2019. Nissan Stadium

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Shin-Yokohama
34

Munch on a wild crepe…

There are hundreds of panda-themed products on sale in Chinatown, but few are as popular as this cutesy crepe, which makes for an essential part of any walk-and-eat tour. Panda Crepe

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Chinatown
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35

Treat yourself to some view therapy…

Representing a sail bending in the wind, this hotel occupies one of the most iconic buildings in Yokohama and houses an exclusive spa where you can enjoy both a massage and gorgeous ocean vistas. InterContinental Yokohama Grand

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Minato Mirai
36

Dive into the jazz scene…

With its rich reference to the old and new, Japanese jazz has evolved into a genre of its own. This is the best venue to catch live gigs featuring both aspiring and big-name musicians. Motion Blue Yokohama

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Minato Mirai
37

Make your own dumplings…

Want to experience something special in Chinatown? At this restaurant, you can make your own steamed meat bun for lunch or dinner. Lunch lessons are available at ¥3,300 (plus tax) per person, including food, and are only offered in the local lingo for groups of five or more, so best bring a Japanese-speaker along – you'll need to book in advance, too. Yoshu Hanten Honten

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Chinatown
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38

See the beauty in factories…

You may not think a cruise through an industrial zone would warrant any attention, but come night-time and the cranes, powerplants and factories are illuminated like a 'castle of lights' while your boat weaves through them down mysterious, narrow canals. Keihin Factory Night View Minato Mirai Cruise

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Yokohama
39

Ride the giant clock…

The Ferris wheel at the centre of this small amusement park, with its giant digital clock, is a true Yokohama landmark. At 112.5m (369ft) high and with room for 480 passengers, it’s one of the largest in the world. The park has 27 rides in all, including a water rollercoaster. Yokohama Cosmoworld

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Minato Mirai
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41

Take a rest with reptiles…

Sip on Chinese craft tea while hanging out with reptiles at this unique animal café, where cuddling sessions take place till 5pm. For health and safety reasons, pregnant women and infants are not admitted. Yokohama Subtropical Tea House

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Yokohama
42

Witness some collector madness…

Train geeks of all ages will enjoy this collection of model trains and railways from all over the world, presented in the form of two large-scale dioramas. Around 1,000 pieces from the museum's vast trove, assembled by late mini-train collector extraordinaire Nobutaro Hara, are on display at any given time. Make sure to also take a look at the exhibits featuring antique paraphernalia from the early days of train travel. Hara Model Railway Museum

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Minato Mirai
43

Dig into Japanese lunch…

This cosy eatery located across the Zou-no-Hana Park serves up order-based Japanese dishes cooked using seasonal products. The view overlooking Yokohama port will surely add extra flavour. Charan Paulin

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Yokohama
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44

Play with Pokémon…

Die-hard Pokémon fans will relish the exclusive merchandise sold here as well as the chance to test their video-game skills by battling against other customers. Pokémon Center

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Minato Mirai
45

Cruise the sky…

Yokohama is a port city packed with cruise services – including this aerial one. Hop on a helicopter to get the best views ever and make your Yokohama experience unforgettable. Flights are offered on Fridays, weekends and holidays. Yokohama Sky Cruise

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Minato Mirai
46

Be a hipster among history…

Originally customs houses, these historical warehouse-style buildings were cleverly redeveloped in 2002, while retaining their retro appeal. Building 1 now serves as a cultural hall equipped with event and exhibition spaces, while building 2 is home to cool shops, bars and restaurants. Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse

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Minato Mirai
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47

Hop aboard an amphibious bus…

A swimming bus tour seems like the perfect way to make the most of this historic port town. Inviting you to enjoy the city and the refreshing breeze from the water. Sky Duck Yokohama

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Minato Mirai
48

Start your day in Chinatown…

Up early? Go for some healthy Chinese rice porridge for breakfast: this restaurant opens at 7am and serves up a diverse lineup of innard-warming dishes. Ma-san No Mise Ryusen

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Chinatown
49

Make a wish on the hill…

Found on a hill in the Noge area, this place of worship is an offshoot of the Naritasan Shinshoji temple out in Chiba and houses a Buddha statue that's said to have the power to grant wishes. Yokohama Naritasan

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Yokohama
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50

Sleep in marine surrounds…

All rooms on this hotel's Bay Club floor are designed with an ocean theme – think blue carpets and white beds – while the suites offer eye-popping panoramic views of Yokohama's port. Sleeping by the sea doesn't get more comfy than this. Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu

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Minato Mirai

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