The Suburban Chill of Yokohama

Yokohama is less than half an hour away from Tokyo by train, but the city differs greatly from the chaotically fast-paced and almost cold city of Tokyo. The city has an suburban vibe, with less crowds and almost no sense of rush that one gets in cosmopolitan cities.

Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris Wheel

Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris Wheel in the evening before the sun sets.

The most iconic landmark of Yokohama is the giant ferris wheel with a big clock in the middle, Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris Wheel. You will never lose your sense of time with this gigantic clock, though time seems to be of less importance here than in Tokyo. And when night falls, it is when the ferris wheel is at its most beautiful. It is not only illuminated, every 15 minutes, the ferris wheel spokes will bloom into fireworks and colourful spirals.

Illuminated Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris Wheel at night against the rainbow-lit roller coaster.

An amusement park is also built right under the ferris wheel, known as Yokohama Cosmo World. While it may pale in comparison with famous theme parks like Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan, the best part about it is that it is a free admissions amusement park, so you can walk freely in the park and choose to buy tickets to whichever ride you’re want to try. I particularly enjoy the “Kids Carnival Zone”, it always puts me in a merry mood just walking past this zone.

Akarengo Soko – Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse

Plaza between the red brick warehouses.
Red Brick Warehouse in the day.

The chilled vibe of the city is epitomised in this popular landmark, the Red Brick Warehouse (Akarenga Soko). It is made up of earthy-red bricks which pops out against Japan’s usual subdued building colours. Inside the building lie all sorts of shops, from big-brand names to small quirky shops selling creative hand-made items, and many dining options. By the building lies a large grassy open space where you can chill and watch the ships pass by the bay.

Me posing in a garden across Akarenga Soko.
Flowers taller than I am.

There is an annual Christmas Market event held at Aka-Renga Soko held at the plaza between the red brick warehouses which I definitely would go. I’m sure it would be extremely pretty and romantic, and the red bricks of the building would definitely add authenticity to the Christmas ambience.

Akarenga Soko lit in warm orange glow at night.
Red Brick Warehouse lit up at night

Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse

  • Address: 1-1-1 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa
  • Nearest Stations:
  • 6 minute walk from Bashamichi station or Nihon-Odori station. (Minato-Mirai Line)
  • 12 minute walk from Minato-Mirai station. (Minato-Mirai Line)

Bashamichi Shopping Avenue

Another interesting place in Yokohama has to be Bashamichi Shopping Avenue. While it may not be the best spot for shopping, the streets have a very tranquil European atmosphere, lined with European style lamps, boulevard trees and historical buildings.

Look closely at the street lamps and you will see a golden horse figure with a wheel underneath it, with the word “bashamichi” written in kanji. The name Bashamichi means horse-drawn carriage street. This name is derived from its past, when horse-drawn carriages fetching foreigners often went up and down this street during the opening of the port.

Close-up of a green European-style lamp with gold embellishments in Bashamichi Shopping Avenue.

Because of its proximity to the port, Bashamichi is where western influences like gas lights, photography and ice-cream were introduced to Japan for the first time. Its historical significance is still celebrated today with annual Bashamichi Festival in late October and early November, where horse-drawn carriages, rickshaws, and people dressed in antique western-style costumes can be seen gathering in the street.

A road along Bashamichi Shopping Avenue.

Bashamichi Shopping Avenue

  • Address: 4-42, Tokiwa-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama, 231-0014
  • Nearest stations: Kannai Station (JR Keihin Tohoku Negishi Line / Municipal Subway Line) or Bashamichi Station (Minato Mirai Line)

Cupnoodles Museum

Years ago, in “Find The Wasabi”, I had explored Shin-Yokohama Rāmen Museum, discovering the traditional noodle history of Japan. This time round, I found the modern noodle history of Japan in Yokohama. Cupnoodles Museum is an interactive educational museum filled with varied cup noodle displays from all over the world, and talks about the history of how cup noodles came to being.

Timeline of cup noodles : focus on the birth of the first cup noodles (September 18, 1971)
Glass display of cup noodles from around the world.
Close up of glass display of cup noodles in Japan.

The highlight of the museum is My CUPNOODLES Factory. At this “factory”, you can make your very own one-of-a-kind cup noodles package, and also select ingredients to create your own unique cup noodle flavour.

Cup noodle making counter containing a range of ingredients.
Me posing with a cup noodle plastic cup decorated by me.

Cupnoodles Museum (Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum)

  • Address: 2-3-4, Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama, 231-0001
  • Tel: +81 045-345-0918
  • Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00 (Last entry 17:00) Closed on Tuesdays (open if holiday / next day will be closed), year end & new year holidays
  • Admission Fee: Adults – 500 yen (tax included) / Free admission for high school age children and younger.
  • Cupnoodle making fee: 400 yen per cup (tax included)
  • Nearest station: Sakuragicho Station (JR Line) or Minato-Mirai Station (Minato-Mirai Line)

Great Italian Food – Piacere

Finally, there is a hidden food gem in Yokohama. This Italian cafe, Piacere, we randomly stumbled into has the most delicious Italian-style pizzas at a reasonably low rate. Thin, oven-baked flaky crusts and stringy cheesy goodness. Even the salad was good. And I’m no salad lover. One can easily find good quality Italian food at low prices in Japan, which is a great joy for me. I love Italian food, but they are usually on the pricer end in Singapore. However, the menu is entirely in Japanese, so it may be a stumbling block for non-Japanese speakers.

Me showing off the margherita pizza.
Salad with ham and cheese.
Margherita pizza.
Salami ham and mushroom pizza.
Peach pudding.

Piacere

  • Address: 4-47 Tokiwacho Naka-Ku | New Inazuma Bldg. 1F, Yokohama 231-0014, Kanagawa Prefecture
  • Tel: +81 45-651-2218
  •  Opening Hours: Lunch: 11:30 – 15:30 (L.O.15:00) ; Dinner: 17:00 – 23:00 (L.O.22:00)
  • Wallet Damage: Lunch 1,000 yen ; Dinner 3,000 yen
  • Nearest Stations: Kannai Station (JR Keihin Tohoku Negishi Line / Municipal Subway Line) or Bashamichi Station (Minato Mirai Line)

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Beauty- and Travel-holic who loves to play and dream, and recording her life moments.

5 thoughts on “The Suburban Chill of Yokohama

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