Shibuya crossing is the busiest intersection of Japan. The area, thanks to the many restaurants and other forms of entertainments, attracts a large crowd. The place is also quite famous among foreigners, who like to take selfies and videos as they cross the intersection multiple times. What’s so special about this crossing is that when the predestrian signal turns white, you can cross in any direction and hundreds of people flood the intersection at the same time.
Yokohama’s Chinatown, one of the largest in the world, is renowned for its delicious Chinese restaurants and gift stores. Most of the Chinese who have immigrated to Yokohama were of Cantonese origin but the selection of food is quite diverse with dozens of restaurants packed in a relatively small area. The area is deserved by the Motomachi-Chūkagai Station of the Minatomirai line. Express trains link Shibuya station in Tokyo with Motomachi-Chūkagai in about 40 minutes. If you are looking to eat in Yokohama Chinatown, I recommend to try the dumplings at a restaurant with a large image of four chefs with golden hats and lots of medals around their necks. Their dumplings are apparently award-winning and I confirm they are delicious. They have many establishments withing Chinatown so it shouldn’t be too hard to find.
Todoroki Valley is an oasis of nature in the middle of Tokyo. The valley, which is about 10-20 meters deep, was dug over time by a small river. In the summertime temperatures remain surprisingly colder in the valley thanks to the cold water and the shade provided by the large trees. A path follows the river and eventually leads to the Todoroki temple and a small teahouse. Next time you can’t bear the intense summer heat, head to Todoroki valley for a refreshing encounter with nature!
The Yokohama Ma Zhu Miao Temple, located in the chinatown of Yokohama, is dedicated to the Chinese sea goddess Mazu. It features a large colorful gate with vibrant green, blue and gold colors. The many lanterns linking the gate and the temple are illuminated at night.
One cannot miss the Yokohama Landmark Tower when visiting Yokohama. The tower stands out as Yokohama’s tallest building. In fact, it is the second tallest building in Japan behind the Abeno Harukas tower in Osaka. The tower hosts many stores and restaurants on its first five floors and a five star hotel in the upper section of the tower. The tallest observatory in Yokohama is located on the 69th floor or the Landmark Tower and offers an amazing 360 degree view of the city. On a clear day, mount Fuji and the city of Tokyo can be clearly seen from up there.
The Yokohama harbor view park is located on a hill overlooking the port of Yokohama. The parc features a pretty rose garden and an observation deck with a great view of the industrial port of Yokohama where ships are loaded with commercial goods. The Yokohama bay bridge is also seen in the distance.
Yohohama’s foreign general cemetery has an history that dates back to 1853 when Commodore Perry first arrived in Japan. The death of a crewman aboard Perrys’ ship prompted the Japanese government to create a foreign cemetery at Perrys’ request. The cemetery was originally part of the Zotokuin temple. As the presence of foreigners in Japan grew, the demand for burial grounds increased as well so that the Japanese tombs and the temple itself were relocated somewhere else in Yokohama. Nowadays, the cemetery can be visited for a small donation amount. It may not be to everyone’s taste but I enjoyed learning about the very first Gaijins of Japan who must have had to overcome far greater challenges than today’s Gaijins to adapt to the culture of their new country.