Sankeien is a garden located in Yokohama wich opened to the public about 100 years ago. While the vegetation and the landscape of Sankeien are of great beauty, what makes Sankeien truly special is the many historical buildings that were brought from all over Japan by the then rich owner of the garden. In fact, many of these structures were part of old temples and shrines located in Kyoto, the old capital city. It is, without any doubt, one of the great gardens of the greater Tokyo area.
Yokohama Marine Tower was built in 1961, way before the impressive Landmark Tower, Yokohama’s current tallest building, came to existence. The tower is not that high with its 100 meters but nonetheless offers a great view of the waterfront of Yokohama. From its observatory, one can see many landmarks of Yokohama like Yamashita Park, the Hikawa Maru, Osanbashi Pier, the Akarenga, and Minatomirai. On the day of our visit we could feel the tower shaking a bit although winds were not that strong!
Yamashita park stretches along the waterfront of the port of Yokohama. Nearby attactions include the Yokohama Marine tower and the Hikawa Maru, an ocean liner now preserved as a museum. While taking a stroll in the park, make sure to pass by the beautiful rose garden.
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.
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.
A large ferris wheel, named Cosmo Clock 21, is located in the Minatomirai district, close to major attractions like the Landmark tower and the Akarenga. The wheel is especially noticeable at night thanks to the bright colorful lights installed on the wheel’s structure. The view of Yokohama it offers at the climax of the ride is amazing. Some special cabins have a transparent floor for a more thrilling experience. I suffer from vertigo so the regular cabin proved to be thrilling enough for me!
Akarenga, or Yokohama’s red brick warehouse, is a historical building that was used originally as a customs building for Yokohama’s shipping industry. It is now used as a shopping mall which hosts many gift stores, fashion boutiques and restaurants. Special events, such as food festivals, are often taking place at the wharehouse outdoor plaza on weekends.