On evenings when I have more assignments to complete, I find myself staying closer to home, as opposed to venturing farther out into Tokyo. This works quite well, fortunately, as Yokohama is just a short train ride away from Hiyoshi. Express trains depart frequently, allowing for even faster service to one of the area’s busiest cities.
Yokohama is a major city of Japan, located under Tokyo on a map. Hiyoshi is actually in Yokohama, not Tokyo. The bustling city can be reached by taking the Toyoko Line, among others, to Yokohama Station. A number of large shopping destinations can be found in Yokohama, most notably the Vivre building, which houses a number of clothing chains as well as a Book-Off. Other popular locations include a mall inside of Yokohama Station, a street full of Pachinko Parlors, and tons of dining options.
The image most frequently associated with Yokohama however is Minato Mirai (formally Minato Mirai 21), a popular tourist attraction near Tokyo Bay, just two stops away from Yokohama station. Minato Mirai station connects to multiple shopping destinations, including “Queen’s Palace,” a massive indoor mall with gigantic ceilings and a unique interior.
Another notable mall near Minato Mirai is World Porters, a 7+ story building with floors dedicated to clothing, souvenirs, eateries, entertainment, home furnishings, portrait photography and even a spa. My favorite level was the fifth, where “Yokohama Broadway,” a New York-themed hallway lined with makeshift storefronts, led to upscale restaurants and a movie theater.
Claw and game machines in Tokyo come packed with a variety of unique offerings, including action figures and large stuffed toys. A line of game machines at “Yokohama Broadway,” however, offered luxury items, like expensive desserts, as prizes.
Possibly the most iconic part of Minato Mirai, however, is Cosmo World, a small amusement park that stretches around the manmade island. Just across the street from Minato Mirai Station are several smaller rides and a series of claw machines and arcade games for children. The park extends into the bay, accessible by crossing a large highway connecting Cosmo World. Here sits the massive ferris wheel “Cosmo Clock,” which can be seen all throughout Minato Mirai and is commonly definitive of Yokohama in photographs, advertisements and guidebooks. The name denotes the large digital clock in the center of the attraction.
Situated on this half of the park are other several rides, including a log flume and a roller coaster that spirals into an underwater tunnel. A multi-floor arcade, carnival games, food options and tables with chairs atop a wooden deck overlooking the water top off this small but entertaining park. While a ride on the log flume cost over 500 yen, entry to Cosmo World is free, making it a fun place for spectators to visit.
Also worth mentioning is the very end of the line, Motomachi-Chukagai Station, where a large localized Chinatown offers unique restaurants and shopping.
One warm Friday I hit Yokohama, Minato Mirai and Motomachi-Chukagai all in one evening. With a multitude of popular destinations in or around Tokyo to choose from, my time in Japan has been anything but boring.