Five things you can only do in the future-focused city of Yokohama
Guide: Noriko Maniwa
Yokohama has been a hub of innovation ever since the launch of its port in 1859 made it a point of entry for international trade and culture. Since then it has grown to become one of Japan’s most vibrant cities, mixing cloud-bothering skyscrapers with charming traditional areas. In Yokohama you can walk around the bustling Chinatown and talk business in strikingly modern office blocks, hotels or conference centers before ambling your way around Yokohama Port. Here are five unique experiences not to miss in this restless city.
Enjoy tea with a difference
The Kahala Lounge
The Kahala Hotel & Resort Yokohama opened in September 2020 as a place that combines vintage chic with a sophisticated modern style. The hotel offers many amenities and services that comply with current Covid-19 restrictions, including a spa with a panoramic view of Minatomirai and a Japanese restaurant that consists entirely of private dining rooms. At the Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea, served in the 14th floor Kahala Lounge, guests can enjoy stands laden with sweet and savory treats for ¥5,000. With the option of enjoying in-house smoked salmon and cheese plus free-flow Johnnie Walker Blue Label for an additional ¥3,000 and amazing views of Yokohama’s sparkling Ferris wheel, this is a compelling addition to any serious workation plan.
The Kahala Lounge 1-1-3 Minatomirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, +81 45 522 0008
Lose yourself in this secret hideout
Billed as an “experience-based complex entertainment facility,” this multi-floored building is directly connected to Yokohama Station’s East Exit and has the atmosphere of a secret hideout. Each floor has its own unique theme. The first floor, named Asobuild Yokocho, is a food court with a traditional alleyway-style aesthetic. The second floor offers escape rooms, a museum and a roster of quirky shops. The third floor, meanwhile, has a stylish co-working space and gallery, while the rooftop is a multi-sports court where you can enjoy a quick game of futsal or tennis.
Asobuild, 2-14-9 Takashima, Nishi-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa asobuild.com 10am - 10pm (Hours for different floors and facilities may differ.)
Savor a luxurious brunch then a leisurely cruise
The Bills + Red Brick Cafe Cruise
Being a port town, Yokohama is known for its cruises and none are more popular right now than a casual “cafe cruise”, on which participants take a trip after enjoying tea, cakes and other delicacies. The Bills + Red Brick Cafe Cruise plan – which sees passengers dine on Bills’s ricotta pancakes, which some consider to be the best breakfast item in the world – is one of the most popular. The well-ventilated ship’s deck allows passengers to enjoy themselves while maintaining social distancing and taking in stunning views of the Yokohama Bay Bridge.
The cruise, which departs from the Red Brick Warehouse Pier, costs ¥3,400 for adults, ¥3,000 for junior high and high school students, and ¥2,800 for elementary school students (+¥200 to
all prices on holidays).
The Bills + Red Brick Cafe Cruise Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse #2, 1F, 1-1-2 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa +81 45 290 8377 Hours vary
Dash through the picturesque nightscape
The Space is the ideal hub for anyone looking to explore the chic Minato Mirai neighborhood by running through it. Group runs restarted in November, and there are nighttime jogs available that allow you to race through a vivid neon nightscape. There are showers and lockers available for just ¥680, so you can enjoy a endorphin-inducing workout and still look smart for your next business meeting.
The Space, Kannai Capital Bldg. 201, 2-25 Bentendori, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, +81 45 264 4888, 7am - 2pm, 4pm-10 pm Tue-Fri. 8am-7pm on Sat, Sun and holidays. Closed Mon.
Enjoy a vegetarian feast like no other
Soshoku cuisine, traditionally prepared by Buddhist monks in Taiwan, has come to Yokohama and it will have you reconsidering everything you thought you knew about vegan food. In the heart of Chukagai – aka Chinatown – Kokien reinvents traditional dishes such as tantanmen, grilled gyoza dumplings, and chicken and cashew stir-fry as soshoku cuisine. The secret is the incredible soy meat and faux shrimp they use which mimic the look and feel of the real things while being kinder to the planet. We recommend the healthy lunch set (¥1,580), which features fried “chicken” and a colorful celery and Chinese vegetable stir-fry.
106 Yamashitacho, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, +81 45 641 8868, 11am-3pm, 5pm-9.30pm Mon-Fri. 11am-9.30pm Sat, Sun and holidays. Closed every Thursday evening from 5pm-9.30pm