Sandwiched in between our home and Tokyo is the bustling metropolis of Yokohama, a city with a population of 3million plus! As the Edo Period came to a close in the mid-1800s the city was the first to open itself up for trade. Since then Yokohama has been not only an important city in Japan, but the world as well. Home to the Yokohama Baystars Baseball team, the largest Chinatown in Japan, and a beautiful harbor there is no doubt that Yokohama has a lot to boast!
Yokohama Kanteibyo is located in Japan’s largest Chinatown and was first constructed over 150years ago as a tribute to general Guan Gong. It’s elaborate nature rich in reds makes it stand in stark contrast to most shrines in Japan. This shrine is known as the place where the god of good business resides.
- Hours: Every day, 0900-1900
- Admission: Free
Shomyo-ji: Whether you are looking to do a short hike (there are trails behind the temple that are about ~1mile in length), the perfect sport to picnic, a peaceful place to watch the leaves change in the fall or a place to take in the Japanese Sakura (cherry blossom) blooms, Shomyo-ji Temple is an excellent choice. We bike here with the kids often and it’s one of those spots that’s just beautiful during every season.
- Hours: 0830 – 1630
- Admission: Free
Shomyo-ji Tip: Train or bike here as although parking is available it’s 1.) pricey and 2.) the closest parking is next to the train station.
Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum: I’m convinced the key to my husband’s heart is a bowl of raumen and the key to my son’s heart is a red race car. Luckily both can be found at the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum! I imagine if Disney featured this deliciousness at one of its many parks it would look something like this recreation of a 1958 Japanese neighborhood.
- Hours: 1100 – 2130
- Admission: 300yen + the price of raumen
Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum Tip: Half bowls of raumen are available at each of the various vendor locations. Go for the half-bowl portion, so that you can try more than one type! The museum map will outline for you the type of raumen that each restaurant serves.
Sushi Zanmai (Chinatown): Sushi Zanmai is a chain, but it’s such a great spot! When we walked in when my parents were visiting last year the greeting from the staff was so warm. Honestly I thought maybe some of the staff had met one of my parents earlier during the day. Later that afternoon Dominic joined us after work and the staff again welcomed him with the same warm welcome. Apparently that’s just how they treat folks here. Great sushi, kind people, family friendly, and they have an English menu – we will be back.
- Hours: 1100 – 0500 (yes, you read that correctly)
- Admission: Reasonably price menu
Indian Mantra (Yokohama Sky Building): We stumbled upon Indian Mantra while trying to find a conveyor belt sushi restaurant in the Yokohama Sky Building. By the time we finally found the restaurant we had been hunting for the wait was waaaaaayyyy too long for our kids to handle and it was getting late. We walked next door and enjoyed Indian instead. To be real, I really didn’t think I was in the mood for Indian cuisine, but Indian Mantra was delish! Forgoing sushi was a good executive decision this night.
- Hours: 1100 – 2300
Pepper Lunch: There are a ton of locations when it comes to Pepper Lunch which can be found in numerous countries in Asia. It’s considered a “fast steak” restaurant as the meat cooks on a hot plate in front of you. So. Flippin’. Good.
- Hours: 1100 – 2300
- Admission: 1000 – 1500yen/entree. You will not regret it.
Stroll Chinatown and pick up a “nikuman” (meat buns). They’re our kids’ fav! Also, how pretty does Yokohama’s Chinatown look as it gears up for the 2018 Lunar New Year festivities?!
Yamashita Park: Yokohama’s parks are just full of fall color and I just love taking it all in. If your hunt for a place to check out this fall head to Yamashita Park and while you’re there also take the time to stroll down Nihon Odori Avenue.
- Hours: Open 24 hours
- Admission: Free
Yokohama’s Trick Art Museum (located close to Chinatown): Sometimes I struggle with how to entertain the kids when the weather is less than stellar. If you’re in Yokohama (although cheesy) give the Trick Art Museum a go! Nothing like a rainy day and a full series of awkward family photos! You’re welcome.
- Hours: Every day, 1100 – 2000
- Admission: 1300yen/Adult; 600yen/Child
Fish Doctor: While in Chinatown why not get a pedicure at the “Fish Doctor?” Dominic was too ticklish to try this with me. I thought I was going to die of laughter! If you’re super ticklish – you’ve been warned!
- Hours: 0900 – 1800
- Admission: 1000yen/Adult, 800yen/Students, 600yen/Children 13-16yo, 500yen/Children 3-12, 500yen/Seniors 65+
Nippon Maru Sailing Ship: Yokohama Minato Mirai’s 21 waterfront district is a great spot to just explore (it’s downright pretty, too!), however if you’re in the mood for a bit of history jump aboard the Nippon Maru, a training ship nearly as long as a soccer field that was constructed in 1930 and in its 54years of service logged mileage equal to circling the Earth 45.4x!
- Hours: 1000 – 1700
- Admission: 600yen/Adult, 400yen/65yo & over, Free/Preschool kids and under
Want a great view of Yokohama? Take a seat on Cosmo World’s Cosmo Clock (claimed to be the largest clock in the world). Our kiddos loved it!
- Hours: 1100 – ???
- Admission: 700yen/Adult
Cup Noodle Museum: When a typhoon comes, where does one weather the storm? Obviously at the Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama! Duh. Because what is more comforting than being surrounded by instant ramen?! Looking forward to eating our personally made cups of noodles (that are sealed airtight and encased in bubble necklaces sometime soon.
- Hours: 1000 – 1800
- Admission: 1500yen/Adult
Anpanman Children’s Museum: For those of you not in the know…Anpanman is a Japanese cartoon character who is half human + half bread. His head is a bun filled with sweet anko, red bean paste. When he comes across those that are poor or hungry, he pulls off a part of his own head to feed them.
Clearly, we couldn’t resist visiting his museum. This was a really fun day, although I think the museum was a bit overpriced. Unless your kids are big Anpanman fans or you just really want to learn a bit more about the cartoon I think there are just as good (and less expensive options).
- Hours: Every day, 1000 – 1900
- Admission: 1500yen/pp (Mall Area is free)
Yokohama Baystars Stadium: It was late, pouring rain, and we were soaked. However, it was absolutely the best baseball game (Japanese or American) I have ever attended and one of the best Japanese memories that we’ve made so far. The fans definitely make the game, and the Yokohama Baystars fans definitely made our night! I feel like attending a Japanese baseball game is an absolute “must-do”and although there are other experiences that can be skipped if needed this is certainly not one of them. Photo from the Yokohama Baystars v. Tokyo Giants game in September 2018.
- Hours: Varies depending on game times
- Admission: 2000 – 10000yen/ticket
Hamagin Space Science Center: You can be loud, touch everything, and run around like crazy – welcome to one of my favorite things we have discovered so far, play spaces in Japan! I’ll admit, before moving here my preconceived notion was that most things in Japan wouldn’t be “kid friendly.” Fortunately, my short experience has shown me the exact opposite. Hamagin Space Science Center and the Oak Lodge Kashiwaba Park’s Log House for Children are both really fun and very inexpensive (we paid a total of ~$7 for all of us to visit the space museum and the playhouse was FREE). No doubt adventuring in Japan can be pricey, but contrary to popular belief it isn’t always (thankfully).
- Hours: Wednesday – Monday 0930-1700, Closed Tuesdays
- Admission: 400yen/Adult, 200yen/High School Student, 300yen/kids 4+
- Admission: Free
- Location: https://goo.gl/maps/TGQkTNoJPdP2
HARA Model Railway Museum: It took half the day to get out of the house on this specific day, but we finally made it to Yokohama (thankfully it’s only a 45min train ride away) to see the “choo-choos” @ The HARA Railway Museum. Miles really loved the museum (although I think he loved playing with the Japanese kids in the play area just as much as the trains themselves).
- Hours: 1000 – 1700 (last entry at 1630)
- Admission: 1000yen/Adult, 700yen/Jr. high and high school students, 500yen/Children 4 and older, Free/Children under 3
Nogeyama Zoo: I go back and forth with how I feel about zoos in Japan. On one hand my kids are incredibly motivated and love learning about animals (both land and sea). A trip to the zoo (or aquarium) rocks their little worlds. However, many of the animal habitats and enclosures in Japan are super small. Like super super small. We adventured to Nogeyama Zoo after visiting HARA Model Railway Museum and this held true. Our favorite animal here was the red panda and maybe that’s because it seemed like there was a good bit of space for the little guy. We were thoroughly entertained watching him as you could see him actively scheming and planning his escape route. I now can totally see how the one at the Norfolk Zoo in Virginia escaped a while back!
- Hours: 0930 – 1630
- Admission: Free
- Location: https://goo.gl/maps/67Aho8yRgQp
Zoorasia: All zoos are not cramped in Japan and Zoorasia is a better example of a zoo with a bit more room. Great play spaces and playgrounds for the kids, lots and lots of animals to see, well laid out, and super green! I plan on hopefully taking the kids back again when they are on holiday and Dominic has to work. Since our kids are young both of them were free and at 800yen/adult it made for a very affordable and fun afternoon!
- Hours: 0930 – 1630 (entry until 1600)
- Admission: 800yen/Adult; Free/Children under 6yo
- Parking: 1000yen
Kanazawa Natural Park & Zoo: I have mentioned a good bit that biking is our favorite mode of transport locally and for good reason. It’s 1.) less expensive, 2.) generally faster, and 3.) burns calories! With that being said we decided we needed to have a “Bike-only” weekend family challenge! Only rule for adventuring: have to get to said adventure by bike. No stepping foot on a train, bus or car. No paying for parking or gas. Over the course of the weekend we logged a total of 77 (beautiful) km (!!) which a portion of those kilometers took us into Yokohama to experience Kanazawa Park & Zoo. The zoo was not my favorite mostly due to the incredibly small enclosures (I’m talking about the rhino and the elephants specifically here), however the park located just right outside the zoo was amazing! If you haven’t experienced a Japanese booty sled this is your place (This roller slide in my opinion is the fastest one in the area. SO FAST that this uncoordinated momma ended up losing her sled halfway down! So you’ve been warned – hold on tight!). Lots of obstacles for the kids to complete as well and the park is 100% free. Grab a bit from 7-11, bring a blanket and sit down and relax while watching your kids play.
- Hours: 0900 – 1700 Tuesday – Sunday. Closed Monday
- Admission: Zoo: 500yen/Adult; Park: Free
- Zoo Location
- Park Location
Kanazawa Natural park Tip: Make sure to bring a booty sled as there are two roller slides at the park. If you don’t have one you can usually find them at the DAISO (Japanese dollar store).
Hakkeijima Sea Paradise: Sea Paradise, a marine park close to where we live had been on my local bucket list forever! The price tag always kept me at bay though. So when I signed up for a Yoga/Run/SUP event sponsored by ROXY Fitness on a neighboring beach I figured Dominic and the kids needed something to do in the interim while I was having a morning away. After all, I needed to make sure my tribe was enjoying a new experience, too! I have known for a good bit that Penny loves animals (no matter how big or small they are she calls all of them her “babies”), but this visit I learned that Miles really enjoys marine life a lot, as well. So much so that he was thrilled we all got to go through all the exhibits again when I met up with them after the ROXY event and explain #allthethings! Marine Biologist in the making?
- Hours: 0830 – 2130
- Admission: 5,050 yen for adults and high school students, 3,6000 yen for Elementary and Junior High students, children (4 yrs old +) 2,050yen, Below 4 y/o Free.
- Parking: Available 1550yen/day
The Red Brick Area in Yokohama is a host for numerous festivals throughout the year. On Christmas Day 2017, we checked out the Christmas Market!
ROXY Fitness Run/SUP/Yoga Event @Hakkeijima Marine Park (July 7th, 2018): ROXY Run/SUP/Yoga event on the beaches of Yokohama! I was the only (or at least very close to it) non-Japanese woman at the event and to be honest didn’t understand most everything. Luckily sports are a common language and I was able to fit in better that way! The all Japanese registration process (even with Google Translate) was a bit tough including writing my own name in Kanji which I completely botched and later learned that it translated to “bon appetizer” (I was redeemed a little when I saw at least the one I wrote in Katakana looked pretty good though). Thankful for good weather (earlier in the week it was predicted that we would have rain all weekend), new experiences, and best of all, new friends! If you’re up for trying something new (+ interested in some fun swag) make sure to keep an eye out for this event next summer they advertise it on Facebook!
Additionally, there a numerous special exhibits that often pop up in the city! Visit the Official Yokohama Visitors Guide website at: www.yokohamajapan.com to stay posted on those! Last year we had a dino-myte (see what I did there?!) time at the Dinosaur Special Exhibition!
Sakura Viewing Spots
We wound through Yokohama & Tokyo chasing after those Sakura booms during the month of April. This has got to be the most beautiful time of year in Japan. Pure magic. Below are our favorite spots in Yokohama! Looking to maximize the sakura season? Check out our Top 5 Sakura Spots Close to Tokyo!
- Hours: 1700 – 2400
- Admission: Free
- Hours: 0830 – 1630
- Admission: Free
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