Harbour of the Future : Minato Mirai, Yokohama
A trip to the coastal city of Yokohama is always synonymous with a visit to the bay area of Minato Mirai. "Minato Mirai" which literally means 'harbour of the future' is the beautiful sprawling sea-side urban district of Yokohama and perhaps one of its most famous tourist attraction.
The seascape, strutted with high-rise buildings makes for a wonderful sight. Many attractions abound the area and the best of them are highlighted below.
1) Cosmo World Amusement Park
Housing the iconic 110 meters Ferris Wheel - Cosmo Clock 21, this amusement park has other rides too in roller coasters and carnival rides. The top of the Ferris Wheel offers sweeping views of the harbour on one side and the glittering district on the other. At night, the Ferris wheel is illuminated with different hues, adding to the dazzle of the area.
2) Yokohama Landmark Tower
Standing tall amidst other gigantic structures, the Yokohama Landmark Tower is the second highest building in Japan. One really needs to crane the neck all the way to look at its top from the bottom. The ultimate floor of the building is home to the Sky Garden observatory, from where stunning views of the entire district can be had.
3) Kishamichi Promenade
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This serene promenade connects the Nihonmaru park with the Shinko area. Originally constructed as a railroad in 1935, it has now been converted into a beautiful side-walk for the pedestrians. An almost ancient-looking steam engine, some actual railway lines from the other era, and the old US made railroad bridge makes the for a quaint experience, in sharp contrast with the skyscrapers all around.
4) Brick Warehouses
Warehouses of the yesteryears made out of red bricks, still stand the testimony of time here. Though, they now have been converted into shopping centres and restaurants. A walk around offers unique perspective into the olden days when Yokohama was still a small bustling port city.
5) Yokohama Bay Bridge
Part of the Bay shore route, the Bay Bridge is a suspension bridge just like its twin sister, The Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo. The pillars are lit up with various colours during the night, offering a truly spectacular experience.
6) Rinko and Yamashita Parks
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Of the six parks around the Minato Mirai area, Rinko and Yamashita parks are among the most sprawling ones. Offering splendid views of the coast and the skyscrapers around, one can do a plethora of activities here - be it, just enjoying the salty air, or reading a book or playing Frisbee. In the month of August, Rinko Park hosts the Yokohama Bon Odori festival. Podiums are constructed, drums are mounted and traditional songs are sung, all to the tapping tunes of the 'Odori (Dance)'. Eat local delicacies, and dance to the mesmerising tunes!
7) Osanbashi Pier
When dusk sets in, there is only one spot where you should be - the Osanbashi Pier. Considered an architectural marvel, this place acts as the passenger terminal for the cruise ships docking at Yokohama. Offering majestic and unobstructed view of the city line, even the majestic silhouette of Mount Fuji could be sometimes seen behind the lights of the city on clear days. Inside the terminal, there are also restaurants and souvenir shops of the Yokohama dock.
Get a coffee, sit on the pier, breathe in the whiff of the sea and watch the sun go down. A perfect day indeed!