Friday, January 14, 2011

Adventure(s) in Yokohama

Yokohama is the next largest city in Japan after Tokyo, and is reachable from the centre of the city in about 30mins on the (Tōkaidō line (JR)) (two JR lines from east Tokyo take you to Yokohama, Tōkaidō and the Keihin-Tōhoku Line - the trains running on the Tōkaidō line are much quicker than those on the latter). On advice from the guide, I got off at Sakuragichō (change at Yokohama), and was impressed by the super design of the bayside area of the city. This precinct is known as Mirato Mirai 21, and is home to Japan's tallest building - the Landmark Tower.
Landmark Tower, Yokohama
The information booth is directly on your left as you exit the station from the east exit. Yes it is actually there, with my hazy morning head I somehow thought it had been removed, and proceeded to explore Yokohama without a map or any kind of directions. 

Yokohama, as it is situated on a bay, has a number of marine attractions including the Yokohama Port Museum, sail training ship Nippon Maru and Osanbashi Pier. 

I visited the Mitsubishi Minatomirai Industrial Museum, which is located in the Mirato Mirai 21 area, behind landmark tower. The lower floor consists mostly of space and marine technology exhibits, with a history of Japanese rocketry and marine science developments. The upper floors house sustainable technology exhibits, energy (nuclear, renewable, coal, natural gas), a CAD design station where you can design vehicles individually or as a team (as a challenge game), and a flight simulator. The museum is directed more towards elementary and high school students but is a worthwhile visit if you have some time.
Mitsubishi Minatomirai Industrial Museum
I spent way too much time in the museum so did not see much else of Yokohama (also aided by the fact I did not have any kind of map). Afterwards I visited (....) for some Okonomiyaki and Gyoza. This restaurant has Okonomiyaki in a number of varieties, with various fillings. If you are in Japan be sure to visit an Okonomiyaki restaurant!

Following dinner it was time to return to Tokyo, for a few quiet beers. Yokohama is a cool city, ensure if you are travelling here that you have a map, as things are quite spread out and there are a number of museums and attractions.
Yokohama Mirato Mirai 21 Area By Night

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