Yokohama Guide: 10 Things to Do Around Minato Mirai 21

Most of the guidebooks telling what to do in Yokohama feature lots of photos of Minato Mirai skyscrapers. Located along the waterfront and just a short distance from Tokyo, Minato Mirai is the prime business district and major tourist spot of Yokohama. It was initially developed in the 1980s as part of a major modern urban redevelopment plan aimed at connecting the port city’s traditional areas and commercial centers. Now, it is the major Yokohama sightseeing destination.

The area boasts office blocks, commercial facilities and entertainment. Minato Mirai’s (or Minato Mirai 21 and MM for abbreviation) close proximity to Japan’s capital makes it an excellent location for anyone who wants to base their trip outside Tokyo.

One of Yokohama’s symbols is the birds-eye view across “The Harbour of the Future” (みなとみらい) by night which consists of the Cosmo Ferris Wheel, the Landmark Tower and Queen’s Square. Minato Mirai has become a popular entertainment area for couples and families with attractions such as The Anpanman Children Museum, Yokohama Cosmo World and The Yokohama Museum of Art.

Check out all the things to see and do at Minato Mirai.

Landmark Tower

The buildings of Minato Mira’s central district form Yokohama’s iconic skyline, making it Yokohama’s top tourist attraction. At almost 300 meters, Landmark Tower is the most recognizable architecture. It is the fourth tallest structure in Japan, boasting 70 floors and the world’s second fastest elevator. 

If you want to indulge, the five-star Yokohama Royal Park Hotel occupies the 49 to 70th floors. The Landmark Plaza is located just beside Queen’s Square and adjacent to the Landmark Tower. The five floors of the Landmark Plaza feature a similar variety of shops and restaurants to those found in the Queen’s Towers.

Sky Garden Observatory

Take a panoramic view of Yokohama from the 69th floor of Yokohama’s landmark tower. The highest observation deck in the waterside city can be reached via the country’s fastest elevator. The entire ride from the first floor to the floor only lasts for 40 seconds.

Once you’re on top, you can get a view of up to 80 kilometers ahead, which includes Yokohama’s Minato Mirai and the Tokyo area. If you’re lucky enough to visit when the weather is clear, you’ll get to see Mount Fuji, Boso Peninsula and Tokyo Skytree. Grab a seat and order a cup of coffee at the café with window-facing seats while enjoying the scenery. The view is especially spectacular at night.

queens tower landmark tower yokohama minatomirai

Queen’s Towers

The three Queen’s Towers are located beside the Landmark Tower. You can easily identify them as the three neighboring towers that grow shorter from the next. 

Queen’s Square is located on the lower floors of the three Queen’s Towers and offers more than 200 shops and restaurants to dine and shop at. The Minato Mirai Station is located in the basement, which makes it the perfect first stop for your visit to Yokohama. The Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu is also located inside the towers.  

yokohama minato mirai 21 guide

Cosmo World Ferris Wheel

Connected to the Chuo district is Minato Mira’s Shinko District (“new harbor”), a man-made island most recognizable. You’ll easily find another unmissable icon: a giant Cosmo World Ferris Wheel. Another unmissable icon of Minato Mirai is the giant Ferris wheel that can hold up to 480 people. The Ferris wheel was built in 1989 as an exhibit for the Yokohama Expo and had for a while the world’s largest clock. The gondolas run a full circle every 15 minutes. 

Riding the Ferris wheel is one of the top things to do in Yokohama. You will need to enter Cosmo World amusement park, which offers entertainment beyond a gondola ride. There are a few roller coaster rides, carnival attractions and illumination in the evening at the park.

Yokohama Air Cabin

If you want to get all the views without tiresome walks, opt for the Yokohama Air Cabin, the 600-meter-long ropeway that was newly installed in April 2021. The entire ride connects Sakuragicho Station with Unga Park and takes you as high as 40 meters above the ground to get the full 360-degree panoramic views of Japan’s second biggest city and Kanagawa Prefecture‘s capital.

Manyo Club

While most hot spring towns are hours away from Tokyo, Manyo Club (万葉倶楽部) gives city folks a chance to experience hot spring baths with water sourced straight from hot springs in Atami and Yugawara — two of Japan’s renowned onsen towns. The hot spring facility also has relaxation areas, overnight accommodations and reflexology services: sauna, acupuncture and different types of massage.

Not really keen on taking off your clothes for a day trip? There’s an observatory with a foot bath (Observation Foot Bath) that overlooks the Minatomirai area and Yokohama Bay Bridge. After that, dine Japanese-style at their in-house restaurant.

Red Brick Warehouses

While the interior of this retro building is being renovated until winter 2022, the Red Brick Warehouse, or Akarenga Soko, is still one of Yokohama’s popular spots. It used to serve as a port but has since been converted to a shopping area filled with interesting shops, restaurants, cafes and a floorspace dedicated to events and exhibitions.

You’ll find a lot of things to do outside the building too. Situated right on the bay, you can soak in the beautiful views of the water and skyline of Minato Mirai. There are a bunch of concerts during the summer,  the October Beer Fest in autumn and the Christmas Market in winter. 

Cup Noodles Museum

One of the unmissable things to do in Yokohama is to visit the Cup Noodles Museum (also known as the 安藤百福発明記念館, Andou Momofuku Hatsumei Kinenkan). It’s a fun museum about the history of — you guessed it — instant noodles. There are workshops, interactive exhibitions and modern art, all centered around the famous Nissin ramen noodles. 

For a small fee, you can design your own cup noodles or make instant ramen noodles from scratch (reservations required). The Cup Noodles Museum is a 10-minute walk from either Minato Mirai Station on the Minato Mirai Line or  Sakuragicho Station on the JR Negishi Line and Yokohama Subway Line.

Yokohama Hammerhead

The new complex, which newly opened in October 2019, is a contemporary, multipurpose seaside mall that also serves as a cruise terminal. The shopping mall portion has a factory-like gourmet theme, and the place consists 25 shops and restaurants, including tea rooms, a sweets factory and ramen shops. Located a short walk from Bashamichi station near Minato Mirai 21, the main building also features the InterConctinental Yokohama luxury hotel.

minatomirai yokohama chinatown

Yokohama Chinatown

Near Minato Mirai (and just as visit-worthy) is Japan’s largest China Town (横浜中華街よこはまちゅうかがい) which has more Chinese-style food and gift options than you could ever need. A fantastic time to visit is at Chinese New Year when performers dressed as Chinese lions and dragons, equipped with drums and firecrackers, bless local businesses for the year ahead. If you can make your way through the crowds, you can experience the best of the ceremony first-hand.

All images taken from Canva under Free Media License Agreement

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