My One-Day Yokohama Experience

written by Yolanda Espiritu (青森県)

Yokohama01-IMG_0307It was the first time I had ever been to Yokohama. Now, I find myself recommending my friends and telling my co-workers who live in the inaka called “Imabetsu” and haven’t been there before to go when they have the time because it’s a beautiful place. I surprised myself when I said this because it meant I really liked the city! Moreover, it was surprising to realize just how much I liked the city, for one, but on top of that, to call a city “beautiful” is something I don’t think I’ve ever done before.

Personally, cities don’t tend to really fascinate me, and they aren’t something I would normally call “fascinating” or “beautiful,” so I was surprised at my reaction. You can find beautiful things in a city, but the city itself is usually a busy, crowded place, right? It’s not usually so clean and…beautiful. But, for some reason, I used that word for Yokohama. That makes me kind of nervous because I wouldn’t want my friends to be disappointed after my recommendation, but Yokohama is definitely a place to visit. I can say that with certainty. In fact, I encourage everyone to visit.

It was a unique city in that all the buildings and structures felt so newly renovated–into a work of art. For example, I don’t know where else there is a ferris wheel in Japan, but there is one in Yokohama, and it lights up! (For those who have gone to Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, California, the Mickey Ferris wheel is what it reminded me of.) There’s a dock area near the harbor that is beautiful to sit and walk around, and the view looking out at the city is so beautiful, too.

For any that have gone up to Hakodate in Hokkaido and seen its city view, I’d have to say I like Yokohama’s view from the Landmark Tower more. You get a 360-degree view of the area. For the first time, I was actually amazed at a city view, with all the lights and buildings. It might be that Yokohama’s urban planners, who mapped out how this city was going to look, decided to make things so that it would be easy to take great postcard-quality pictures.

What’s more, there’s a Chinatown in Yokohama! Given that it was the last weekend of Chinese New Year celebrations, this area might have been more laid back and quiet on a regular day, but this Chinatown had all the Chinese food I was familiar with and looking for that day, such as meat buns (“nikuman”) and sesame-seed red bean desserts (“goma dango”). Among other things they also had a “Raumen Museum” with ramen from all around the country, a Starbucks, and amazing crepe, all near the Chinatown area. I personally was excited to see another Chinatown after visiting the one in Manila over winter break, and being quite familiar with the one in Los Angeles, this Chinatown did not let me down.

Before going to Yokohama, I remember wondering what kind of a place it would be because I had always heard about it. It became “that popular place near Tokyo” to me, and now I see why it’s so popular. Although I only saw Chinatown, the Red Brick Warehouse buildings, and the Landmark Tower, it was enough to have me saying, “I love the place, and I want to go back!” ◆


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