When we talk about Yokohama, we generally think about Chinatown – one of the largest in Asia and the World – or the famous skyline view of Minato Mirai 21. But rather than a one-day trip destination, Yokohama is a big city that deserves a longer-lasting staying, offering many kinds of attractions.
If you want to skip the well-trodden touristy path and discover the city in a different way, here are some alternative ideas and reasons to make your trip a memorable one.
Wandering in the streets of Yokohama is not as uninteresting as you think. Even if it is very close to the Japanese capital, Yokohama has got its own identity. The city is proud of its local baseball team, and the Landmark Tower is the highest skyscraper in all Japan. But the identity of Yokohama is mainly defined by a cultural and social mix, not so common in Japan.
Maybe you don't know it, but Yokohama is famous for all its breweries and local beers. If you go around Hidonecho or Sakuragicho stations, bars that offers you to taste some local drinks are not so hard to find. A famous one is the Taproom, where 10 different homemade Japanese beers are just waiting for you. From pale ales to stouts, Japanese beers can be quite strong, but taste very good.
Jazz cafés and bars
Various kinds of people come to these places, in order to enjoy jazz music and benefit from a different atmosphere. During all the week, and mainly the weekends, clubs like the Downbeat organize little high quality concerts, performed by local or international players. This is a good opportunity to feel the Japanse way of life, far from the most common ideas.
The Bankart NY Gallery
The Bankart NY is not so famous for foreigners, and still very preserved from tourism. This hidden gallery - very close to the police headquarters - exhibits works of art of many Japanese artists regularly, and owns a very interesting book shop. It has been built in an old warehouse, and even if you don't feel any interest for contemporary art, Bankart NY is a peaceful place where you could simply enjoy to take a break, in its café or its terrace, located along a canal.
Yamate Hills was used to be the favorite district of the former American settlers. From now on, Yamate Hills is mainly a western style place to shop, that will not make you feel like being in Japan anymore. Some old American style houses are still preserved in a part of this district.
Surfing in Enoshima
Okay, not exactly Yokohama per se, but easily accessible from this city. Going to Enoshima is very easy, and will not take you more than 40 minutes. Beaches that are situated on both sides of Enoshima Island's bridge are very famous surf spots in Japan. Waves are not so high, but can allow you to enjoy surfing in a good place. In the evening, many Japanese people - and even kids - come after their working time to surf. The atmosphere is very relax, but Enoshima beaches can become crowding places in the weekends. If you want to rent a surf, some surf shops are scattered all along the seashore.