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Meet my city: Yokohama

Lifestyle — Posted 06/03/15

Discover the thriving and colourful port city of Yokohama, Japan. Local Eling Hsu shows us her favourite places.

What season makes your city feel most alive?

Yokohama truly comes alive in the summer with omatsuris (Japanese festivals) and throngs of people looking to escape the stifling heat by the sea. Fireworks festivals for me have always marked the coming of summer with people in their yukatas (summer kimonos).

Best local spots for seasonal fruit and veggies?

Mom and pop shops are still alive and well in Japan and can be found along shoutengai (traditional Japanese shopping streets). In these shops seasonality is not just a marketing catch phrase but a way of doing business. If it’s not in season, it’s not available.

Describe your perfect weekend in Yokohama.

I love not having a plan when the weekend comes around. My perfect weekend would start with a leisurely walk with my dog and end with having dinner with my boyfriend. And in between I’d lose myself with all that Yokohama has to offer.

1. Baybike

I’m not really a cycler, but it’s the best way to experience the port on a sunny day. Baybike lets you do this on a whim – you don’t really need to plan where to park it and it’s cheaper than taking the bus or the train, with convenient pick up and drop off points located at the most popular tourist spots. 

2. Yokohama Mizunobu Juice Bar

Located right by Sakuragicho station, the newly opened branch of this Yokohama institution has been serving the area since 1915. I like to treat myself after a long day at work with a fresh, seasonal fruit juice.

3. Goku Tea House in Chinatown

After having some of the fantastic food on offer in Yokohama Chinatown, I head to Goku for tea. I love whiling away the afternoon with friends, family or just by myself in this picturesque tea house. I try something new every time I go there.

4. Yamashita Park

Yokohama happens to be one of the most dog-friendly places in Japan. I have a 10-year-old French bulldog who loves taking a walk along Yamashita Park, one of the more historical parks in the city. Come enjoy the street musicians and performers on the weekends, or feel free to join yoga or taichi sessions on weekdays.

5. Red Brick Warehouse (Akarenga Sōkō)

One of the most iconic series of buildings in the city, these repossessed 100-year-old warehouses now house gallery and event spaces, and dance and live music performances. There’s always something going on and I’m constantly amazed at the variety of events they hold there.

6. TAMAYO Burlesque 

When my sister asked me to join her burlesque class one day, I honestly thought I wouldn’t have enjoyed it. Beyond the costumes and make-up, it’s great exercise and a lot of fun.

7. Ami 

A chef-owned brasserie that focuses on organic vegetables and locally sourced ingredients. Their bagna cauda is to die for, with a selection of seasonal vegetables picked from a local farm in Yokohama.

8. Bus Bar

Years ago I was introduced to Bus Bar, Jack Knife – basically an underground bar hidden behind an industrial warehouse. It was recently moved to an exciting new location, astride an art gallery and event space. Thankfully, the owner still plays classical jazz on vinyl and prepares unapologetically old world cocktails. 

9. Manyou no Yu

The Japanese love their hot springs and Manyou no Yu, located in the very centre of this city, goes to great pains to ship in their spring water from Atami and Yugawara. Their 7-storey building, which houses myriad hot springs, restaurants, and massage services, is open 24 hours a day. Missing your last train has never been so luxurious.

Get more ideas for travelling in Japan.

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