Since the days of the Meiji Restoration, when Yokohama was a village of a few hundred houses, Yokohama has been at the forefront of change and modernity in Japan. Now with 3.7 million inhabitants, the metropolis is Japan’s second largest city, and with convenient access to central Tokyo and Haneda International Airport, Yokohama has attracted the expansions of global companies including Apple and Shiseido.
After hosting matches during Rugby World Cup 2019 (including the final match between South Africa and England – the most-watched rugby event ever), Yokohama will serve as host venue for several 2020 Summer Olympic events (now to be held in the summer of 2021), including the baseball, soccer and softball competitions. In preparation, this spring Yokohama will unveil several new hotels, entertainment facilities and large-scale commercial complexes.
The international port city is now well-established as an overnight destination, rather than just a day trip from Tokyo, and visitors continue to arrive to witness a modern city growing right before their eyes.
Experience the Future in Yokohama
Since opening in 1993, Landmark Tower in Yokohama’s Minato Mirai 21 district has been the symbol of Yokohama’s development. The second tallest building in Japan, the tower’s observation deck on the 69th floor can be reached in 40 seconds on the fastest elevator in Japan.
The new Sky Garden located at the observation deck is tentatively scheduled to open to the public soon. Visitors can enjoy the 360-degree panoramic view of the city in a renovated space complete with an “aerial walking map,” a café serving original cocktails and Yokohama craft beer and a tower shop selling local crafts and limited-edition goods.
Landmark Tower rises above the Minato Mirai 21 business district, where progress continues at breakneck pace with new projects advancing at the PACIFICO Yokohama area and the new Yokohama Hammerhead passenger ship terminal.
To improve accessibility between the landmarks of Minato Mirai 21, as well as the district’s beautiful green spaces, two new pedestrian bridges are being built. The King Mall Bridge near PACIFICO Yokohama North is scheduled to debut in April 2020.
The new Goddess Bridge, set to welcome pedestrians in July 2020, will connect the INTERCONTINENTAL YOKOHAMA GRAND with the Cup Noodles Museum Park. The bridge is named after the goddess statue located at the hotel, which is a symbol of the development of Yokohama and the happiness of those that gather here.
New Generation Facilities
Looking out over the Yokohama Bay, near Cup Noodles Museum Park, Yokohama Hammerhead is the new port stop that opened in October 2019. Filled with new restaurants and shops selling Yokohama’s famous goods and snacks, Yokohama Hammerhead’s most alluring feature is Yokohama Bay itself. Visitors can view the seascape from several outdoor vantage points, including the deck of Quays Pacific Grill.
On Yokohama’s mainland, a new landmark high-rise – KITANAKA BRICK & WHITE – is set to open doors on April 23. Directly connected to the Minatomirai line at Bashamichi Station, the multi-use complex hosts commercial and cultural facilities as well as a total of 19 stores.
“KITANAKA WHITE” refers to a variety of lifestyle-related merchandise sales, service stores and dining establishments, in addition to high-class condominiums. A first in the city, Oakwood SUITES YOKOHAMA offers 175 serviced apartments on the complex’s 46th–51st floors.
Scheduled to open in May, the long-term and short-stay accommodations come complete with appliances and a full kitchen, a 24-hour front desk, concierge services, regular housekeeping services and a fitness gym.
Actively promoting Yokohama’s culture and arts, the “brick” aspects attract facilities that will serve as a cultural hub. For example, the new Billboard Live Yokohama is located at KITANAKA BRICK & WHITE, welcoming top artists from Japan and around the world.
Innovative Dining & Event Spaces
Opening this spring near Sakuragicho Station is the new Pia Arena MM, a 10,000-seat arena with state-of-the-art audio optimized to create an intimate, livehouse environment for music concerts. Live music venue KT Zepp Yokohama opened in March, offering a large concert hall designed for the next generation of music fans in mind. The venue has already hosted big names as well as popular Yokohama groups.
Closer to Minato Mirai Station, the Shiseido Global Innovation Center is a high-tech facility offering hands-on experience programs that rejuvenate the body and mind. On the first floor, the new S/PARK Cafe helps guests make healthy lifestyle choices with homemade food and drinks.
Meanwhile, at the S/PARK Beauty Bar, guests can freely try out Shiseido’s latest beauty products, and make their own personal lotion and emulsion that perfectly suits your complexion. The S/PARK Studio is not just for running and exercising, but also a place where participants can directly connect with researchers.
Next Level Shopping
Yokohama Station itself is getting a makeover that will be completed in August 2020. The fashion-oriented shopping mall NEWoMan Yokohama opens at Yokohama Station on May 30 with the theme, “Global Port City.” Similar to NEWoMan Shinjuku, the 10-floor Yokohama branch delivers high-end name brand stores including Gucci and Balenciaga as well as cosmopolitan lifestyle, beauty and health shops from Japan and around the world.
For a scenic shopping experience, head south to the Yokohama Bayside Marina where new Mitsui Outlet Park Yokohama Bayside is set to open on April 10 at Japan’s largest marina. Capturing the seaside environment, this sophisticated outlet mall has approximately 170 stores in total. Fast Retailing announced that it will open two new styles of family stores at the complex – Uniqlo Park Yokohama Bayside Store and GU Uniqlo Park – in spring 2020.
For those staying overnight in Yokohama, a range of new hotel accommodations can meet the needs of every visitor traveling from near and far. Within walking distance of Yamashita Park and Shinko Pier, Hyatt Regency Yokohama opens in early summer 2020 in a historic district where guests can enjoy both greenery and the sea breeze.
A long-established brand hotel in Hawaii opening in Minato Mirai on June 17, The KAHALA HOTEL & RESORT offers luxury hotel services as well as a rich program of cultural experiences. YOKOHAMA TOKYU REI HOTEL opens on April 7. Located just two minutes from Shin-Takashima Station in Minato Mirai, the lifestyle hotel targeted at millennials offers 24-hour grab-and-go and a co-working space that can be used at any hour.
Please make sure to check the hours and opening status as some places might temporarily close due to the current coronavirus outbreak.