It feels fitting that the Japanese kanji for “autumn” (秋) contains the character for “fire” (火) because so far it has been one hot season. So much so that the fall foliage is now completely out of whack. Normally, you get to enjoy the changing of Japanese leaves around mid to late October, but this year, due to the high temperatures, the peak foliage season will be in late November. The good news is that it’ll give you more time to decide where to enjoy Japan’s famous autumn leaves. If you’re in Yokohama this month, you’ll have plenty of places to choose from.
Yokohama’s Best 2021 Foliage-Viewing Spots
Yokohama Visitors’ Guide has published a list of 11 spots around the city that become works of art when blanketed with yellow, red and brown autumn leaves. You’ll find a lot of traditional favorites on the list like Yamashita Park or the Sankeien Garden. But also consider venturing off the beaten path to lesser known but equally beautiful locations such as Mitsuike Park in Tsurumi or the Shomyoji Temple. If you’re looking for a place to visit with the whole family, there’s always the Kodomo no Kuni amusement land. Whether you want to admire the fall foliage in the middle of the city or in the heart of nature, there is a place in Yokohama that’s perfect for you.
Christmas Comes Early to Yokohama
As Japan never adopted the Thanksgiving tradition, the country is without a marketable theme for the 11th month. October is easy since it’s basically just 31 days of promoting Halloween. But November? Well, that has slowly become “early Christmas” and some places are leaning hard into that. For example, the Sirius: SKY lounge, located on the 70th floor of the Yokohama Royal Park Hotel, will be offering a Christmas and New Year “Sky Buffet” as early as November 1. The feast is very much inspired by Western Christmas traditions, with a lot of meat dishes such as roast beef, turkey and lamb. Sadly, though, they will not be serving the quintessential Japanese Christmas meal: KFC. You’ll have to get that on your own.
Where: 2-2-1-3 Minatomirai, Nishi-ku
When: Until Jan 6, 2022
And if you are already at the Royal Park Hotel for the buffet, you may as well reserve some Christmas sweets and desserts from Delica and Lounge Coffret on the first floor. The beautiful, decorative cakes will be available between December 21 and December 25 but reservations start on November 1.
When: Reservations until Dec 20
Bienvenue à Yokohama: Yokohama French Month 2021
Cultures are vast, diverse and impossible to absorb fully in one day or even a week. That’s why we have culture months. Starting in mid-November, you’ll get an entire month to interact with French culture during Yokohama French Month 2021, organized by the Institut français du Japon. You’ll be able to enjoy exhibitions and attend lessons (some of them available online) all over the city, covering everything from French cuisine to art, movies and more.
When: Nov 11–Dec 19
French Film Festival 2021
Part of Yokohama’s French month will include the French Film Festival held around the Minato Mirai area. Already in its 29th year, the 2021 edition will screen 10 feature-length movies and two shorts that won’t be available in regular Japanese cinemas. The lineup includes movies such as Aline, the Voice of Love about Celine Dion and Délicieux, the story of the first French restaurant that opened in the 1700s.
When: Nov 11–Nov 14
Ride the New Sea Bass Zero Sea Route
First launched in August 2020, the Sea Bass Zero sightseeing ship will soon be venturing beyond the familiar waters of Yokohama. It will travel all the way up to Haneda Airport on a one-of-a-kind tour that will give you an amazing panoramic view of Tokyo Bay. This may be your only chance to get to see the airport or the AGC Yokohama Technical Center (formerly known as the Keihin Plant) from the water. With strict coronavirus prevention measures in place, the new Sea Bass Zero is safe and fun for individuals, couples and families. The trip takes about two and a half hours.
When: Nov 14, 10am–12:30pm
How Much: ¥6,000 (Adults), ¥4,000 (Elementary School Students), ¥1,500 (Children)
Featured image by By 7maru via Shutterstock.com
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