Yokohama Food Guide
Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan by population, located just south of Japan’s capital, and offers dazzling views of Tokyo Bay’s sparkling waters. Home to Landmark Tower and the Cosmo World Ferris Wheel in Minato Mirai 21, Yokohama Chinatown, Yamashita Park along the waterfront, and Motomachi Shopping Street, a trip to Yokohama is definitely worth the 30-minute train ride from Tokyo. This Yokohama Food Guide covers the diverse food scene of the glittering port city.
Since Kanagawa’s capital first opened its doors to the world in 1859, the Yokohama food scene has been heavily influenced by Western culture. Yokohama is the birthplace of Spaghetti Napolitan (a Japanese-style ketchup-based spaghetti) and is home to some of the oldest bakeries in Japan. Yokohama is also the birthplace of beer in Japan and still has a thriving craft beer scene.
1. Motomachi Uchiki Pan
Motomachi Uchiki Pan, established in 1888, is one of the oldest bakeries in Japan, located on Motomachi Shopping Street, just a short walk away from Yokohama Chinatown. While this European-influenced area is packed with bakeries, Motomachi Uchiki Pan is still one of the most famous and longstanding of them all, especially for their “England” bread, the name for their shokupan white sandwich bread. While you may not associate Japan with having great bread, thickly-sliced shokupan is a staple of Japanese breakfasts. This generously portioned slice of bread makes for the most perfect toast, with an exterior that is perfectly crispy and golden-brown, and an interior that remains fluffy and impossibly soft.
The times that each product comes out of the oven are listed on Motomachi Uchiki Pan’s website, so you can buy your bread while it’s still hot and fresh. As you stroll around the cobbled streets of Motomachi, perusing the various boutiques with a still-warm loaf of bread in hand, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a tiny European town.
2. Yokohama Chinatown
In the mood for some dim sum? Or maybe you want to indulge in flaky Hong Kong-style egg tarts? Just a 7-minute walk from Motomachi Uchiki Pan, you’ll find yourself at Yokohama Chinatown, the largest Chinatown in Asia with around 600 colorful little eateries and shops lining the streets. Check out the Yokohama Chinatown Street Food Guide for our recommended savory and sweet street foods.
If you’re looking for a classy, upscale dining experience and want to indulge yourself in traditional Japanese food in Yokohama, head over to Konohana, located on the 8th floor of the Sheraton Hotel at Yokohama Bay. The waitstaff at Konohana all don elegant kimonos and provide exceptionally attentive service, serving up some of the most gorgeously plated dishes.
At Konohana, you can enjoy a seven-course saizen (literally, “colorful dishes”) lunch meal with a variety of seasonal dishes featuring the freshest local produce. From seats that overlook the scenic Japanese garden outside, you can enjoy dishes ranging from octopus tempura to melt-in-the-mouth sushi accompanied by freshly-grated wasabi made from the actual wasabi root (a luxury in Japan, where most restaurants serve generic horseradish masquerading as wasabi). With 22 different types of sake and a sake sommelier on staff, you are sure to experience the perfect sake pairing. And, of course, there are traditional Japanese sweets and matcha tea for dessert.
Looking for a hearty meal to satisfy you at lunchtime? Then check out Ohtanawanoren, an establishment that has been in business for over 150 years. With delicate paper sliding doors and golden tatami mats, the interior of the restaurant is classically Japanese and reflects the restaurant’s longstanding history.
Ohtanawanoren’s claim to fame is that the restaurant was the pioneer of gyu-nabe, Yokohama-style beef hotpot. Established in 1868, Ohtanwanoren has been around since the very beginning of the Meiji Period (1868-1912), a major turning point in Japanese history during which Japan ended the period of isolation and began the process of Westernization. Previously, the consumption of meat was forbidden in Japan, but the Meiji Period brought meat into the Japanese diet. Ohtanawanoren, which has been serving gyu-nabe, a precursor to the sukiyaki, since it first opened its doors, is one of the earliest establishments to embrace meat-eating culture in Japan. Today, Ohtanwanoren serves up hotpot with miso, green onions, and a generous amount of beef… a truly mouthwatering dish.
5. Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum
If you’re in the mood for ramen, and lots of it, there’s no better place to go to in Yokohama than Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum. While a bit out of the way from the bustling port city area and the rest of the establishments in this Yokohama Food Guide, it’s worth a trip for ramen fanatics. On the basement floor, you will find an impressive replica of Tokyo from the Showa period, with nine shops showcasing various regional styles of ramen from all across Japan. Here, you can learn about the history of ramen while enjoying noodles from some of Japan’s finest ramen shops.
One must-try ramen is Ryu Shanghai Honten’s super-rich miso ramen from Yamagata Prefecture. The soup is made with a combination of pork, chicken, and seafood, and the ramen noodles are thick and chewy, and it’s all topped off with a dollop of spicy miso that melts into the broth for an extra punch of even more flavor. Go all-out and order the large bowl of ramen, or if you want to save room to savor all the different types of ramen, get the sample size. Or, for something more hands-on, you can also join a cooking class and make your own ramen and gyoza in Asakusa.
Sugai is located in a hub of history and culture, with several museums such as the Silk Museum, Cup Noodle Museum, and Japan Coast Guard Museum all within walking distance. Nature-lovers can work up an appetite by strolling over the harbor to admire the glittering waters and watch boats pass by, or ambling over to Yokohama Park or Yamashita Park to admire the immaculately sculpted gardens. Then, come to Sugai for an incredible Japanese omakase experience.
With only 18 seats available, you’ll need to make a reservation to enjoy the luxurious dining experience at Sugai, which was awarded the Michelin two-star rating in 2013. This restaurant has no menu and offers an omakase experience, meaning “I will leave it to you.” The dishes are all left up to the chef’s discretion but worry because you’re in good hands. At Sugai, you are sure to receive an unforgettable multi-course meal with gorgeously-presented, imaginative seasonal dishes to wow your tastebuds.
7. Bar de Nankyoku
Less than a 10-minute walk from Sugai, you’ll find yourself at Bar de Nankyoku, a restaurant and bar with a wildly diverse menu. Yoichi Shinohara, the chef and owner of Nankyoku, has traveled to over 200 cities in 70 countries over the course of his career as a chef on a luxury cruise ship, even making expeditions to the South Pole. The fugu-preparation licensed chef was strongly influenced by the flavors he encountered on his travels, and the unique menu reflects his travels way down to the Antarctic, featuring dishes like Antarctic dry curry and Spam rice ball.
Their drink menu is also quite expansive, offering around 50 different types of sake, 11 types of tequila, 20 types of whisky, and wines from countries like France, Spain, Italy, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa. Come to Bar de Nankyoku to enjoy some diverse international cuisines alongside drinks to wet your whistle.
Ribatei is a longstanding family-run establishment that specializes in smoky and succulent yakitori. Since the end of World War II, the chefs at Ribatei have been perfecting their craft, and know all the ins and outs of yakitori. The current owner and chef, Tomotsugu Sakakibara, has more than twenty years of experience grilling up tantalizing yakitori, so you know it’s good. The interior of the shop is minimalist, modest, and cozy, and they offer sake and wine at affordable prices, so you can feel at home drinking and eating here. They also offer a personalized omakase experience, for those of you who want to see the chef go all-out. For a casual spot to grab a bite to eat alongside a drink or two, come to Ribatei in central Yokohama.
9. Living Craft Beer Bar
Living Craft Beer Bar is a stylish Yokohama establishment serving up domestic Japanese craft beers from as far north as Hokkaido all the way down to tropical Okinawa. With 12 taps, you’ll be spoiled for choice, so you might want to get their tasting set of 3 beers for a reasonable 1000 yen. Their beers come in three sizes: small (230 ml) for 600 yen, medium (350 ml) 900 yen, and large (500 ml) for 1200 yen. The craft beer taps are always on rotation, so you’ll be able to discover new flavors of the Japanese craft beer scene with each visit.
To accompany an ice-cold class of regional Japanese beer, Living Craft Beer offers dishes like fish and chips, spareribs, and Margherita pizza. Or if you have a sweet tooth, they also serve desserts like tiramisu and affogato, as well as coffee and lattes for those of you who need a little jolt of energy after a long day of exploring.
10. Sky Cafe
As the evening winds down, how about ending things on a high note at Sky Cafe in Minato Mirai, located on the 69th floor of Yokohama’s iconic Landmark Tower. It’s the perfect romantic spot, offering a breathtaking view of Kanto’s twinkly lights, that is, if you aren’t too busy staring at your date with starry eyes. The Sky Lovers plan, priced at 5000 yen on weekdays and 6000 yen on weekends, is designed with a romantic evening in mind and includes admission to the Sky Garden, two drinks, and a delicious spread of ham, seafood, and cheese to share. You will definitely want to make a reservation online because these seats fill up quickly.
Sky Cafe’s menu also offers light, sharable dishes like sausage platters, shrimp and avocado salad, and Yokohama’s specialty Spaghetti Napolitan, to make your Lady and the Tramp moment come to life. From a vantage point 273 meters high, you can see Mount Fuji during the daytime, if the weather allows. Or, enjoy the night view of Minato Mirai below, watching the whirling lights of the Cosmo World Ferris Wheel, streaks of color reflected in Tokyo Bay.
Article from Tokyo by Food.
Tokyo by Food is a platform for food events in Tokyo, with over 80 experiences to choose from and a fantastic resource for learning about Japan’s thriving food culture! What’s more, Tokyo by Food runs a charitable outreach program, the Food for Happiness Project, which donates 10 meals to children in Cambodia for each person who books a food event through our platform!
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