Yokohama Minato Mirai 21 a great day trip

Yokohama Minato Mirai 21 a great day trip

by MC2 Michael Doan
NAF Atsugi

Minato Mirai 21 is a large suburb in Yokohama that offers plenty of popular sites to explore for first timers and returning visitors alike. Minato Mirai 21 translates to “Port of the Future in the 21st Century.” You might find that a lot of the architecture in Minato Mirai steps away from traditional Japanese architecture and has a more modern and western feel to it. As I walked the streets, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in a bustling city on the west coast of the United States. The area was part of a large urban renewal project from the 80’s and features museums, shopping centers and restaurants.

Whether you live near Atsugi or Yokosuka, Yokohama Station is a fairly quick train ride and from there, Minato Mirai Station is only two stops away. It is an excellent place to step out into Japan to explore without having the worrying burden of traveling for hours.

While I was in Minato Mirai, I made a stop by Osanbashi pier which by itself is a site to see. With its unique design from wavy wooden decks and observation areas that overlook a huge portion of the bay and many of the attractions that Minato Mirai has to offer.

From Osanbashi pier you can see Landmark Tower which dominates the horizon with its stature of 73 floors equaling a height of 972 feet putting it at the second tallest building in Japan. The tower itself could be described as a vertical mall with shops, restaurants and an observation deck on the 69th floor where on clear days you can see Mt. Fuji.

But Landmark Tower probably won’t be the only thing that catches your eyes in Minato Mirai. Standing tall is a huge Ferris wheel known as the Cosmo Clock that once held the title of largest Ferris wheel in the world. One ride takes roughly 15 minutes for a full rotation which is sure to give you the chance to take in some sights with its height being 354 feet. And, if you are determined enough to go see it at night, you will be amazed with the light display the Ferris wheel emits.

Yokohama’s Chinatown is a treat in itself. From the amazing architecture and colors of the designs on the buildings and gates that inhabit Chinatown to the shops and stands that sell dumplings, ramen and other small bite size treats. Chinatown has something for everyone. The area was officially recognized by the Japanese government in 1955 and is the largest Chinatown in Japan.

Don’t let your time in Japan fade away with normalcy by staying within your comfort zone. Get out and explore!

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