16 Photogenic Spots in Yokohama That You Have to Capture on Camera
Just a short 40-minute train journey south from Tokyo lies Yokohama, Japan's second largest city. As you can imagine, such a city has a lot of great sights to see, and a lot of opportunities for budding photographers. In this article, we'll be looking at a variety of spots of exceptional urban beauty. Whether you're using high tech equipment or just taking a few snaps for your Instagram, you're sure to find something in Yokohama!
Feb 28 2019 (Nov 19 2020)
1. Yokohama Cosmoworld (Minatomirai)
The Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris Wheel in Yokohama’s Cosmoworld theme park rises a spectacular 112.5 meters over the bay and is illuminated in an ever-changing array of energetic colors, which makes for a great shot no matter what mood you’re going for.
It’s called “Cosmo Clock 21” because of the clock in the center of it, and because it lies within Yokohama’s central business district known as “Minato Mirai 21”.
There are a variety of other rides both inside and outside of Cosmoworld, ranging from haunted houses to rollercoasters and arcades. At night, the park is brightly lit up, which makes for some spectacular shots.
2. Pukarisanbashi Pier (Minatomirai)
Originally built in 1991, this striking building was designed as a pier for private and cruise boats. It is officially named "Minatomirai Pier Terminal," but locals started calling it "Pukarisanbashi," which translates to the "floating pier."
It's at night when Pukarisanbashi really comes into its own! It completely transforms, lighting up in a range of colors, and is a great spot for admiring the metropolitan vibes of Yokohama's bay.
3. The Nippon Maru (Minatomirai)
Venture to Nippon Maru Memorial Park in Minatomirai and you'll find plenty of things to see and do, such as museums, exhibitions, and events. However, the highlight of the park is the ship known as "Nippon Maru."
A former military ship used for training cadets, this ship really stands out with its distinctive white color scheme. Visiting it will really remind you that Yokohama has a rich history as a port city.
4. Rinko Park (Minatomirai)
This park is the largest green spot in the Minatomirai area, and provides a sanctuary from the otherwise packed urban sprawl of Yokohama.
Perhaps one of the best things about Rinko Park is the long promenade, offering unparalleled views of Yokohama's harbor. Whatever the weather, you're sure to get a great shot of the bay from here.
5. Kishamichi Promenade (Minatomirai)
This was originally constructed in 1911 as part of a railway, but is now a promenade that crosses over the bay of Yokohama. The construction of the promenade and the bridge will make you recall that era.
The Kishamichi Promenade is a great spot to observe the Yokohama skyline from, and is the best route to get from Sakuragicho to Yokohama World Porters (a massive shopping mall) and Yokohama Cosmoworld.
6. Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse (Bashamichi)
This distinctive red warehouse was constructed at the end of the Meiji era in 1913, right when Japan was going through a period of rapid westernization and industrialization. When looking at the warehouse, you could think that you were in Western Europe, but the surrounding area of Yokohama is undeniably Japanese.
In 1994, renovation of the red warehouse began, and came to a finish almost a decade later in 2002, when it reopened as both a cultural center and a space for local businesses. At night, they light the warehouse up, creating a stark contrast to other buildings in the area. There are also plenty of restaurants inside offering a wide variety of fare, so a trip in the evening is certainly worthwhile.
7. MARINE & WALK YOKOHAMA (Bashamichi)
MARINE & WALK YOKOHAMA is a chic mall located on the waterfront. It features a wide variety of restaurants and eateries. Keep an eye out for the angel wing mural above for a distinctive and playful shot!
Walking through these shops, you'd be forgiven for thinking you're not in Japan. The whole area has a distinct light and modern air to it.
The area remains active and full of life in the evening, but the bars do close quite early, so you might need to move on to Sakuragicho if you want to keep the night going. If you happen to be in Yokohama for Christmas, you should pay this area a visit, as they decorate the area very well with trees and wreaths.
8. Bankoku Bridge (Bashamichi)
Bankoku Bridge stretches across the river in the Minatomirai area, and as such offers an unparalleled view of the skyline there. What sets this photo opportunity apart, however, is how well the neon lights and light of the skyline reflect in the water here. It's almost as if you can see a second upside down Minatomirai!
Bankoku Bridge is mostly known as a spot with a great view of the Minatomirai skyline, but if you look closely, you'll find that it's actually quite photogenic itself. If you would like to visit it, you'll find it near to the Yokohama World Porters shopping mall.
9. Yokohama's Three Towers (Nihon-odori)
These three towers are found on top of the following buildings: Kanagawa Prefectural Government Building, Yokohama Customs Headquarters, and Yokohama Port Opening Hall. They are also known as the "King's Tower," "Queen's Tower," and "Jack's Tower" respectively.
The first of the towers, which crowns the Kanagawa Prefectural Government Building, is perhaps the grandest, which explains why it is known as the King's Tower. The building it crowns is open to tourists, and you can view the Red Brick Warehouse and Landmark Tower from its roof.
The second of the towers, the Queen's Tower, can be found atop the Yokohama Customs Headquarters. The tower's dome is green and looks particularly impressive on top of the imposing symmetry of the building beneath.
Part of the Customs Headquarters is also open as a museum, featuring exhibits about smuggling, counterfeit goods, and the daily schedule of a customs inspector. The museum is free, so it's definitely worth checking out if you are visiting the Queen's Tower.
The final tower, the Jack's Tower, rests on top of Yokohama Port Opening Hall. This building was built in 1917 to commemorate the opening of Yokohama's port. The tower is lit up at night, making for a very impressive shot against a dark night sky.
If you enter the building, there are local volunteers willing to give you a tour and explain the history of Yokohama and the Three Towers.
10. Yokohama Port Osanbashi International Passenger Terminal (Nihon-odori)
In the heart of Yokohama's port lies Osanbashi, a terminal for international cruise ships. You can enter the terminal and go up to a viewing deck on top of the building, known as the "Whale's Back," which offers a great view of the port.
As with many other places in Yokohama, the scenery transforms at night. Massive cruise liners light up, making for a stunning photo.
11. Zo no Hana Park (Nihon-odori)
Southeast of Minatomirai, near Yokohama's Chinatown, you will find Zo no Hana Park, or Elephant's Trunk Park. The reason this park has such a peculiar name is because it is located on a peninsula that projects out into the harbor like an elephant's trunk.
This park is quite different to other parks in Yokohama because it is not especially green. Instead, it is more like a plaza, and is notable for the number of art installations and programmes they hold there. You also will find all sorts of sculptures (mostly elephant themed), and a series of screens that light up at night at the park.
Of course, because the park sticks out into the harbor like a trunk, it provides a great view to look out at boats and the waterline.
12. Yamashita Park (Motomachi/Chukagai)
Yamashita Park is famous for its roses; there are over 190 different varieties of roses there, which all look stunning in bloom. A fair amount of these roses are established and well-known varieties, but the others are new varieties that Yamashita Park bred themselves.
The central plaza in the park features a spectacular fountain surrounded by beds of roses. The statue in the center of the fountain is a replica of the famous "Guardian of Water" statue that can be found in San Diego. It was gifted to Yokohama by San Diego as a symbol of the two city's friendship.
You will also find the grand "Hikawa Maru" in Yamashita Park. This boat was constructed in 1930, and sailed the North Pacific for many years. The ship's design is evocative of the era, and as of 2016, is now open as a museum.
13. Yamate Historic Western Houses (Motomachi-Chukagai)
In the Yamate area of Yokohama, there is a park on a hill overlooking Yokohama Harbor that is home to 7 very distinctive Western-style houses. These were the houses of eminent Western diplomats and people of import until 1899, and are now open to the public for viewing.
One of the most striking homes in this area is the logically named "Home of a Diplomat." This house belonged to the Japanese diplomat Teitsuchi Uchida, who served as Consul General to New York and Ambassador to Turkey, amongst other accomplishments.
Interestingly, this house was originally built in Shibuya in 1910, but was disassembled and reconstructed in Yokohama in 1997. Despite that, the house fits right in, and it's certainly a fitting location to move such an accomplished diplomat's house to.
Berrick Hall is another mansion within the Yamate area, named after the British trader who had it built in 1930. He lived in it until World War 2, but after the war, his bereaved family donated it to an arm of the Catholic Church, and it served as a dormitory for an international school until the year 2000.
Designed by the architect JH Morgan, the mansion is built in a mainly Spanish style but with some British flair. It makes for an interesting building, providing some great opportunities for exotic and architectural shots.
Like Berrick Hall, the Yamate Bluff No. 111 residence was also designed by JH Morgan, and as such has a similar Spanish style. However, Yamate Bluff No. 111 is considered Morgan's masterpiece. Part of what makes it so gorgeous is the contrast between its red roof tiles and white walls. Also notable is the amount of light that permeates throughout the house, which was necessary considering the amount of plants throughout the house.
14. Harbor View Park (Motomachi-Chukagai)
In Japanese, this park has a very literal name: "The park on a hill that looks over the harbor." As you can imagine, the park offers a great view of the harbor and you can get some good shots of the bay lit up at night from it. However, the view isn't the main reason people come here.
This park really comes into its own in the spring! It is known for its garden that contains over 600 types of roses and a variety of other flowers, and at the right time, it will look as if the park itself is in bloom.
Back when Yokohama Port was first opened to the rest of the world, the top of the hill was occupied by the British military, and the bottom by the French military. There are some old buildings in the park that serve as reminders of that time, such as the garrisons used by the French military, so you should make sure to visit them if you're in the park.
15. America Yama Park (Motomachi-Chukagai)
This park's claim to fame is that it was Japan's first elevated park. The easiest way to get there is simply to take the elevator up from Motomachi-Chukagai Station.
The park boasts a simple and elegant design with wide lawns, and is linked to the Harbor View Park. It's a great route to take to see a more natural and relaxed side of Yokohama, away from the bustle of the streets and commercial district.
It's a great place for people-watching because it's used as a scenic route to the station by some of the locals. There is also an impressive foreign cemetery connected to the park, boasting Western-style gravestones against the backdrop of Yokohama's high-rise buildlings. If you want to take pictures of it, make sure you're respectful when doing so!
16. Yokohama English Garden (Hiranumabashi)
Although the Yokohama English Garden is a little bit off the beaten trail, and quite far from the other spots on this list, it's certainly a worthwhile trip.
Lovingly cared for by a team of gardeners all year round, there's always something in bloom here. If you come anytime between the end of March to the start of April, you can see the sakura (cherry blossoms) in bloom. Even in the winter, there are impressive displays of more hardy flowers such as roses and pansies.
This garden is the largest English-style garden in the entirety of the Tokyo and Yokohama areas, but still manages to maintain an air of tranquility. So, whether you want to get some great shots of flowers, or just want to find a secluded bench to read a book on, the garden is a great spot to visit.
As you can see, there are plenty of great spots to get a picture or just explore in Yokohama. Although this list is a great starting place, it certainly doesn't introduce all the amazing places that are in this city! Do some research and keep your eyes open, and you're sure to find some great spots of your own. That said, this is a great starting point, so use it as a beginner's guide!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.