INTRODUCTION TO YOKOHAMA

People who travel to Japan for the first time usually crams everything in the few days that they have. Trying everything out from Theme Parks to expensive Sushi restaurants to riding the Shinkansen to Sakura Season and shopping with your lavish (or limited) budget.

All within Tokyo or Osaka, depending on where they land. The idea of taking things slow seems to be unheard of, then by the time you return, you realize there were some things that you wished that you did but you could not.
Then a second trip comes up and then a third, after a certain number of times, you crave to discover different parts of Japan now, a different prefecture with different food, people, and history.

 

Our Cliff Notes version on History

  1. Before 1858, Yokohama, was an unnoticed fishing village, in Kanagawa.
  2. American Commodore, Matthew Perry (not the F.R.I.E.N.D.S actor) convinced the powers that be to make Yokohama as an international port.
  3. When everything was signed, foreign traders were allowed to settle in Yokohama and ONLY Yokohama. The Gaijin (foreign traders) traders were mainly Americans, Brits, and Chinese.
  4. The Chinese eventually built their own Chinatown (as they often do) and the westerners took prime real estate and made luxurious homes for themselves.
  5. These traders were responsible in giving Japan the first train terminus.

 

Though the Kantō Earthquake in 1923 and the air raids in WWII, devastated the city both times, the resiliency of its people both locals and foreigners used the rubble to reclaim the land resulting in Yamashita Kōen and the coast of Yokosuka. The late 20th-century saw the development of some iconic skyscrapers and the Yokohama Harbor.


Yokohama even became the host city of the 2002 FIFA world cup.

Going to Yokohama.

The idea of dedicating a single day to it is absurd, but Yokohama is so easily accessible from Tokyo that it actually makes for an excellent short excursion.It is a mere 25 minutes from the Tokyo station by using the JR Tokaido Line. Although it seems like to exist under the shadow of Tokyo, Yokohama has an identity of its own, largely to its status as Japan’s first International port. (video was taken from youtube)

Here are a few ideas courtesy of Japan-Guide (since we really don't know everything):

Tokyu Toyoko Line
About 25 minutes and 270 yen from Shibuya Station.
The Toyoko Line is the cheapest way to get from Tokyo and YokohamaTake the limited express or express train from Yokohama Station. North of Shibuya, the trains continue to run along the Fukutoshin Subway Line.
JR Tokaido Line
About 25 minutes and 470 yen from Tokyo Station.

The Tokaido Line provides the fastest connection between Tokyo Station and Yokohama Station.
JR Yokosuka Line
About 30 minutes and 470 yen from Tokyo Station.
The line is known as Sobu Line and provides direct connections to Chiba and Narita Airport.
JR Keihin-Tohoku Line
About 40 minutes and 470 yen from Tokyo Station.
The Keihin-Tohoku Line is a slower, local connection between Tokyo and Yokohama. South of Yokohama Station, the line is known as Negishi Line and provides access to several sights in central and southern Yokohama.
Keikyu Keihinkyuko Line
About 20 minutes and 300 yen from Shinagawa Station
The Keikyu Railways connect Shinagawa with Yokohama and Haneda Airport. “Rapid limited express” trains are the fastest.
JR Tokaido Shinkansen
About 15 minutes from Tokyo Station to Shin-Yokohama
All trains along the Tokaido Shinkansen stop at Shin-Yokohama Station. Shin-Yokohama is about 10-15 train minutes from Yokohama Station and Yokohama’s city center by the JR Yokohama Line or subway
From the Airport
The closest airports to Yokohama are Narita Airport and Haneda Airport. Please visit the respective airport pages for access details.

Our recommendation is always the fastest which would be the Shinkansen, but it may be a bit too pricey for anyone trying to save money. But with anything in life, the tradeoff is the speed vs price.

Exploring Yokohama
Outside of the railway companies mentioned before this, Yokohama is served by two municipal subway lines and a bus network that is operated partly by the city and partly by private bus companies.

 

By Foot

You can explore most parts of central Yokohama on foot (yes, on FOOT). For example, it is very pleasant to walk from Minato Mirai along the waterfront to Yamashita Park, visiting Osanbashi Pier along the way, and then proceed from Yamashita Park to the nearby Yamate district or Chinatown (...ok we did not say it was a short walk).

By Bus

For those who prefer not to walk long distances, there is the Akaikutsu Loop Bus which connects Sakuragicho Station with most sights of interest in central Yokohama. Buses run every 30 to 40 minutes in one direction only. The fare is 100 yen per ride or 500 yen for a day pass, which is not only valid on the Akaikutsu buses, but also other selected means of transportation in central Yokohama.

The Suica and Pasmo prepaid cards, as well as eight IC cards from other major cities of Japan, can be used on virtually all trains, subways and buses in Yokohama, including the Akaikutsu Loop Bus.

By Boat

The Seabass travels between Yokohama Bay Quarter (about 500 meters from Yokohama Station's east exit), Minato Mirai and Yamashita Park approximately every 15 minutes. Half of the services travel nonstop to Yamashita Park (15 minutes, 700 yen), while the others make two stops in Minato Mirai (10 minutes, 420 yen to Pacifico Convention Center; 20 minutes, 600 yen to Red Brick Warehouses) along the way.