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Best Parks in Yokohama

By: Cityseeker
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Zou No Hana Park & Terrace

Zou No Hana Park encompasses the area where Commodore Perry landed in 1854 on his second visit to Japan. The area became the main port of Yokohama and was the center of international trade in Japan. It was established as a park when changes in shipping rendered the city seafront too small for container ships. The port business was moved to the specially built quays on the outskirts of the city. The park was named after the dykes in the area, which were shaped like an elephant's nose (zou no hana means "elephant's nose" in Japanese). Today the park consists of a grassy slope overlooking the water and a paved area where exhibitions are often held. The terrace has a small café and a gallery space inside. Around the park are information boards in English and Japanese that give a history of the port's development. The foundations of warehouses and a railway line are also visible. -AH

1-1 Kaigan-dori, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Japan, 231-0002
Yamashita Park

Yamashita Park is a one-kilometer-long seaside park that is thought by most long-term residents to be the spiritual heart of Yokohama City. Yamashita Park is in a way a legacy of the disastrous 1923 earthquake. The park was built on top of the dumping ground for the thousands of tons of rubble and debris caused by the quake. In 1930 Yamashita Park rose, phoenix-like, from the ashes of the old Yokohama. The park's Ginko trees have become a symbol of Yokohama. At the left end of the park near the Osanbashi Pier is a water tower monument to the Indians who perished in the 1923 earthquake. Yamashita Park is a very romantic place for a stroll along the waterfront. The park is especially appealing during the summer fireworks festivals.

279 Yamashitacho, Yokohama, Japan, 231-0023
Guardian of Water

The Guardian of Water statue is a replica of the original in San Diego, given to the city of Yokohama in 1960 as a gift from the San Diego-Yokohama Friendship Commission. It was created by the artist Donal Hord, and shows a pioneer woman carrying a water jug up on one shoulder. The statue is at the center of a fountain and is surrounded by gardens in Yamashita Park on Yokohama's waterfront. -AH

279 Yamashita-cho, Yamashita Park, Yokohama, Japan, 231-0023
Nippon-Maru Memorial Park

The Nippon-Maru, known as the "Swan of the Pacific," is a handsome ship that employed a combination of steam and canvas to sail a total of 1,830,000 kilometers between 1930 and 1984. Now permanently moored at the seaside Nippon-Maru Memorial Park, the Nippon-Maru can be toured for an admission cost of 600 yen for adults and 300 yen for children. And located next to the Nippon-Maru is the Yokohama Maritime Museum, which houses historical materials from the arrival of Commodore Perry's black ships up until the present day.

Minato Mirai2-1-1, Yokohama, Japan, 211-0012
Yamate Park

Yamate Park is the first Western-style park in Japan. It was originally known as Bluff Gardens and was opened in 1870 on land leased from the government. In order to help pay the rent, the ladies in the settlement formed the Ladies Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in 1878. The club is now known as the Yokohama International Tennis Club, and the courts cover much of the park area. However, a series of paths lead down through the trees and it is a pleasant area, shaded by Himalayan cedars imported from India and planted over 100 years ago. The Yamate Museum of Tennis is located in the park. -AH

Yamatecho 230, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Japan, 231-0862
Harbor View Park

Harbor View Park is a hilltop park opened in 1962. It has an elevated viewing platform that offers a panoramic view of Yokohama Bay and the developments skirting the harbor. Harbor View Park overlooks sites that include the industrial piers, Daikoku Pier, Honmoku Pier, and Osanbashi Pier, the luxury passenger liner Hikawa-maru, the skyline of the futuristic Minato Mirai 21 site, and Yokohama's Bay Bridge. Harbor View Park is near to the Foreign Cemetery, many excellent restaurants and summer beer gardens. Admission is free.

114 Yamashita machi, Yokohama, Japan, 231-0862

Amid the urban din of southern Yokohama lies a serene, picturesque sanctum. Based on an ingenious design conceptualized by Tomito Hara, this traditional, Japanese-style garden is riddled with trickling rivers and winding trails. Tomitaro Hara began by acquiring several buildings including tea houses, a farmer's house, a pagoda and various villas, and then placed them on his property amidst ponds, wooded slopes and landscaped gardens; these were later opened to the public in 1906. The picturesque, undulating landscape of the park is dotted with a troupe of iconic buildings which are as striking to look at as they are historically significant. Sankei-en also features lovely tea houses which further augment its allure. Although there are sixteen separate buildings, the Rinshukaku villa, with paintings by Kano-school masters, is particularly noteworthy. In addition, the famed pagoda, Tenzui-ji Juto, Gekka-den, Tenju-in, Choshu-kaku, Shunso-ro, Tokei-ji, the Yanohara House and the main hall of Tomyo-ji have been designated significant cultural properties, too.

58-1 Honmoku Sannotani, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Japan, 231-0824
Honmoku Shimin Park

Honmoku Shimin Park was created on land donated by Adachi Kenzo, builder of the nearby 'Hasseiden' in 1969. There are grassy areas, some wooded knolls running along the cliff edge, and a series of overgrown pools stuffed with water plants and dragonflies. The pools open out into a lake, where a walkway leads to the Shanghai-Yokohama Friendship Garden. Nearby is the southern gate into Sankei-en Gardens. Honmoku Shimin Park also boasts a fine swimming pool (open July and August), a retired steam train and turntable, tennis courts and a children's play area. Moreover, a climb up the pathways behind the swimming pool leads to the Hasseiden Local Museum. The park is also home to the Yokohama Jazz Festival in August. - AH

Honmoku Sannotani, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, Yokohama, Japan, 231-0824

Umi-no-Koen, literally "Seaside Park", is a one-kilometer stretch of beach located right next to Hakkeijima Sea Paradise. This man made beach is one of Yokohama's prime spots for sun bathing. Also a great spot for families with young children. The beach is clean and the bay water is very shallow, so toddlers and infants can "swim" safely. Umi-no-Koen's facilities include clean toilets, showers and changing facilities in several locations. Although there are no baby change tables, the handicapped toilets have plenty of space for changing. There are also drink vending machines, a souvenir shop and a beachfront restaurant. The park has nice barbecue facilities that can be rented for a half-day.

Hakkeijima Uminokouenn, Yokohama, Japan, 236-0006
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