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The Yokohama Municipal Tourist Association is an excellent English-speaking city tourist office that serves the needs of visitors to Yokohama. Located just a short walk from Kannai Station, and close to the Silk Center and Yamashita Park, this tourist office offers a broad selection of brochures on Yokohama, a good English-language map, and lots of free advice on good dining, fine accommodations, and the city's sightseeing hot spots. Yokohama Municipal Tourist Association also has a Home Visit System where they can arrange for you to visit with a Japanese family. Please note that at least 24 hours advance notice is required if you wish to take advantage of the Home Visit System.
Just behind the World Porters shopping center is a large brick building with glass windows along the top. This is the Cup Noodles Museum, a museum dedicated entirely to the history of instant noodles as invented by Momofuku Ando in 1958. The spacious interior begins with a display of noodle packaging and the Momofuku story, including a re-creation of his workshed. A series of interactive displays under will keep the children amused. On the next floor is a cup noodle factory and chicken ramen factory, both of which require an extra fee to enter. On the next floor is a play area and food court serving ramen noodles from around the world. There is a brochure in English, and the titles of exhibits are in English. The museum is very popular on weekends. -AH
Sky Garden Observatory is located on the 69th floor of Japan's tallest skyscraper, , in futuristic Minato Mirai 21, Yokohama's showcase community of sleek high-rise buildings, ultramodern shopping malls, museums, hotels, convention centers, office buildings, and homes. There is even an amusement park with a huge Ferris Wheel that is perfect for sightseeing. From the observatory, on a clear day you can see Mt. Fuji, the skyscrapers in Nishi Shinjuku, and the far reaches of the Tokyo Bay. The world's fastest elevator takes only 40 seconds to carry you aloft the 900 feet to the observatory.
The quaint green wooden house that is the Yamate Museum was part of a larger Western/Japanese house constructed in 1909 for Mr Kanekichi Nzkazawa. It was moved to the current location, without the Japanese part, and is now the last remaining Western wooden house in Yokohama. The two-room museum has a collection of artifacts from the time of the establishment of the foreign settlement in Yokohama including glassware, tiles, chinaware and an organ. Upstairs is a model of the nearby Foreign Cemetery and information about some of the more notable graves. The museum also gives a glimpse into life in the early development of Yokohama and the foreign community that lived here. Some of the information is available in English. - AH
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.
Yokohama Bay Bridge is one of the prominent landmarks in Yokohama, not only because it spans part of Yokohama Bay, but because of its aesthetic design. The Yokohama Bay Bridge is a suspension bridge with 176 cables strung diagonally from two H-shaped support pillars. The bridge carries the six-lane Metropolitan Expressway and a pedestrian road 860 meters across the mouth of Yokohama Harbor. Its auspicious position led it to be deemed the "Gateway to the Port of Yokohama." Opened in 1989, the Yokohama Bay Bridge was designed to be one of the centerpieces of Yokohama's futuristic looking cityscape, and it certainly has realized that goal.
The Hasseiden was built in 1933 on the headland of Honmoku Hatiouj, by Adachi Kenzo, a politician. The three-story octagonal building is modeled on the Yumedono of Horyu-ji temple. Young people attended lectures in the second floor room, where on a small stage stand eight sages, four either side of the a divine mirror. In 1937, Kenzo donated the building to the Yokohama City, along with the land that became Honmoku Koen. It is now a local museum displaying fishing and farming implements and part of a farmhouse from the Meiji era. The many photographs record a gentler pace of life in Yokohama and record the huge reclamation scheme along the coast here. There is very little English in the museum, but an English leaflet is available. Paths behind the museum lead to Honmoku Koen and have a good view of the coast and port. - AH
What ramen do you prefer? Not a question most Westerners are usually posed, because all we really know is the cheap stuff we ate as starving students. Well, in Japan it's a whole different story, one the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum wants to help you both discover and enjoy. Across three floors, you can taste at least nine different versions of one of Japan's staple foods, from traditional to more modern recipes. What's the difference, who knows, but it'll sure be fun finding out. The Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum is a great place to learn something about Japan while filling your gut. Don't be shy; their raison'd'etre is to feed and educate you, so skip breakfast and head on down to the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum.
Makigahara Children's Zoo is a small zoo whose finest feature is its "petting zoo." The small children's zoo features lots of birds, sheep, goats, deer, rabbits and guinea pigs. The children can pet the animals and the kids can hold the rabbits and guinea pigs to their heart's content. Families with infants and toddlers can rent strollers at the park.
Dedicated to the Minamoto family's guardian, the god of war, this shrine is believed to date to 1063. Noted for its striking vermilion embellished and lacquered torii arch, the shrine is very different from the Zen temples usually associated with Kamakura. Legend tells us that at one time only the shogun could walk on the Drum Bridge (Taikobashi), the original of which dates to 1182. Other attractions are the very old ginkgo tree near the dancing platform and the lotus-lilied ponds, which rest on former rice fields. It is recommended that visitors acquaint themselves with certain manners particular to Shinto before entering. Another famous sight in Kamakura, the Daibutsu (giant statue of Buddha), is easily accessible from this shrine.