- BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN AND AROUND TOKYO
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From the few times I’ve been to Minato Mirai it’s always filled with dating couples and families enjoying the day out. Minato Mirai meaning “harbor of the future” is a wonderful seaside port known for its dining, spas, shopping centres, history and entertainment. It’s approx. an hour from Tokyo and is another great place to view Yokohama’s beautiful skyline. If you’re traveling with kids the theme park will provide plenty of amusement. In the olden days Minato Mirai was once entirely composed of warehouses and railyards. Now I can’t help marvel at the modern skyscrapers.
Top Sightseeing in Minato Mirai
Yokohama Landmark Tower
The Yokohama Landmark Tower stands out and is one of the tallest buildings in Japan composed of luxury hotel space, offices, shops and restaurants. It was a beautiful day so I decided to head up to the Sky Garden observation deck. Sky Garden is located on the 69th floor with amazingly fast elevators to get you up there. The 360 degree panoramic views of the city were stunning and the fact that I could see as far as Mount Fuji was incredible. Best to go on a sunny day when the whole of Tokyo opens up and provides clear visibility of the skyline. It costs 1000 yen to go up and in my opinion was money well spent. If you have extra time visit the Sky Café (also on the 69 fl) for a superb night view and relax on the pair seats facing the windows perfect for couples.
Most attractions are just a short walk from each other. In the heart of Minato Mirai lies Cosmoworld. Picturesque in the daytime and nightly illumination of the amusement park provides a romantic setting for couples. You only pay for individual rides of your choosing and entrance is free. Bonus! Features include a monorail, haunted house, maze, arcade and also a roller coaster. For the faint of heart, not to worry, many rides in this park are definitely kid friendly. The main attraction is the Cosmo Clock 21 which is a giant Ferris Wheel built in 1989 as an exhibition to the Yokohama Expo. It’s hard to miss from any station you exit from. Wanna know the time? There’s a huge clock located in the middle of the wheel. Maximum seating is 480 people with 60 gondolas running a full rotation every 15 mins. Ferris wheels have been springing up one after another in Tokyo as it attracts mammoth crowds to the venue. I’ve even seen one built on top of a large shopping centre.
I decided to end off the day in Chinatown, walking distance to Minato Mirai. The main attraction to Yokohama Chinatown is obviously the cuisine offered at its many restaurants and food stands. Popular among Japanese locals and tourists are the steamed buns, noodles and dim sum. The street cart food are inexpensive but remember, you get what you pay for! Make sure to choose carefully where you eat. Choose a food stand that has the longest lineup because they must know something that you don’t right? Numerous quaint and colorful Chinese stores can be found in and around the narrow alleyways of Chinatown. If you plan to visit Japan in the beginning of February make sure to come here for the Chinese New Year festival. I arrived here a little after 7pm and the place was alive with people. Lanterns were lit and a lot of people were taking photographs. Personally, this was the cleanest Chinatown I’ve ever been to and also the largest in Japan. We tried the dumplings and hot and sour soup and wandered around to see the pretty temples.