Such a long gap from my last update …. Gonna make use the last bit of my Chinese New Year (CNY) break to catch up on my travel backlog ……
Day 1: 17 December 2012 (Con’t)
From where I last left off, found Chinatown to be overhyped and disappointing. Hence decided to head to the next place on my agenda, Yamashita Park!
Managed to find the key ‘landmark’ – Hotel New Grand, with minimal difficulty, and headed straight on to Yamashita Park. As Yamashita Park is right along the waterfront, it was very windy indeed, but I suppose it would be a nice place to stroll in summer and autumn.
Some sights spotted along the way – Yokohama Marine Tower (didn’t go up but read online that wedding proposals at the Tower have a 100% success rate, interesting tibit!), Hikawa Maru (ship museum – also didn’t go in as it looks closed to me). From the walking path, the Minato Mirai area (Cosmo Ferris Wheel, Landmark Tower etc.) is within view. The park itself – the Guardian of Water Statue, Rose Garden, More European style buildings/monuments. Walked very fast as the sky was turning dark pretty fast (early sunset due to winter). As a result, could have missed out on some sights within the garden (notably The Little Girl with Red Shoes statue, googled and even found the history behind it here, wow!) ……
As the Rinko Line Promendae is a separate ‘highway’ above street level, ended up going past Osanbashi and it did not occur to me to go back later in the evening to capture some beautiful night shots *slap myself* ….. So in the meantime, I can only drool and drool befopre I make a future trip back (with a better camera!) to capture city shots of Yokohama as Osanbashi Pier actually offers the best views based on pictures I saw online ……. Did manage to see the Bay Bridge, Yokohama Customs Building and the Zou Hana Park/Terrace (in picture collage above) …….
Reached! Red Brick Warehouse (also known as Akarenga Soko). It is a historical building (formerly used as a customs building) conversed and now consists of Building 1 (bottom right) and Building 2 (top left). The bulk of the food,entertainment and shopping is in Building 2 as Building 1 is more of a cutural facility. There is still an ice-skating rink (Art Rink) in front of the building, set up especially for winter. As it was pretty early (5pm!), the crowd has yet to stream in, thus wasn’t able to get a shot of people skating!
After a long long walk all the way from Chinatown, time for the famous Bashamachi Ice! Read from here prior to my trip that Yokohama is the birthplace of ice-cream in Japan, hence a must try! It is basically very milky creamy ice-cream (with a tinge of custard). Me like!! Pretty shiok to have ice-cream in winter 🙂
The Kishamichi Promenade is a boardwalk in Yokohama, starting nearby the Sakuragichō Station. It is about 500 meters long, ending right in front of a popular mall, Yokohama World Porters. In this case, I went the opposite direction, starting from Red Brick Museum and crossed the road in the direction of World Porters mall instead (bottom right).
Did not explore World Porters as right across the road was the famous Navios Yokohama Hotel! Just 2 weeks before the trip, I very nearly cancelled my original hotel reservation and wanted to book a room here instead due to its history and having a guaranteed night view of the Minato Mirai/Ferris Wheel area. Went inside the hotel lobby to escape the chilly winds (probably due to the area being near the waterfront/bay area) and tap the wireless to send some whatsapp messages before starting the walk across the promenade.
The walk starts right from the bottom of the hotel (bottom left and bottom middle). Saw from one of the brochures I picked up that the full Christmas Illumination (21st December) starts from this point as well – which I will miss as will be back in Tokyo. Can imagine the whole Minato Mirai area to be very very beautiful when fully illuminated and lighted up, hai …….
Spotted the famous Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris Wheel (part of the Cosmo World Theme Park). What makes this ferris wheel so beautiful and romantic is that it lights up in different colours over the course of the night. It used to be the world’s tallest ferris wheel until the completion of the 112.5 metre (369 feet) Tempozan Ferris Wheel in Osaka in 1997. Every now and then, you can still spot this ferris wheel in some dramas. On hindsight, kind of regret not taking a ride in this (the theme park looked empty when I walked past so decided against it) ……
Also saw the Landmark Tower and the Nippon Maru right in front of the Tower parked on the river bend. Similar to the Hikawa Maru parked at Yamashita, the Nippon Maru is a ship museum as well. Found out prior to the trip that it was closed on Mondays, hence was just content to take some pictures here & there.
Noted that the boardwalk is one long woodplank. In fact, the promendae itself used to be the historic site of an old freight railway line as I saw the rails as well as the steel bridges (nearing the end of the walk). It is actually a longer route (to Landmark Tower) as versus to using the other bridge further down World Porters but am glad to have explored this promenade of such great historical significance and soaked in the beautiful night views with no rain (weather forecast stated that it would be a rainy day) …… Upon googling further post trip while writing this, and seeing the below links, the signifiance of it all only hits me now …..
** The entire walk that I did from Yamashita Park right till the end of Kishamichi is actually a walking tour known as ‘Kaiko no michi’. Got this idea from japan-guide actually, except that I didn’t cover the Harbor View Park and Doll Museum due to time constraints.
Originally thought could finish up Day 1 in 2 entries but it seems like a very long day (due to early sunset) so will leave the rest for Part 3 and not hide this in drafts folder for too long! Heh