Japan 2015: Yokohama Reminiscence Part 2

Back to Minato Mirai area after lunch. Nice day with clear blue skies ๐Ÿ™‚

P1050091

The Nippon Maru museum ship docked right in the Yokohama Harbour, in the Nippon Maru Memorial Park.

2015-12-08 14.38.55

A walk down Kishamichi Promenade again, whilst taking in the familar sights (Minato Mirai waterfront, entrance to Navios Yokohama Hotel) ……

P1050102

2015-12-08 14.42.15

Our planned destination next was the Cup Noodle Museum, where we were very much looking forward to joining the cup noodle making workshop and make our very own customised cup noodle. Alas, major disappointment! It was CLOSED the moment we reached the entrance!

P1050108

P1050112

We felt puzzled why it was closed (when their official website clearly states their regular closing day is actually Tuesday). Googled and realised the day before (3 November) was a public holiday (i.e. Culture Day) ….. thus the day after the public holiday is a rest day for the museum …… that’s why! No wonder the surrounding streets felt really empty.ย Whilst doing the itinerary planning, I overlooked the public holidays aspect (will definitely have put the museum visit on a Thursday or Friday instead of Wed and tweaked the overall itinerary in Kanagawa a bit). Sigh …. major disappointment!

Have to quickly regroup now that the original ‘perfect’ plan has gone somewhat awry. So we decided to walk further down the road to Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse / Akarenga Soko. Before starting our walk down ….. here’s a snapshot of Yokohama’s iconic Cosmo World Ferris Wheel – which is right opposite the Cup Noodle Museum itself ……

P1050111

Revisiting the Red Brick Warehouse again for the 3rd time. 1st time visiting it in broad daylight though ๐Ÿ˜›

P1050114

Didn’t snap too much pictures of the Red Brick Warehouse this time round. Decided to make full use of our Minato Burari Wide Ticket (which includes 1 day access to the Yokohama Blue Subway Line, Municipal Buses and the Akaikutsu Tourist Loop Bus) ….. and took the bus to Motomachi area next!

Motomachi Shopping Street – a European style high end shopping street which intially served the 1st foreign residents of Yokohama and brought in many products into Japan. Spotted the flagship Star Jewelry store but didn’t see the cafe …… otherwise would have stopped by for a drink/snack. Only walked 3 blocks (from 5th chrome to 3rd chrome) and the shops were more or less the same, so left after that!

2015-12-25 23.11.50

Then a short bus to Harbour View Park next. The park itself (within the Yamate Area) is on top of a forested area further north of Motomachi. Didn’t manage to take too much pictures as I was trying to conserve the camera battery for the later part of the itinerary at Osanbashi Pier. There is a lookout area where you get a gorgeous full view of the Yokohama Bay Bridge and the surrounding ocean and full view of Yokohama port!

2015-12-25 23.14.22

And finally to Osanbashi Pier – the key place for gorgeous sunset/golden hour views!

2015-12-28 14.38.38

2015-12-28 14.46.38

The unique wooden floor boards that resemble rolling waves. The terminal is constructed in such a way that there are plenty of open spaces on top for the public to look out to unobstructed views of the Minato Mirai skyline …… as well as for a walk, or like us, just simply chill and enjoy the cool weather and beautiful sunset views.

P1050130

Walked one round around the pier …… one side faces out to Minato Mirai where you can spot the Red Brick Warehouse, Landmark Tower, Cosmo World Ferris Wheel, The Distinctive Curve-Shaped Intercontinental Hotel …… while the other side looks out to the Yokohama Bay Bridge.

P1050139

As the sun starts to really set (from around 1630 Hrs onwards), we were also lucky enough to spot Mount Fuji in the distance!

P1050145

P1050146

One last look at the Minato Mirai Skyline before we leave the pier.

image

Advertisements

Japan 2015: Yokohama Reminiscence Part 1

Start of my holiday entries. This time round, it will be more of a photo-based highlight series rather than a detailed day to day break-down which I did for my previous Japan trip back in year 2013.

1st third of the trip (Days 1 to 3) were spent in Yokohama, if you were to count Day 1 (arrived in Yokohama in the evening) and Day 3 (where we did a day trip out to Enoshima and Kamakura).

Flight touched down at Narita in early afternoon, around 1415Hrs Japan Time (Note: Japan is 1 hour ahead of Singapore). Going towards the mid to tail end of autumn, Japan is already on daylight savings mode, thus sunset is around 1630 to 1700 Hrs …… which means a limited amount of daylight. By the time we cleared customs, activated our JR passes etc. – we reached Yokohama well into the evening (around 6pm!).

Thanks to Tripadvisor, we found a great deal at Yokohama Garden Hotel – which is to be our ‘home’ for the next 3 nights! It may be a small, not really well known business hotel. But service was really impeccable, and more important the room was really comfortable!

P1050004

The other nice touch was that there was a humidifier in the room. The humidifier came in really handy as the air was pretty dry, and we were pretty much sneezing non-stop without it ๐Ÿ˜›

Moreover the great location (just a 5 min walk down the road from the JR Kannai Station), and it being right beside Yokohama Stadium! Not to mention, our room was facing the stadium as well.

Really hungry after a full day of travelling (Singapore to Narita to Yokohama). No lunch served on board our ANA flight to Tokyo. So here’s our 1st proper meal of the day (Dinner) at Katsuretsu An.

I 1st came across thisย restaurant in my 1st Japan trip back in Winter 2012 (December). Didn’t manage to visit it in my 2nd trip in year 2013 …… and so I made it a point to go back again this time round. Katsuretsu An is a well known ‘old school’ Yokohama tonkatsu restaurant, very highly rated by the locals. We got a seat on level 2 this time round. Very nice, home style Japanese restaurant, with friendly aunties serving us.

image

1 classic tonkatsu set + another mixed seafood (prawn, scallop, some japanese vegetable set) ….. and both rice and cabbage are free flow. Was soooo hungry that I had 2 servings of rice ๐Ÿ˜› …… All in all a great meal!

Another highlight – Smart Illumination Yokohama 2015.

This is an illumination event held in various parts of Yokohama, but mainly concentrated around the Zou no Hana Park area in Minato Mirai itself. ย Co-incidentally, 3rd Nov was also the last night for the event. A pretty small-ish event, but I thought the image of the ladyย imposed onto the Yokohama Customs Museum gave it a somewhat alluring and mysterious feel.

2015-12-04 13.10.02

Next up, Day 2! 1st highlight was taking the subway down to Shin-Yokohama to visit the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum. The place was slightly difficult to locate as it was located in a side street around the corner from the Shin-Yokohama Station (Subway) …… but we managed to locate it after spotting a small quene.

Processed with MOLDIV

Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum is a food amusement park / museum that is all about RAMEN! The interior is decorated in 1950s style, as 1958 is the year where instant noodles were first invented in Japan. There is a bar right in the centre of the open area, while the ramen stalls / mini restaurants selling ramen from various regions/prefectures in Japan are located on both levels.

2015-12-05 00.41.41

Apart having Ramen from various regions/prefectures in Japan, there is also a souvenir shop at the basement level of the museum. The ramen sold in the stalls/mini restaurants on levels 1 and 2 are also available as takeaway packs for you to go back to cook (or to bring home as a sounvenir/omiyage). Decided against buying any due to the short expiry dates (we are leaving Japan only on the 13th of November).

After going 1 round the museum, the last thing to do is to get an early lunch (around 1130 Hrs) before the lunch crowd comes in. It was a close choice between Ryu Shanghai Honten and Casa Luca (Italian Style Tonkotsu Ramen) …… and Ryu Shanghai Honten won out in the end.

P1050085

Ryu Shanghai Honten’s speciality is their seafood based spicy miso ramen. The broth itself is very rich (and a tad on the salty side) as it is boiled using a mixture of seafood, pork and chicken bone …… with the spicy miso to give an extra kick.

Unlike most ramen shops, in order to let you try as many types of ramen as possible, all the shops have either half-size or full size. Sis elected for half size while I had a full size one. Not such a great idea in the end …… as the full size portion was really HUGE. Am really stuffed after lunch ๐Ÿ˜›

P1050088

Nothing else really interesting in Shin-Yokohama (apart from the Nissan Stadium maybe) as Shin-Yokohama is more of a district cum transportation hub (The Shinkansen stops at Shin-Yokohama) …… and so it was back to the main Yokohama city area after lunch.

Japan 2013: Day 9 Odaiba + Venturing Out To Kamakura & Yokohama Part 5

DAY 9 (CON’T)

A pretty quick 10 to 15 min walk and I’m back at the Red Brick Warehouse / Aka Renga Soko once again. (Recap: Day 1 of my 2012 trip)

Noted this wall detail while looking for a washroom yet again ……

P1040115

Walked up the middle flight of stairs looking for Motion Blue Yokohama but ended up chancing upon this other restaurant called Beer Next instead. Wouldn’t have minded a beer after all that walking but the menu didn’t seem interesting + the prices were a bit of a put off as well ……

P1040116

Managed to locate Motion Blue at the other end of level 3 and to continue the series of dubious judgements for the day, did not go in and have dinner there when I really should have done so (considering that main courses were not that expensive here as well + to check out this famed restaurant known for its live music) ……

P1040124

Ended up walking out to the balcony area which looks across to the harbourside (Note: pretty empty on a Friday night as no patrons seated outside for dinner) …… Walked further down and found the “Happiness Bell” at the end of the balcony.

2014-04-21 00.29.43

The food outlets and various merchandise on level 1. Found Akarenga themed cider and beer at the Kaldi Coffee Farm outlet as well. Now as I type, I ought to have bought 1 bottle to try, missed opportunity, sigh ……

Red Brick Warehouse 1

Located Bills at the end of Level 1. Same situation as in Odaiba earlier in the day, there was a quene outside. Not in the mood to quene unfortunately, for the 2nd time in a day. So got out of the building and snapped more pictures ……

Processed with Moldiv

Between the 2 warehouses was this huge space. When I was here back in December 2012, there was a christmas fair going on. This time round, it felt really empty and even more so with the lack of a crowd on a Friday night …… And so walked further down right to the park behind the 2 warehouses to snap some shots of the illuminated ships along the harbour.

2014-04-21 10.48.46

Left Red Brick Warehouse at around 805pm ….. And right across the road was World Porters Complex and at the other junction – Navios Yokohama. No drinks at the Seamen’s Club bar this time round, but went into the lobby for a sit down cum wireless break for about 10min …… And it feels good to be back ๐Ÿ™‚

20140421-211012.jpg

Did the same walk down the Kishamichi Promenade back to the JR Sakuragicho Station to take a train back to Tokyo. Had a lot of pictures of the Minato Mirai area (with Ferris Wheel) from my last trip, so took very little along my walk this time round.

Yokohama 2

Could have probably take 1 stop down to Kannai to Katsuretsu An for tonkatsu dinner but decided that I didn’t want to walk anymore as the Kehihin-Tohoku-Negishi Line would bring me down directly into Tokyo. Another ‘not-so-good’ decision now that I sit back and reflect upon it ……

Japan 2013: Day 9 Odaiba + Venturing Out To Kamakura & Yokohama Part 4

DAY 9 (CON’T)

As much as there is much to explore in Kamakura (which will probably warrant a full day trip) in the form of temples and beaches as stated in Japan Guide, my sore objective of coming to Kamakura was mainly to see the Giant Buddha. Since I’ve bought the JR Kanto Pass (mainly to cover the train trip to Fuji Five Lakes), thought I might as well make good use and maximise it by taking a trip downwards to Kamakura …… and take this opportunity to see the Giant Buddha in person whilst on route to Yokohama. So once I had finished my coffee, set off on the trian to Yokohama next.

Reached Yokohama Station around 6pm and into the after work crowd.

P1040063

Feels nice to be back to a familar place (recap 2012 trip Day 1 in Yokohama) ๐Ÿ˜› …… Took this opportunity to top up my SUICA (in order to take the Minato Mirai Line next) and take a toilet break before heading next to Osanbashi Pier – the main reason for my repeat visit to Yokohama.

Even though it was only a short 4 stop ride on the Minato Mirai Line to Nihon-odori Station (or alternatively I could take the JR Negishi Line to Kannai then walk over), but having walked through the entire stretch of Yamashita Park downwards from my last trip, I knew it was a long long walk. So better to pay the 200 JPY of subway fare to spare myself all these trouble. So got off at Nihon-odori, and just 5 mins down the station exit, here I am!

P1040068

P1040069

Approaching the wooden floorboard walkway (one of the unique feature of the building’s design) to the building itself (passenger terminal) and the roof garden/visitor’s deck right on top of the building and its various facilities (restaurant, exhibition hall) ……

Osanbashi Pier 1

Walking up to the visitor’s deck …. saw cruise ships parked at the pier, an illuminated Marine Tower, the Yokohama Bay Bridge, as well as parts of the old Kannai district (the lighted government building is the Kanagawa Prefectural Government Building, also known as King’s Tower).

Osabashi Pier 2

And finally to the top of the vistors deck where I walked on and on taking picture after picture and trying to figure out the best position to get that perfect postcard picture shot of the Minato Mirai skyline. Not that close to the background picture that I downloaded on my iPad (from Yokohama Vistor’s Guide Facebook) but close enough …. hopefully ๐Ÿ˜›

P1040085

20140418-015922.jpg

So it is one item off my to-do list especially having walked past and totally missed the entrance to Osanbashi Pier during my last trip!

What is so unique about Osanbashi Pier (apart from the million dollar views) is the design of the building and vistors’s deck (on top of the building) which is very cleverly integrated …… and the wooden floor boards used to construct the visitor’s deck. There are parts which mimic a ‘rolling wave’ pattern, so you actually have to walk upslope in some areas ……

Osanbashi Pier 3

Got a clearer close-up of the Yokohama Bay Bridge as well from the viewing deck ……

P1040099

All in all, spent a good 45 min at Osanbashi just mainly walking around the visitor’s deck and taking photos of the Minato Mirai skyline. One last picture of the Royal Wing Cruise Ship (which is a cruise around the Yokohama pier waters) which was parked right at the pier just when I started to walk back towards Nihon-odori ……

P1040107

As I was leaving the pier, I counted that there were about 10 or more so joggers/runners running towards the Osanbashi Pier (and 1 round of the Visitor’s Deck) and back. The slopes do make Osanbashi a great training route ๐Ÿ˜›

Walking back towards the main road. Looks like a pub/cafe to it. A nice piece of architecture though ……

P1040108

Same as what I did back in my year 2012 trip, reached the main road and decided to get on to the Yamashita Rinko Line Promenade (this time round, at its halfway point though) and head over to Red Brick Warehouse / Aka-Renga Soko. Unlike my last trip where I just kept walking straight, this time round I took a slight detour into the Zou-no-Hana Park …… also known as Elephant Trunk’s Park, which is why you see a small elephant (in the open space in front of the gallery building).

Yokohama 1

And getting close to the Red Brick Warehouse / Aka-Renga Soko!

P1040114

Japan 2012: Day 2 Hakone Part 1

Resuming my travel entries after a 3 month hiatus. Thrashed 1 draft that was dated 31st May & starting all over again with this ……

Originally drafted a food highlights for Part 1 and even prepared the collages last week but decided to rewrite this in chronological order instead, feels more authentic this way ๐Ÿ˜›

Day 2: 18 December 2012

Set off for Hakone from Yokohama.

Original wish was to have breakfast at Bills Yokohama (Red Brick Warehouse) but they open quite late at 1000 hrs – which will conflict with my itinerary as the plan is to set off at 1000 hrs post breakfast …. Thus decided to check out this cafe instead which I spotted outside the hotel (along the route to Yokohama Station) ….

20130709-135705.jpg

Turns out that this is actually the cafe arm of UCC Coffee. The interior looks very comfortable and cosy, in a very Japanese kind of way – the kind of cafe where you can sit down and have a cuppa, together with newspaper/book. Nice array of cakes as well – where the mili crepe caught my attention. But cakes are more of a staple for tea, rather than for breakfast, thus gave it a miss. The outside area (which is actually the smoking zone) is spacious and a great spot for people watching as well.

20130709-235209.jpg

My breakfast set – coffee with thick cheese toast.

Then it was off to Hakone. Took the JR Tokaido Line from Yokohama Station to Odawara – 1 straight line journey with no change of stations mid-way, and will take 1 hour approximately. Based on my research of transport routes on Hyperdia, this is the most straightforward option and the cheapest (950 JPY) as versus to changing the shinkasen at Shin-Yokohama (or) taking a train to Shinjuku (35 min journey) in order to change train to Odawara (covered by the Hakone Free Pass) – which will take 2 hours + in total. Worked it out and decided it is not time effective in the end, furthermore due to early sunset in winter (4+pm), almost half the day is gone should I take this route ……

Managed to take a cat nap on the train and nearing Odawara, spotted Mount Fuji!!

20130710-001933.jpg

Reached Odawara – a major transit point to head into Hakone. Odawara is also a small city with the Odawara Castle as its main attraction. Made a mental note to possibly visit the Castle if time permits (on the journey back to Tokyo the next day).

20130710-004649.jpg

Purchased the 2 Day Hakone Free Pass (3500 JPY) at the Odawara Station that will bring me into Hakone and cover majority of the transport (train, ropeway, buses) within Hakone itself. Then proceeded on the Hakone Tozan Line to my next stop – Hakone Yumoto Station.

20130710-011655.jpg

Immediate thing to do at Hakone-Yumoto – head to the Baggage Delivery Service (last order is at 1230pm) to drop off my luggage to deliver to the hotel. Cost me 700 JPY (100 JPY as a discount from the Hakone Free Pass). Figured that it would be better spending this $$ (SGD $10.28 equivalent based on my exchange rate of 14.68) as versus to taking a 50 min to 1 hour bus journey to drop off luggage at hotel (located at the other end of Hakone). Will have an 1 hour extra to plough through the major attractions without the hassle of carrying a heavy luggage (esp. on the ropeway which is impossible) ….. this will turn out to be an excellent decision ๐Ÿ˜›

20130710-013132.jpg

The buildings outside of Hakone-Yumoto station. Yumoto town itself is the entrance to Hakone – and one of the major hot spring areas in Hakone itself.

20130710-013232.jpg

Some of the famous Hakone produce sold in the shops. Found this small ice-cream shop as well ……

Original intention was to have an early lunch in Hakone-Yumoto but after walking 1 round around the shops, found nothing interesting for lunch ….. so decided to proceed on to touring Hakone proper. Am using the recommended Hakone Round Course as a guide – With Hakone Yumoto as the start of the journey …… To be covered in Part 2!

Japan 2012: Day 1 Yokohama Part 3

After so long, still at Day 1. Things are getting busier at work as we go into the last lap of the banding year …… Hence part 3 took so long, and extending into March ๐Ÿ˜›

From where I last left off …. Took a long stroll down Kishamachi Promenade to my next destination – Landmark Tower! Reached closed to 630pm and proceeded to the Sky Garden Observatory on the 69th floor. This will be the 1st of the many observatories I were to visit in the course of 5 days in Japan, heh ……

My 1st view upon getting off the lift

DSCF7153Being winter, everything is pitch dark, thus missed out on capturing the ‘golden hour’ i.e. the transition from sunset to night. Given that it is also night time, no chance to catch a clear view of Mount Fuji ……

A bit of history here – The Sky Garden Observatory is 253 metres high,and is the tallest observatory in Japan. It also has the fastest elevator in Japan, running at 750m/min – thus the ride up to 69th floor took only 40 seconds. Japan technology is indeed amazing!

Reference: http://www.yokohama-landmark.jp/skygarden/web/english/

Landmark Tower 1Started to go one round the observatory. There’s a caricature shop and the Sky Cafe – where you can eat/have a drink/chill out to Yokohama views. Cool right!

Landmark Tower 2Chanced upon this exhibition. It was to commemorade a veteran JPop singer’s 40th anniversary. Her name is Yuming – no idea who. Apart from a gallery of her pictures, and the playing of her songs and performance clips (did not take pictures for those) ….. Notably they had some of her stage costumes on display too, as seen at the bottom.

Was actually hungry after going a few rounds of taking photos (plus that long long walk all the way from Yamashita to Red Brick Warehouse to Landmark Tower) …… Saw a seat clearing and so elected to have my dinner from the Sky Cafe, with a view of Yokohama at night ……

DSCF7188Not much choices at the Sky Cafe, so settled for this pasta cum coffee set (since I missed my afternoon coffee so might as well :P) for 900 JPY+ ……. The ala carte pasta itself was 800+ JPY, so might as well take this set of the day special for 100 JPY more. It is a crab roe pasta, lightly seasoned in a typically japanese way. Would’ve tried their Sky Cafe cocktail/mocktail blend (in line with the night scenery) if I weren’t so hungry and so in need of coffee ……

And of course, not forgetting the 360-degree night views of Yokohama & beyond …..

Landmark Tower Views iPhoneThis is the ‘clearer’ series of pictures taking with my iPhone. You can see the Cosmo World Ferris Wheel lighted up in diferent colours …… as well as the theme park oppoite the Ferris Wheel – flanked by 2 major hotels Intercontinental (you can’t miss this building which is shaped like a yacht) and Pan Pacific. Imagine the gorgeous view you would have enjoyed from staying in one of these 2 hotels ๐Ÿ˜›

Landmark Tower 3The top 2 photos are actually the descriptions on the panels (that you can adjust from daytime to night time mode)ย  – stretching out from World Porters and Red Brick Warehouse on the right (with the Yokohama Bay Bridge in the background) … right down to Yamashita Park, Harbor View Park, Chinatown, Yamate, Motomachi and Yokohama Stadum …… As for the bottom picture, there was a bit of cropping (due to collage size) but it captures from World Porters, Navios, Red Brick Warehouse, Zou-no-Hana Park right up to the lighted up Osanbashi Pier! Touched up the photo a fair bit with the help of Fotor ๐Ÿ™‚

Pacifico Touch UpBehind Intercotinental was Pacifico – a huge convention centre cum music venue right in the heart of Minato Mirai 21. Had some fun with the photo editing feature of Fotor to brighten up the original image to give it a more illuminated effect …….

Landmark Tower 4 Towards the main Yokohama Bay / Yokohama station area …….

Left the observatory around 745pm. When the lift reached Landmark Tower Level 2, looked out to this. Expected a more crowded mall (was told later it is because of winter that everyone goes home and stays indoor right after work) …….

DSCF7190Decided that since the young is still young at 8 …. will make full use of my 500 JPY Minato-Mirai pass (MM & Main JR Line) to make a trip back to Chinatown ……

On the way to the Minato Mirai station, passed by this pretty light-up/illumination @ Queens Square …….

DSCF7205

This time round, took right to the last station of the Minato-Mirai line – Motomachi Chukagai …. Walked out from the underpass and the gate to Chinatown was right there. Should have came by this station instead of walking over from Yamate, oh well …… Anyway Chinatown at night seemed a bit more ‘happening’, although its the same thing, not too crowded on a Monday night ……

Chinatown RevisitedYokohama Kocho

Managed to chance upon Kocho after a short walk! Was highlighted in the Yokohama Visitor’s guide that Kocho is well-known for its cheap take-away chinese food especially the da bao and dumplings. Walked in and got myself some take-away dumplings (will probably eat it back in the hotel room for supper) ….. Briefly chatted with a chinese server (a china student studying in Japan & working part-time there), apparently the shop closes at 9pm. That’s pretty early …….

After getitng my dumplings, mission accomplished! One last thing I gotta do …….

Navios Seamen's ClubSince I am not staying at Navios, the next best thing to do is to get a drink at the iconic International Seamen’s Club overlooking into the harbour ๐Ÿ™‚ …. Wasn’t intending to drink alcohol but the most value for money drink at 600 JPY was the Suntory house special, and so got myself a Suntory Premium Malt (Non-Alcoholic) …… Pretty cool that the Japanese do have non-alcoholic beer options, make for one refreshing drink after a long day of walking!

Navios Seamen Suntory iPhone Instragram

From where I am seated at the bar counter, am able to see Red Brick Warehouse in the background …..

After this last stop for the day, took a slow walk down Kishamichi Promenade once again. The weather forecast finally came true – abeilt a slight drizzle only. Took a slow slow walk and turned right to take the train from Sakuragicho Station (JR) back to hotel. Reached Yokohama station around 1030pm – the departmental store supermarkets were closed by then so no supermarket take-away to buy. Was so totally knocked out after a long day that went to bed immediately after shower at around 1130pm without going through the iternary for the next day ……

** Phew! Finally finished updating this after being in the draft for almost a week! ๐Ÿ˜›

Japan 2012: Day 1 Yokohama Part 2

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!

Yamashita ParkManaged to find the key ‘landmark’ – Hotel New Grand, with minimal difficulty, and headed straight on to Yamashita Park.ย  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!) ……

Yamashita Rinko Line PromenadeContinued walking on till I reached the Yamashita Rinko Line Promendae – will pass by Osanbashi Pier on route to Red Brick Warehouse / Akarenga Soko and the main Minato Mirai 21 area.

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) …….

Red Brick WarehouseReached! 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_3202[1]More beautiful night shots while walking down the Kishamichi Promendae to my next destination – Landmark Tower!

Navios YokohamaThe Kishamichi Promenade is a boardwalk in Yokohama, starting nearby the Sakuragichล 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 …….

Kishamichi Promenade 1Kishamichi Promenade 2Spotted 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 …..

http://japantourist.jp/view/minato-mirai-s-kisha-michi-promenad

http://muza-chan.net/japan/index.php/blog/kishamichi-promenade

http://stayingglobal.blogspot.sg/2011/12/stopping-by-in-yokohama.html

http://sbarnhill.mvps.org/japan/attractions/Promenade.htm

** 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