Only Tokyo's neighbour could be home to over 3.7 million people, and still enjoy 'small town' status. When you're staying in Tokyo, you could easily enjoy Yokohama as a day trip. But we reckon there are lots of reasons to stick around. Here are a few ideas for how you could spend a two-night stay.
Cheer on the Bay Stars
If a baseball game is on your radar, Yokohama Stadium is a great place to make it happen. The season kicks off around the end of March, and runs through til October. Expect to see rabid levels of fan enthusiasm, an incredibly healthy crowd of travelling supporters for the rival team, a delicious array of bento boxes, and hard-working uriko or beer vendors, who will pop round to top you up from a portable keg.
It's a good idea to book in advance, but you might be able to snag last minute tickets at Lawson or at the studio. If you can catch a Tokyo Giants game, you'll see the two great rivals battle it out.
Explore the art scene
The success of Yokohama's art scene stems from the city's historical position as a trading spot. Like all great art scenes, it's also helpful that life in Yokohama has tended to be on the cheaper side, and that it's not hard to find large warehouse or storage spaces to act as studios or galleries.
Koganecho is an area which is especially renowned for great art. After the war, this area was best known for an influx of hard drugs and a flourishing sex worker trade. In 2006, over 150 one woman brothels, chon-no-ma, were taken over by the city, and turned into offices, studios, and workspaces, with a subsidy for artists who wanted to move in. While the project was a tricky one to put into action, by 2008, the artists were ready to celebrate with the inaugural bazaar. This year, Koganecho Bazaar 2018 will be held running from 21st September to 28th October.
Settle in for a jazz kissa session
Somewhere between a cafe and a bar, a jazz kissa is easily recognisable because they are absolutely stuffed with jazz records. Quite simply, there's nothing nicer than passing some time in a jazz kissa.
Drinking areas Kannai and Noge are famous for both bars and jazz, and are great places to discover the joys of the jazz kissa. One famous spot is Downbeat Bar, which has been a mainstay since opening in 1956. Bitches Brew, named for the Miles Davis classic, is another fave. Of course, there's nothing more fun than hopping from tiny bar to tiny bar, and making your own discoveries.
DIY Cup Noodles
Momofuku Ando is a household name in Japan, and for an excellent reason. Freeze-fried noodles helped to keep the country fed as they worked to rebuild after the ravages of the Second World War.
Enjoy interactive activities, see a replica of the shed where Momofuku Ando worked, and create your own one-off noodle cup, designing the shell, and choosing the soup and topping combination for the inside.
There's an English audio guide which is a great option to make sure you get the most out of your visit.
Plan your visit to the Cupnoodle Museum
Drink beer, lots of beer
Japan loves beer, and that's very much in evidence here. Kirin Beer has been in Yokohama since the late 1800s, and is very much a fixture. But Yokohama also has a flourishing craft beer scene that's well worth exploring.
Great options include:
It's also just good fun to pay your respects to the Big Daddy, that is, Kirin. Book in for a tour, tack on some tastings, and you're all set for a great time.
And if that's not enough:
Experience a traditional Noh performance at the Yokohama Noh Theatre.
Book a spot aboard a yakatabune, or Japanese houseboat, and enjoy a harbour cruise, coupled with nomihodai, or 'all you can drink'. Expect karaoke to follow.
Get the jump on the Rugby World Cup and tour the stadium where it's all going to kick off in 2019 (see what we did there?)
Shop your way through the Red Brick Warehouses.