Minato Mirai 21
last update: August 13, 2021
Minato mirai 21 (みなとみらい21) is a hyper-modern seaside neighborhood in downtown Yokohama. The area, which once housed large shipyards and other industrial activities, has undergone a massive redevelopment since 1983. The name Minato Mirai 21, which was chosen in those years through a public survey, means in Japanese "port of the future of the twenty-first century". In 1993 the Landmark Tower, the then tallest skyscraper in the country, was inaugurated in Minato Mirai. Today Minato Mirai is an important business center where tens of thousands of people work in the skyscrapers, but also the most famous area of the city and one of the most popular tourist areas of the entire Tokyo metropolitan area, thanks to the splendid view, the proximity to the sea and all the shopping centers, museums, and other attractions that have been inaugurated over the years.
Things to do and things to see in Minato Mirai
Minato Mirai is first of all a charming and romantic place
where you can stroll for hours, with parks, green lawns and benches facing the sea. In particular, the pedestrian path that leads from Sakuragicho station to the large artificial island of Shinko
, passing through three bridges and two artificial islands (Kisha-michi Promenade
), is very impressive. The area is particularly fascinating in the evening, when the lights of the skyscrapers are reflected on the waters of Yokohama Bay, also full of bright and colorful restaurant boats. You can enjoy the charm of the Yokohama Bay panorama from Minato Mirai in many different ways. For example, staying in one of the many hotels with a view in the area, or visiting the observation deck (Skygarden
) at the top of the Landmark Tower
, the second tallest skyscraper in Japan. Or even going up the brand new cable car that connects Sakuragicho station with Shinko island (Yokohama Air Cabin
), or why not, taking a ride on the large Ferris wheel of the Yokohama Cosmoworld amusement park
. Finally, there is a wide offer of boat tours of the bay, whether for a simple cruise, or for lunch or dinner on board.
Minato Mirai is also a paradise for shopping
and for having fun in many different ways, with its eight shopping centers, an amusement park, an exhibition center, a large spa with thermal water and an infinity of restaurants. Finally, Minato Mirai is also a place full of opportunities for museum enthusiasts and for those who want to expand their culture on many different themes. It ranges from a light and fun theme such as the history of instant ramen
, passing through the world of technology with a museum of the industrial giant Mitsubishi, the world of navigation with an ancient ship of the merchant navy and the history of the city port. But also the paintings of Dalí and Picasso, the wreck of a North Korean spy ship and the story of Japanese emigrants in America.
night photo of Minato Mirai
Kishamichi Promenade is a fascinating pedestrian path that connects the Nippon-maru Memorial Park area, a few meters from the east exit of Sakuragicho station, and the artificial island of Shinko, where, among others, the World Porters shopping center and the Cosmo Clock amusement park are located. From 1911 to 1986, along this route there was a railroad crossed by freight trains that reached the warehouses in the area now known as Red Brick Warehouses. The route is characterized by three historic bridges, built between 1906 and 1907, surrounded by the water of the bay on both sides, and ends in front of the hotel building Navios Yokohama, characterized by an arch shape. The walk is particularly romantic in the evening, when the lights of the Ferris wheel and skyscrapers reflect off the water.
Minato Mirai from above, the Kishamichi Promenade in the center
The Landmark Tower, completed in 1993, is currently the second tallest skyscraper in Japan, with a height of 296 meters.
The skyscraper houses an elevator built by Mitsubishi Electric, which reaches a speed of 750 m/min (or 45 km/h) both uphill and downhill. It is Japan's fastest elevator and the fourth fastest uphill in the world, while downhill it still holds the world speed record since 1993, when it was put into operation.
The first four floors of the building are incorporated with the Landmark Plaza shopping center at the foot of the tower. The rest of the building is occupied by offices and a luxury hotel between the 49th and 70th floors (Yokohama Royal Park Hotel). On the 69th floor there is also a paid panoramic observatory open to the public, the Sky Garden.
In front of one of the sides of the building is the Dockyard Garden, a reconstruction of an old stone shipyard in the city port for ship repairs.
Yokohama Landmark Tower Sky Garden
(admission 1000¥, opening hours 10-21, until 22 on weekends)
On the 69th floor of the building there is a 360-degree panoramic observatory that can be reached via the very fast lift of the Mitsubishi Electric. Admission is subject to a fee but in our opinion it is one of the observatories with the most interesting view of the whole greater Tokyo metropolitan area. In the distance on a clear day you can also see both the skyscrapers of Tokyo and Mount Fuji. The observatory has been recently renovated and has a very modern and sophisticated feel. Inside there are also a cafe (The Sky Cafè) and a souvenir shop.
night view of Minato Mirai from the Skygarden
Yokohama Air Cabin
(1000¥ one way, 1800¥ round trip, opening hours 10-20)
An urban cable car among the latest innovations in the district, inaugurated in 2021. The cable car connects the square in front of the east exit of Sakuragicho station with the artificial island of Shinko, in front of the World Porters shopping center, for a total of about 630 meters. A one way trip takes 5 minutes. The cabins travel at a height of approximately 40 meters and are a popular romantic attraction among couples in the area thanks to the romantic view of Minato Mirai. Particularly popular is the combined ticket (1500¥) which includes both a cable car ride and a ride on the nearby Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris wheel, saving 400 yen.
(opening hours 11:00-20:00, until later on weekends and in summer, closed on Thursdays)
Cosmo World is an amusement park with free admission (you only pay for the individual attractions) that offers roller coasters, carnival attractions, virtual reality, various games for children and, above all, its giant Ferris wheel nicknamed Cosmo Clock 21, 112 meters high and with a large clock in the center that can be read by the whole area, which has now become a landmark of the Yokohama skyline. A complete tour takes about 15 minutes and costs 900¥. Another interesting attraction is a very special roller coaster (Vanish!) that slips under a swimming pool passing through a fountain (800¥).
Cosmo World as seen from the Landmark Tower Observatory
(admission 2750¥, open 24 hours a day)
The Manyo Club is a spa and relaxation center on the man-made island of Shinko. As there are no sources of thermal water in the area, the water is transported by truck from the Izu Peninsula. The admission fee to the structure allows you to take advantage of numerous thermal baths and different types of saunas. The property also offers various types of massages, restaurants, and even hotel rooms where you can spend the night. On the roof there is a terrace with a foot bath and a romantic view of Minato Mirai.
A convention center and exhibition center located in the western tip of Minato Mirai. Some of the events hosted in this center are only for professionals, others are large fairs open to the public (here is the calendar). The complex also includes a large luxury hotel in a sail-shaped building (InterContinental Yokohama Grand).
A large, elegant five-story shopping mall adjacent to the Landmark Tower. For fans of anime and manga there is a Jump Shop on the second floor. The Yokohama Pokemon Center was also located here until 2018, when it was relocated near Yokohama Station (beware as many guides still incorrectly report it is here) . Landmark Plaza is directly connected to the Landmark Tower on the third floor (where the ticket office and the elevator for the Sky Garden observation deck are located) and on the fifth floor, where there are numerous restaurants (Tower Dining). A long pedestrian bridge directly connects Sakuragicho Station on the third floor of Landmark Plaza, while Queen's Square Mall is right next to Landmark Plaza and forms one large shopping and dining area with the latter.
Moku Moku Waku Waku Yokohama YoYo
A bizarrely named stainless steel sculpture, made by Hisayuki Mogami, in 1994. It is located in the large square between the Landmark Plaza and Queens Square shopping malls. Many people wonder what it is, but we don't even know for sure, perhaps it represents a form of "floating clouds". Some say that it also has the function of mitigating wind noise, but we are not sure.
Moku Moku Waku Waku Yokohama YoYo
Next to the Landmark Tower are three other lower skyscrapers, known as Queen's Towers. At the foot of these three towers, and in front of the Landmark Plaza, there is another large shopping center with over 200 shops and restaurants and a concert hall (Minato Mirai Hall).
MARK IS is the largest and newest shopping mall in Minato Mirai, right next to the Landmark Tower. It has a total of eight floors open to the public, three of which are underground. On the fourth floor you will find a large restaurant area, while on the fifth floor there is a roof garden and Moff World, a sort of park where you can interact with different pets.
A shopping complex located next to the east exit of Sakuragicho station, with more than 130 shops, cinemas, fitness center, restaurants on the sixth and seventh floors, and a hotel (New Otani Inn Yokohama Premium).
World Porters is one of the largest and most famous shopping malls in Minato Mirai, in a six-story building with approximately 170 stores. Each floor specializes in a certain "type" of shops. The ground floor is dedicated to food, and houses numerous cafes and restaurants. Here you will also find the curious Hawaiian Town, where you can eat typical dishes of the American archipelago in the Pacific. On the second floor you will find a large gashapon shop and some fashion shops, the third floor is mainly dedicated to fashion and accessories, while the fourth floor is dedicated to furniture and interior products. On the fifth floor there is a huge multiplex cinema (Aeon Cinema Minatomirai), an arcade and some restaurants. The sixth floor isn't worth a visit. Finally, you can also access the roof of the building, where there is a terrace overlooking the nearby Ferris wheel and a mini golf course (Bahn Golf Club, a game costs 900¥). Shops close at 9pm, restaurants at 11pm, cinemas at midnight, the minigolf at 7pm.
Yokohama Hammerhead is a multipurpose complex, inaugurated in 2019, which houses a cruise terminal, a luxury hotel with sea view (InterContinental Yokohama Pier 8 Hotel), and a small shopping mall with about 25 shops and restaurants. Its name derives from the large hammerhead crane which is located in front of the building and which has been left as evidence of the old port operations that characterized the 'area. The so-called Hammerhead Park in front of the building has become a popular new panoramic spot to sit and relax beside the crane, facing the sea, and with the skyscrapers of Minato Mirai behind.
the old hammerhead tower crane of the Port of Yokohama (credits)
Marine & Walk Yokohama
A small, upscale open-air mall, one of the newest in Minato Mirai, reminiscent of the red brick architecture of the nearby Red Brick Warehouses complex on the outside. On the ground floor there are mostly shops of import brands, on the first floor there are some restaurants.
Red Brick Warehouses
A complex of two buildings with characteristic red bricks (Akarenga Soko) and western style, built in the early twentieth century and located on the east end of the artificial island of Minato Mirai. Once used for the customs of the Port of Yokohama, the buildings have been converted and now house shops, restaurants and various spaces for events. Between the two buildings there is a large square which also hosts outdoor events. Particularly noteworthy is a very nice ice skating rink in winter, and a beer festival in spring (events calendar).
Cup Noodles Museum
The Cup Noodles Museum is a fun museum that shows the history of instant ramen and of Momofuku Ando, who invented the so-called cup noodle in 1958. The museum is owned by the company Nissin Food, founded by Momofuku Ando himself and today a world leader in the production of spaghetti and other instant foods. Among the museum's most popular attractions are the My Cupnoodles Factory workshop, where you can create your own personalized and original cup noodle choosing from different toppings (400¥), and the Noodles Bazaar, a restaurant area with the appearance of an Asian food market, where you can taste eight different types of noodles from all over the world (here the complete list of dishes).
(admission 400¥, opening hours 10-17, closed on mondays)
The Nippon Maru is a historic sailing ship, built in 1930 and used until 1984 to train young merchant navy officers. Today it is permanently anchored in Minato Mirai, in front of the Yokohama Port Museum, and it is possible to visit it. A combined ticket allows you to visit both the museum and the ship for the price of 600¥.
Yokohama Port Museum
(admission 400¥, opening hours 10-17, closed on mondays)
In front of the Nippon Maru sailing ship is this museum, in a building very well incorporated into the surrounding environment and with a large green lawn on the roof. The exhibits focus on the operation of the port of Yokohama and its history from its opening to international trade in 1859 to the present day. A combined ticket allows you to visit both the museum and the Nippon Maru sailing ship for the price of 600¥.
Yokohama Museum of Art
(admission 500¥, opening hours 10-18, closed on Thursdays)
This museum, which opened in 1989, is one of the largest art museums in Japan. The building is of interesting architectural value and was designed by the great Kenzo Tange. The museum's collection includes numerous works by the Dadaist and Surrealist currents, and by important Japanese artists, especially those who have had relations with the city of Yokohama throughout their lives. There is also no shortage of pieces by some very influential and famous Western artists such as Constantin Brâncuși, Paul Cézanne, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst and Pablo Picasso. Not to be missed if you are a fan of modern art.
Mitsubishi Minatomirai Industrial Museum
(admission 500¥, opening hours 10-17, chiuso il martedì)
A museum of the Japanese multinational Mitsubishi, dedicated to different sectors where the company is at the forefront (but not to the automotive sector). The exhibitions focus in particular on the aviation and aerospace, submarine and navigation sectors. The museum is full of interactive attractions and simulators, however keep in mind that this is a museum aimed primarily at children. The museum shop is also worth a look, among the things that you can buy we point out detailed scale models of planes and ships, and food for astronauts.
Japan Coast Guard Museum Yokohama
(free admission, opening hours 10-17, closed on monday)
The highlight of this museum dedicated to the Japanese coast guard is the wreck of the North Korean ship Changyu 3705, behind which lies an intriguing story of espionage. In December 2001, a suspicious ship was sighted in Japanese waters southwest of Kyushu. The Coast Guard chased the suspicious boat and, after refusing to stop and a prolonged exchange of gunshots, was forced to sink the ship. It was only after a few months, when the wreck was recovered, that the suspicions were confirmed. It was a spy ship from North Korea. Hundreds of objects were also recovered, all exhibited inside this small museum together with the 29.7 meter long wreck.
Japanese Overseas Migration Museum
(free admission, opening hours 10-18, closed on monday)
This museum, run by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), traces the history of Japanese migrations abroad over the past two centuries, particularly to the United States and South America. The illustrative panels are available in English, Spanish and Portuguese. This museum is not a common stop among tourists in Yokohama, but it can be interesting for those who want to learn something about the subject.
Where to stay in Minato Mirai
Pros and cons
Minato Mirai is the best area to stay in Yokohama, there are many reasons to choose to sleep here. First, most of the city's attractions are nearby. In addition, other very popular areas such as Chinatown
and Yamashita Park
are pleasantly reachable on foot. Last but not least, almost all hotels in Minato Mirai are located in skyscrapers from whose windows you can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view that will leave you with indelible memories. The only downside for some is that there are no particularly cheap accommodations, such as hostels and capsule hotels. However, the hotels in the area are very good value for money for the level of comfort they offer and are affordable for anyone. It is advisable to avoid only the Saturday night, when the prices go up considerably because many couples decide to stay in the area.
This hotel is in a fantastic location, in a thirty-story skyscraper opposite the east exit of Sakuragicho station, a five-minute walk from the artificial island of Shinko with all its attractions. There are several restaurants on the first floors of the building, while the reception is on the 4th floor. The hotel offers both very affordable single rooms (about 5000¥ per night) and rooms on the upper floors, with city or bay views, at the lowest rate in the area (7000-8000¥ per night for a double room). Great breakfast but expensive (1700¥ per person). For the rest, the Washington hotels are a mid-range Japanese chain that guarantees extreme cleanliness and rooms that are small but equipped with everything you need.
Price range: 5,000-8,000¥.
If you have the chance to spend a little more, this hotel is the best of the many upscale hotels overlooking Minato Mirai, and also one of the least expensive. It is located between 49th and 70th of the Landmark Tower, so very close to both Sakuragicho station and Minato Mirai metro station. The rooms are very large and elegant, and all have panoramic views over the city or the bay. For an even more unforgettable experience, we recommend the corner rooms (photo opposite) which also have a small window next to the bathtub. There is also a fitness center and several restaurants within the hotel. Sirius restaurant on the 70th floor offers both breakfast buffet (3630¥) and lunch buffet (4500¥).
Price range: 12,000-25,000¥.
Another high-end hotel, located within the Queen's Square Yokohama complex, which includes a concert hall, shops and extensive gardens, and opposite the Cosmo World amusement park . Minato Mirai Metro Station is located under the building, while Sakuragicho Station is a 10-minute walk away. The rooms are huge (starting from 40sqm) and all have balconies with views. Highly recommended in the summer months, to enjoy the view or an aperitif in the open area. Inside the hotel there are also numerous restaurants and a spa which includes a swimming pool on the 4th floor (admission to the swimming pool alone costs 300 yen 3300¥).
Price range: 20,000-25,000¥.
Other hotels with panoramic views
InterContinental Yokohama Grand, in a sail-shaped skyscraper inside the Pacifico Yokohama exhibition center, located at the western tip of Minato Mirai.
InterContinental Yokohama Pier 8, within the Yokohama Hammerhead complex, a low-rise building but located on a pier, with close-up views of the sea.
Navios Yokohama, a mid-range business hotel located in the arched building on the man-made island of Shinko.
Oakwood Suites Yokohama, an aparthotel whose rooms have a kitchenette, located between the 46th and 51st floors of a skyscraper near Bashamichi station.
Low cost business hotels
If you are looking for a business hotel as cheap as possible and as close as possible to the Minato Mirai area, you can take a look at the Sotetsu Fresa Inn Yokohama Sakuragi-cho
near Bashamichi station, or at the Flexstay Inn Sakuragicho
on the other side of Sakuragicho station (west exit).
Eating in Minato Mirai, cafes and restaurants
In the food courts of the many shopping centers
in the area you will find plenty of choice, cuisine of all kinds, for all budgets, and of all the most famous Japanese and non-Japanese chains. IF you're looking for a special experience, you can go (20 minutes on foot) to the nearby Chinatown
full of Chinese cuisine restaurants, or book a lunch or dinner in one of the many restaurant boats
sailing in Yokohama bay, or even a romantic dinner in the restaurants on the top floors
of the various hotels in Minato Mirai. Finally, a few meters south of Sakuragicho station you will find the almost unknown area of Noge
, perfect for eating and drinking in an informal and fun atmosphere and on a budget.
Cruise on the sea
Several companies offer cruises in Yokohama Bay, departing from Minato Mirai or nearby Yamashita Park. You can simply take a cruise to enjoy the view, or have lunch or dinner on the ship. For more information on timetables and prices, visit the website of Royal wing
or of Yokohama Cruising
. A cruise with lunch or dinner included typically lasts two hours and costs from 6000¥ up, depending on the menu.
The small neighborood of Noge
is one of Yokohama's best kept secrets, sandwiched between the vibrant Minato Mirai business and entertainment district and the residential area of Kannai. You can reach this area in just two minutes on foot from the west exit of Sakuragicho station. Here you will find small streets with a myriad of small bars, izakaya and jazz clubs, where many employees come to eat and drink in joy after work. In the various izakayas in the area you can eat different Japanese dishes, and the yakitori
skewers are one of the most popular dishes. It is advisable to take a walk in the area and choose the place that inspires you the most, but if you really want some name, we recommend Sukizuki
(an izakaya), and Chigusa
(a jazz club).
How to get to Minato Mirai
There are two reference stations in the area, Sakuragicho station
and Minato Mirai station
. Both stations are directly connected with several Tokyo stations and both are located just one stop from Yokohama station. If the starting point is Yokohama station, it is recommended to take the JR Negishi line to Sakuragicho because it costs less (140¥). If the departure point is Tokyo, it depends on the departure area.
is an elevated station of the JR (but also of the Blue line
of the metro) in front of the artificial island of Shinko. It is served by the JR Yokohama
and JR Negishi
railway lines. What makes this station very convenient is that the trains of the Keihin-Tohoku line
which connects several important Tokyo stations (including Ueno, Akihabara, Tokyo station, Shinbashi, Shinagawa) with Yokohama station, continue along the JR Negishi line
, without having to change trains. You can then go directly to Minato Mirai from Tokyo. The price and travel time vary depending on the station of departure. For example, from Tokyo station you can reach Sakuragicho in about 40 minutes (570¥).
Minato Mirai station
Minato Mirai station
is an underground station located under the Queen's Square Yokohama complex. It is served by the Minato Mirai Line
, a short metro line that connects Yokohama station with Motomachi-chukagai station
(Chinatown area). However, this line is an extension of the Tokyu Toyoko Line
which connects Shibuya
(Tokyo) with Yokohama station. You can then go directly to Minato Mirai from Shibuya (470¥, 40 minutes).
Getting to Minato Mirai on foot
A typical itinerary for those visiting Yokohama for the first time is to explore the Minato Mirai area on foot, with a pleasant walk along a path on the coast that passes through the artificial island of Shinko, up to the Pier Osanbashi
and Yamashita Park
. From here, you can continue further to Chinatown
, or to the Gundam Factory
. Yokohama station
is also not far from Minato Mirai, but in the opposite direction (20-25 minutes).
Map of Minato Mirai, Yokohama
Guided tours, activities and other things to do
If you are planning a trip to Japan and you want to do something more than just visiting famous places and monuments, we suggest you to use Govoyagin
How to use Govoyagin
Govoyagin is a very useful website to enrich your travel experience
, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan.
Because of the language barrier (and more), in Japan it is very difficult to interact with the locals and to get off the tourist track.
Thanks to Govoyagin you can find a lot of interesting and sometimes unique guided tours and activities
all over Japan (and not only in Japan), that you would otherwise never be able to enjoy.
But there's more: on Govoyagin you can also buy tickets
for several famous attractions, events, transportation and other useful services for tourists. Last but not least, you can reserve a table
in hundreds of restaurants.
Take a look at Govoyagin
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