Yamashita Park (Yamashita Koen)
last update: August 12, 2021
Yamashita Park (山下 公園, Yamashita Koen)
is a public park by the sea, one of the most popular places in the city for a stroll and home to several outdoor events throughout the year. Initially built in 1930, the park was occupied by the Americans for several years after the end of World War II, was returned to the city in 1959 and modernized and reopened to the public in 1961. The Yokohama Marine Tower
, another famous landmark of the city, is located in front of the park. The place has often been used as a set for shooting drama and also designed as a place for romantic dates in various anime and manga, such as in the famous Maison Ikkoku
Things to do and things to see at Yamashita Park
Yamashita Koen is about 700 meters long and is home to trees, a large rose garden, a circular fountain, and large green lawns. Scattered here and there around the park you will also find several statues and memorials. The terminal part (east side) of the park is a rather curious area that takes the name of World Square
. A small pier is also located in front of Yamashita Koen. Here you will find the museum ship Hikawa Maru
, while on the opposite side you can embark on one of the boats that go around Yokohama Bay or take the Seabass
, a fast ship that connects the park with Minato Mirai and Yokohama station.
Yamashita Park is primarily a place to take a walk or sit on a bench and enjoy the sea breeze on hot summer days. It is part of the large redeveloped promenade of the city, in continuity with the nearby area of Minato Mirai
, to which it is connected via an elevated pedestrian path that takes the name of Yamashita Rinkō Line Promenade
and which retraces what was previously the layout of a freight railway. Between Minato Mirai and Yamashita Park, the Ōsanbashi Pier
stretches over the sea, a modern port terminal today used for the docking of various cruise ships and another vantage point of the city from the sea. Behind the park you will find the Yokohama Marine Tower
. To the east of the park you will find Harbor View Park
, connected to Yamashita Park by a pedestrian path.
Spectacular night view of Minato Mirai skyscrapers from Yamashita Park
Raised above the rest of the park (you have to go up a staircase), if at first glance this square would seem a normal continuation of the park, it is actually the roof of a parking lot built for the expo that was held in the city in 1989 (YES'89, Yokohama Exotic Showcase). It is difficult to describe in words the architecture of this place, which arouses a very strange sensation to those who go there for the first time, among concrete columns and arches, water channels and unusually shaped benches. Via an elevated pedestrian bridge, you can also directly enter the Yokohama Doll Museum, located across the street. Continuing further, the pedestrian path will take you to Harbor View Park.
Yokohama Doll Museum
(admission 400¥, opening hours 9:30-17:00, closed on monday)
The Yokohama Doll Museum is one of the largest doll museums in the country, with 1300 dolls from 140 countries around the world and Japan. Among the most valuable objects in the museum, there is a series of dolls donated by the United States to Japanese schools in 1927 as a symbol of peace. Unfortunately, the peace did not last long, and during the Second World War the government ordered the destruction of all the dolls. Fortunately, around 300 of these dolls were hidden by the owners and are now in this museum. The museum also exhibits some dollhouses, complete with accessories, and some exhibits on different doll making techniques in Japan and the West.
(admission 300¥, opening hours 10-17, closed on monday)
The Hikawa Maru is an ocean liner that was in service for thirty years, from 1930 to 1960, carrying out a passenger service between Yokohama and the cities of Seattle (United States) and Vancouver (Canada). During the Second World War it was transformed into a hospital ship, but resumed its function as a passenger ship in 1953. During its history and before Japan's entry into the war, it seems that it carried numerous Jews who had escaped from Nazi persecution, who fled from Europe to the United States, first passing through Russia and then Japan. In 1932 Charlie Chaplin traveled on this ship on his round-the-world tour. At the time this ship was famous for its beautiful art deco interior, and was nicknamed "The Queen of the Pacific". Since 1961 it has been permanently anchored in front of Yamashita Park and is now a museum ship that can be visited inside. You can explore a large part of the ship, including the engine room, the control room, the cabins and common spaces of first and second class, and the external deck from which to enjoy the view of the park.
Yokohama Marine Tower
(currently closed for renovation until March 2022)
This tower is located right in front of Yamashita Park and was inaugurated in 1961. In the evening the metal structure is illuminated by a special lighting that changes color. The tower also functions as a lighthouse and is considered the tallest lighthouse in the world, 103 meters high. Right under the light of the lighthouse, there is a 360 degree panoramic observatory on two floors (29th and 30th floor) from which to admire the city, the Yamashita Park, and in the distance Minato Mirai and the Yokohama Bay Bridge. At the base of the tower is a 4-story building with a souvenir shop and a few restaurants.
night view from the observation deck on the Yokohama Marine Tower (credits)
Where to stay near Yamashita Park
The luxurious New Grand Hotel is a historic hotel in the city, which opened in 1927. The main building, which has remained unchanged since then, has welcomed many historical figures including Charlie Chaplin, Babe Ruth, and the American general Douglas MacArthur, who spent his first night there upon his arrival in Japan on 30 August 1945 to sign the armistice. Next to the historic building, a second modern building was built in 1991. The hotel offers both classically furnished rooms and modern style rooms, according to your preferences and all very generous in size. From the higher floors of the modern building you can also enjoy a splendid view of Minato Mirai, Yamashita Park and the sea, and the west-facing rooms also have a balcony.
Price range: 15,000-20,000¥.
View of Yamashita Park from one of the hotels across the street
How to get to Yamashita Park
stations, both along the Minatomirai line
, are located a few hundred meters from the park and offer an ultra-fast connection with Minatomirai (5 minutes, 190¥) and Yokohama station (10 minutes, 220¥).
The small pier in front of Yamashita Park (next to the Hikawa Maru museum) is one of the stops of the Seabass
, a fast boat that connects Yamashita Koen with Minato Mirai (10 minutes, 400¥) and Yokohama station (15 minutes, 700¥). Departures are about ten a day every 1-2 hours, more information can be found on the company's website
and on this pamphlet
Yamashita Park is connected with the Minato Mirai
area (just over one km) via a scenic pedestrian path (Yamashita Rinkō Line Promenade
) which retraces the route of an ancient freight railway no longer existing and which passes in front of the Osanbashi Pier
, the Elephant Nose Park
, and the Red Brick Warehouses
. On the other side, another elevated pedestrian bridge connects Yamashita Park with the Doll Museum and with the nearby Harbor View Park
(600 meters), behind which lies the old Western district of Yamate
. The giant Gundam of the Gundam Factory
is located just 300 meters from the park, as is the entrance to the lively Chinatown
Map of Yamashita Park, Yokohama
Guided tours, activities and other things to do
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