Saturday, 12 November 2016

Our next stop in Japan was Yokohama, another city just 40 minutes south of Tokyo. For our 5 night stay in the city we had opted for an Air BnB (if you have never used Air BnB then you are seriously missing out - it's great if you really want to live somewhere instead of just stay there.) Anyway, we were staying in an apartment about 40 mins walk from the main city centre along with the owner, Luis - who I must say was super lovely and very helpful, giving us loads of tips on places to go and things to see. The apartment itself was great and had amazing views of Yokohama and a beautiful Shinto Shrine that is right outside.

As for Yokohama, in many ways I actually preferred it to Tokyo. The city itself was a lot more chilled and relaxed - plus it felt a lot more homely (hence the title of this post). Yokohama was one of the first Japanese ports that opened up to foreign trade, giving it a very international feel in comparison to Tokyo. Below are my top 5 must's when visiting Yokohama...

The Habour/ Cosmoworld 
So this one is super easy! As you walk into the city centre you're faced with a giant lit up Ferris wheel, surrounded with amusements and roller-coasters (this is Cosmoworld). It's free to walk in and have a wander around but you pay separately for all the different amusements. We approached the Habour and Cosmoworld in the day time and it looked incredible but on the way back and seeing it at night was something else, the wheel looks amazing lit up over the water - even if you don't go on any of the rides it's worth checking out just for the scenery!

Yokohama Museum of Art 
If you're after something with a little more culture then check out the museum of Art. The building itself is really pretty and it holds some great traditional Japanese art work along with works from well known influential artist such as Picasso, Matisse and DalĂ­ - I partially enjoyed the photographers gallery where you can view some of Cindy Sherman's famous Film Stills.

Cup Noodle Museum and Factory 
This had to be one of the highlights of the trip so far! I will say that the museum itself wasn't that great, however it is worth going just for the fact you can design and make your own cup noodles! You pay an extra 300 yen (about £2) on top of the 500 yen you pay to access the museum, to get a blank cup, where you then get to draw your own design on the cup. You then get to pick your own flavours, watch the making process and then seal it up yourself into a cute little bubble bag! I picked seafood flavoured noodles with sweetcorn, crab, prawns and spring-onions - they were so yummy, I now understand why Japanese people go crazy for them!

The Red Brick Warehouse
This was one of the things recommended to us by our Air BnB host Luis. A little bit of a walk on from the big Ferris Wheel and the Habour and you can't miss these beautiful buildings. They are very British in appearance, making them stand out from the traditional Japanese buildings and huge skyscrapers that surround them. Built in 1899 and formally used as the customs inspection house for Yokohama Bay they are now home to loads of great restaurants and boutiques. I loved looking around as it felt so warm and Christmassy inside - a great place to take someone on a romantic date. Myself and Craig found a great little restaurant inside, overlooking the port, called Grip. I had a yummy organic vegetable pizza, along with an amaretto ginger to drink!

Kamakura is a small town just outside of Yokohama (about a 30 min train) but was well worth the trip - again another great recommendation from Luis! We mainly went to visit The Great Buddah (the second largest Buddah in Japan) and it was astounding! I really couldn't take my eyes off of it, and concidering its size and the year it was built (1252) made it even more incredible. As well as The Great Buddah, there were other pretty temples and shrines to see and Kamakura was just generally a lovely place to walk around. Plus - I hate to be basic - but there was the best Starbucks in Kamakura that had a reserved seating area where you could grab unlimited tea and coffee from your very own barrista - we enjoyed warm cookies and coffee whilst listening to Christmas tunes (they are obsessed here)!

So there you have it, my little guide to Yokohama!

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