Let’s have a date in Yokohama – 12 excellent spots for a romantic time out in the Minato Mirai district
Minato Mirai, the futuristic harborside and downtown area of Yokohama, is popular place for both tourists and local Japanese. Famous for its night views, hotels, Ferris Wheel, parks, shopping, and dining, there is always something to keep you occupied here, and makes this one of the best places in all of Japan for a date! Today I would like to introduce 12 date spots that will keep you bringing your special someone to Yokohama again and again.
The first place on our list is one of the tallest buildings in Japan, and a symbol of Yokohama familiar to almost everyone in the country. In addition to shops and restaurants located inside, there is also an observation deck on the 69th floor offering some of the best harborside views in the world.
The Sky Garden, as the Landmark Tower’s observation deck is called, offers panoramic 360 degree views, and is particularly recommended for its beautiful urban night vistas. There is no better way to get in a romantic mood before going out for late dinner or drinks!
Location: 2-2-1 Minatomirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa 220-0012
Access: 5 minutes walk from Sakuragicho station (JR/city subway); 3 minutes walk from Minatomirai station (Minato Mirai line)
Business Hours: Shopping 11:00 - 20:00; Cafe & Restaurant 11:00 - 22:00
Mark IS is one of Yokohama’s newest and fanciest shopping centers, with everything from the latest fashion, sundry goods, and a wide variety of places to eat and drink, making this a perfect place to stop by on a date.
There is even a museum and park called Orbi Yokohama on the 5th floor here, that is unique in offering a chance to experience nature in the middle of Japan’s 2nd largest city. The indoor park contains 12 exhibitions, a large theater, an 80-seat café, and is a joint venture between BBC Earth and Sega.
Location: 3-5-1 Minatomirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa 220-0012
Access: directly connected to Minatomirai Station (Minato Mirai Line); 8 minutes walk from Sakuragicho Station (JR/Municipal Subway )
Business Hours: [Shops] Mon-Thu 10:00-20:00 / Fri Sat, Sun, public holidays and the day before public holidays 10:00-21:00; [Restaurant] 11:00-23:00; [Fourth floor food court] Mon-Thu 10:00-20 :00/Fri, Sat, Sun, public holidays and the day before public holidays 10:00-21:00; [Obi Yokohama] 10:00-23:00 (Last admission time 21:00)
For couples who want a more artistic day out, The Yokohama Museum of Art is a wonderful choice that brings world-class modern art into the heart of Yokohama.
The museum features more than 10,000 works of art, including those by famous artists such as Dali, Cezanne, and Picasso. In addition to the main art exhibits, there are also workshops, restaurants, and cafes, all housed in this beautiful, light and airy building created by Kenzo Tange, one of Japan’s most famous contemporary architects.
Location: 3-4-1 Minatomirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa 220-0012
Access: Minato Mirai Line (Tokyu Toyoko Line direct) From Minato Mirai Station <Exit 3>
Business Hours: 10:00 - 18:00
4. Rinko Park
The largest park in Minato Mirai, Rinko Park boasts a spacious expanse of green lawn and panoramic views of Yokohama harbor and downtown. This free attraction will give you a great feel for the city, and is an excellent place for an impromptu picnic.
The views here are especially beautiful in the evening, as the city lights spread out and twinkle brightly all around. This is one of the most popular places in Japan for couples to take an evening stroll and spend a romantic time together.
Location: 1-1-1 Minatomirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa 220-0012
Access: 5 minutes walk from Minatomirai Station; 10 minutes walk from Shin-Takashima Station; 15 minutes walk from Sakuragicho Station on the JR Keihin Tohoku/Negishi Line
Walking along the Yokohama harborside, one of the most iconic sites is the Nippon Maru, a romantic-looking sailing ship that was active for decades during the Showa Period, and that has since been turned into a popular museum and tourist spot.
Come here to get a feeling for life on a sailing ship, and also for beautiful evening views of the Ferris Wheel and city behind.
Location: 2-1-1 Minatomirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa 220-0012
Access: 5 minutes walk from Sakuragicho Station on the JR Negishi Line
Another site familiar to almost all Japanese is the Red Brick Warehouse on the harbor, built and expanded during the Meiji And Taisho Periods, as Japan rushed headlong into modernization. The exterior is something out of a British or East Coast American historic harborside, but once inside you will find a lot of trendy shops and cafes.
I recommend trying the Japanese-style café “Chano-ma Yokohama”, which in addition to great food also has traditional Japanese mat seating, where you can take off your shoes and rest your legs after a long day of walking.
Location: 1-1 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa 231-0001
Access: 15 minutes walk from JR/Municipal Subway Sakuragicho Station; 15 minutes walk from Kannai Station on the JR/Municipal Subway; 6 minutes walk from Bashamichi Station and Nihonodori Station on the Minatomirai Line
The 210 or so unique stores at Yokohama’s largest mall, World Porters, are divided into different categories by floor: food (1st floor), fashion and hobbies (2nd and 3rd floors), interior design (4th floor), restaurants, cinema and amusements (5th floor), and relaxation and interior design (6th floor).
The mall features an 8 screen Aeon Cinema, as well as Garden Marche, a large food court with a Hawaiian tropical theme, so couples can spend their entire day here if the weather is rainy, and still have a great time.
Location: 2-2-1 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa 231-0001
Access: 5 minutes walk from Minatomirai Station
Business Hours: Shopping 10:30 - 21:00; Restaurants 11:00 - 23:00; 5th floor cinema 9:00 - until the end of the late show (depends on movie)
This fun and interactive museum is a must for anyone interested in Japanese instant noodles. Started by Nishin, the company that invented instant noodles, the Cup Noodle Museum is one of only two in Japan (the other being in Osaka).
The museum features exhibitions that allow you to make your own special cup noodles from a wide variety of ingredients, and has a dining area modeled on a traditional Asian night market, complete with an international selection of noodle dishes and reasonable prices.
Location: 2-3-4 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa 231-0001
Access: 8 minutes walk from Minatomirai Station; 8 minutes walk; from Bashamichi Station; 12 minutes walk from Sakuragicho Station
Business Hours: 10:00 - 18:00 (last admission 17:00)
Built for the Yokohama Expo in 1989, Cosmo Clock 21 was the largest Ferris Wheel on earth when opened, and is still one of the largest handful anywhere, towering 112 meters over the bayside and offering unbeatable views all around.
Japanese love Ferris Wheels for dates, and this is probably the most famous Ferris Wheel in Japan. In the evening, a light show built into the wheel runs every 15 minutes, and is a famous site in itself, immortalized in countless Japanese dramas and TV programs.
Location: 2-8-1 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa 231-0001
Access: 10 minutes from JR Negishi Line/Municipal Subway Sakuragicho Station; 2 minutes on foot from Minatomirai Station
Business Hours: Weekdays 11:00 - 21:00; Saturdays, Sundays and holidays 11:00 - 22:00 (seasonal changes)
10. Yamashita Park
This European-style landscaped park is a longtime Yokohama date favorite. Take a stroll along the sea while watching the ships and seagulls glide by, and if you get a little tired, sit down together on one of the many benches and relax.
When the roses are in bloom, the park becomes even more beautiful and romantic, a great locale to create your own special day out together, or just a pleasant place to pass through on the way from Yokohama Chinatown to the Red Brick Warehouse mentioned earlier.
Location: 279 Yamashita Town, Naka-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa 231-223
Access: 3 minutes walk from Motomachi/Chukagai Station Exit 4 on Minatomirai Line
During the Meiji Period and beyond, Yokohama was Japan’s main window to the West. Walking through Motomachi Shopping Street, the atmosphere here is still reminiscent of that period, and feels half-foreign and half-Japanese.
The low-rise street will give you intimations here and there of not being in Japan anymore, is very pleasantly human scale compared to most other commercial districts in Greater Tokyo, and is full of interesting shops, cafes and restaurants for couples to explore.
Location: Motomachi, Naka-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa 231-0861
Access: At the Minato Mirai Line Motomachi-Chukagai Station (Motomachi Exit); 2 minute walk from the R Keihin Tohoku Line Ishikawacho Station (Motomachi Exit)
Japan’s largest Chinatown by far is located right here in Yokohama, and like Chinatowns everywhere, is an amazing place for delicious food. Highly recommended for couples interested in sampling Japan’s widest selection of Chinese restaurants, as well as taking in the beautiful Chinese gates and even a large Chinese temple.
Some of the most popular attractions here are the street stalls, selling delicious traditional Chinese snacks to go. Buy something here and take it to a bayside park, or eat in one of the many sit-down restaurants.
Location: Yokohama Chinatown, Yamashita Town, Naka-ki, Yokohama City, Kanagawa 231-0023
Access: 1 minute walk from Chukagai station; 5 minutes walk from Ishikawamachi station
Thank you for taking the time to read this article about Yokohama’s Minato Mirai, and I hope it will be helpful for anyone interested in creating a perfect date in this beautiful harborside city!