Maybe you’re planning to move to Japan, or maybe you’ve lived here for awhile and are looking for somewhere that’s not as hectic as Tokyo, yet still offers all the vibes and conveniences that a big city offers. -Somewhere you can get a little more space and stretch your yen a little farther…
On the outskirts of Tokyo is the next largest city in Japan: Yokohama.
Yokohama is considered part of the Tokyo Metropolis and only a short train ride from Shibuya. Those who live in Yokohama are very proud to be ‘Hamakkos’ (a person from Yokohama) and not Tokyoites.
Yokohama has charm and vibes that you cannot find anywhere else in Tokyo.
This urban city has a rich history from the trade port, leaving its markings all over the city.Since the first imported trades for the Kanto area came through Yokohama, you can find a lot of European architecture and even large, gorgeous European houses along the Yamate Bluff.
What are the Benefits of Choosing to Live in Yokohama vs. Tokyo?
1) A city with less spotlight but big pride:
Tokyo is big, famous, and known worldwide, but what many people don’t realize is that Yokohama can be just as exciting as Tokyo. Although many people think Osaka is Japan’s second-largest city, it’s actually Yokohama who steals the title.
2) Still Close to Tokyo:
A commute to Shibuya is only 30 minutes away by the Toyoko line or JR Shonan-Shinjuku line. You can be near Tokyo but with less pollution.
CLICK HERE to see a pollution comparison between Tokyo and Yokohama.
3) A Western Appeal:
Even though Yokohama boasts a population of roughly 3.7 million people, it has large open spaces, broad streets, and wide sidewalks, giving you the feeling that you are not in a vast, densely populated city.
4) Family and Pet friendly:
Lots of shopping malls, kid-friendly restaurants, and plentiful parks.You can explore zoos and aquariums nearby.Just an easy day trip finds you on the beaches of Shonan or in Kamakura or Hakone.
5) Space is more affordable:
Imagine a 3 bedroom apartment with a larger living room where you can entertain guests and have friends or family stay over because you have an extra room to house them– for the price of a 2 or even 1 Bedroom apartment in central Tokyo.
Popular Areas of Yokohama and Their Points of Interests
Yokohama Stations of Interest
There are many stations in the Yokohama area that are also excellent residential areas. They will provide you with more space and many amazing activities in the local area.
Does Yokohama really have it all?
The locals sure do think so. Here are some stations that prove their point–
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Yokohama station (横浜駅)
Around Yokohama station- a 30-minute train ride from Shibuya- is the central hub of the city. Connected to the station, lines department stores, restaurants, and cafes. So whenever you feel the need to get some shopping therapy done, you won’t need to go anywhere else.
Want to explore the city but also feel the open air? You can take a ferry ride from the Bay Quarter Mall over to Yamashita park. Or from that same dock, book a dinner cruise along the Yokohama bay.
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Minato Mirai station (みなとみらい駅)
A famous and fan favorite station in Yokohama, is Minato Mirai.
Minato Mirai has many unique activities for you to enjoy with the family or night out with friends. Picture wide sidewalks, multiple car lane streets, a Sydney Harbor vibe, where bays of water surround a downtown urban city skyline. The breathtaking night view is something you will never get bored of and is what often draws people to Minato Mirai.
While Tokyo’s shopping is done mainly by stores in stand-alone buildings, Yokohama has many shopping centers, to get shopping and dining in at one place.
The Landmark Tower is another iconic spot for Minato Mirai hosting a shopping center, offices, hotel, and exhibition centers. This 296 meters high skyscraper has a beautiful and romantic lookout over the city.
Yokohama Cosmo World – also steps away from the station- is an amusement park with a roller coaster, Ferris Wheel, and a zone with lots of fun rides for the kiddos. On New Years’ Eve, they shoot off fireworks to ring in the New Year. Spend your weekends here for a full day of fun.
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Motomachi Chukagai station (元町・中華街駅)
Along the Minato Mirai metro line, is another stop well known for its bustling Chinatown. Yokohama Chinatown is the largest in Japan with over 300 shops. Indulge yourself in some excellent Chinese cuisine and dumplings—especially a fun time during Chinese New Year.
Yamashita Koen (Park) is the perfect picnicking spot to breathe in some fresh sea air. A park right along the pier where you can wind down, by watching ships coming and going.You don’t want to miss their annual fireworks spectacular here each summer.
Yokohama International School (Y.I.S.) is a prominent I.B. school and arguably one of Japan’s best. It is located only a short walk from the station (although they are relocating to the same area but a little further from the station within the next few years). If you have children and thinking about sending them to an International School, this is a great choice. Another great option nearby is the St. Maur International School.
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Ishikawacho station (石川町駅)
Located on the backside of Motomachi’s China town, Ishikawacho is a quieter residential station on the Negishi and Keihin Tohoku line.
In between Motomachi Station and Ishikawacho station lies the famous area called “The Bluff.”
The Bluff is a hilly area consisting of historical houses, dating back to when Yokohama first opened its importing gates to European and Western trade. Some homes are still being resided in by expats, but others are tourist spots where you can view them in their original form.
Dining– Charcoal Grill Green will soon become one of your favorite restaurants. A charcoal-grilled steak house with craft beer and select California wines. An intimate place with great, innovative food.
Other point of interests that may have you packing your bags and moving to Yokohama
The original trade customs warehouses, built in the late Meiji period, have been renovated with cute boutiques and restaurants. It is located right on the pier, a beautiful spot to enjoy some shopping and outdoor scenery; feeling a bit like you’ve escaped to Europe for the day.They hold many events throughout the year, including the largest Oktoberfest in Japan, where musicians, beer, and foods are brought over from Germany to give you an authentic experience. “Prost!”
Although Yokohama has many large malls to shop in, World Porters has been a favorite among locals and tourists for many years. This mall focuses more on entertainment and amusement than retail shops, although there are more than 200 well-known shops inside. There is a Hawaiian themed food court with the famous Leonards Malasadas brought over from Hawaii. Also, Hamleys toy store has an entire floor with games, play centers, and daily activities where you and the kids can easily spend a whole day there.
Yokohama Ramen and the Ramen Museum
Yokohama is famous for its strong tonkotsu ramen (pork broth) and soy sauce bowls of noodles. There are many ramen shops to choose from, and you will know which are the good ones typically by a long queue outside its doors. Shin Yokohama also has a Ramen Museum with many Ramen stands in one ‘amusment style park’.
A sports complex for the whole family! Cricket, hockey, volleyball, outdoor swimming pool with a diving board, and much more. Classes, such as dance, with high-level trainers for both kids and adults. Watch some sports games all while enjoying a meal together at the restaurant and bars. It is a great place to find a community and keep your sports life alive.
An exceptional Smoke joint that provides real American B.B.Q. This is where you go to get your fixes when you crave some good ol’ American cooking- the real deal.
Yokohama truly has so much to offer.
Although it gets crowded- especially on weekends– it still doesn’t compare to the busyness Tokyo brings.
Let us help you get into a dream house or apartment, to experience why the locals are proud to call Yokohama home. Contact us at Apts.jp, and we will be more than happy to show you some listings and recommend areas in this urban city called Yokohama (actually, we’ll probably first recommend the above locations, because we’re fans 🙂 ).