Minato Mirai 21
Yokohama’s Modern and Entertaining Port
Minato Mirai 21 is a seafront district in Yokohama on the city’s port. While many tall office buildings fill the area, the port is one of the population’s favorite destinations thanks to its numerous shopping malls, museums, and a couple of green spaces ideal for relaxation with a view on Yokohama Bay.
Whereas Yokohama is Japan’s second city in terms of population, it is still overshadowed by Tokyo when it comes to tourists who prefer taking a longer time to visit the capital. However, Yokohama is a large international city that succeeded in adapting and maintaining its attractiveness. Located on Yokohama Bay, that encompasses several artificial islands, Minato Mirai 21 business district is home to the headquarters of several big Japanese companies such as Nissan, Keikyu, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Fujisoft or Shincron, as well as to the research and development centers of Apple, Shiseido, Fuji-Xerox, Kyocera, Volkswagen, LG, etc.
Its name means "21th century port of the future" and is a reference to the city’s modernization project that started in the 1980s when the area was constructed, as well as to its historical will to always look forward to the future and beyond borders.
Business high-rises with a unique shape
The port district is reachable directly on foot, in about a 20 minutes’ walk, or faster by public transport such as subway 🚇 or bus from Yokohama JR station. Since 2021, Minato Mirai 21 is also served by Yokohama Air Cabin, an urban rope-way to ride from Sakuragicho JR station’s exit.
The district’s outstanding skyline is astonishing, with very original buildings of characteristic designs, such as:
- The massive Landmark Tower, culminating at 296 meters high and the architectural symbol of Minato Mirai 21;
- The InterContinental Yokohama Grand Hotel 🏨, looking like a 140 meter high sail;
- Queen’s Square shopping mall’s triplets buildings, the highest being 171,8 meters tall; and,
- Cosmo Clock 21 in the Cosmo World theme park, both a great Ferris wheel and a 107 meters high clock, also illuminated at nightfall.
Shopping, museums and outdoor terraces
With a focus on leisure and relaxation, Minato Mirai 21 is totally worth the detour and is a serious challenger to its Tokyo’s counterpart Odaiba. For a memorable introduction, we recommend the Sky Garden Observatory at the Landmark Tower, with a 360° panorama from the building’s 69th floor. Then walk along the seaside of Yokohama bay to visit Rinko Park and its several artistic sculptures.
The exploration of the area continues in Nippon Maru Memorial Park, harboring an impressive sail training ship built in 1930 and converted into an exhibition room. Then cross the bridges of the Kisha-michi promenade or take the Yokohama Air Cabin Ropeway to go to the islet called Shinko (新港), the "new port" gathering the trendiest entertainments:
- Cosmo World theme park and its thrilling rides in the heart of the city;
- Cup Noodles Museum Yokohama, dedicated to the inventor of the popular Cup Noodles;
- As well as several malls for shopping and restaurants, among which we recommend:
- Marine & Walk, an elegant open-air outlet;
- Hammerhead, a very modern building by the water. Its ramen 🍜 specialized restaurant is worth the detour;
- Akarenga Soko, a former red brick warehouse for customs services converted into a beautiful shopping center enlivened by seasonal events. The buildings are currently undergoing refurbishment and should reopen on winter 2022.
After leaving the artificial island, you will reach Osanbashi Terminal, the mooring pier for the humongous cruise boats sailing from the Pacific Ocean. The beautiful elevated walk on the pier gives an unobstructed view on Minato Mirai 21’s skyline.
While it is not actually in the district per se, the walk along the port continues with several sites to visit such as Yamashita Park, with a view on the impressive Bay Bridge freeway as well as on the authentic ocean liner Hikawa Maru. In another style, an 18 meters high giant moving mecha (メカ) is on display at the Gundam Factory until March 2024.
Lastly, Minato Mirai 21 is very close to the famous Chukagai, Yokohama’s Chinatown, and to the nice Motomachi Shotengai avenue, a shopping street filled of trendy shops and cafes.