Seaside Walkway in Yokohama
Yamashita Park is a public space providing a walkway along Yokohama Bay. With a panoramic view on the port and Minato Mirai 21 area, its lawns welcome picnics and the viewing of the seasonal flowerings. In front of the park, the Hikawa Maru ocean liner is opened to the visit, as well as the Yokohama Marine Tower.
Yamashita Park in Yokohama was created in the wake of 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, as this part of the port of Yokohama was used to dump the rubles caused by the disaster. Then, the city decided to bury the place and cover it with sand and earth to arrange one of the first seaside public parks in Japan. Opened in 1930, Yamashita Park was later requisitioned by the U.S. Army for about 15 years at the end of World War II. The green space was returned to the municipality in the 1960s and was given a layout close to what can be seen today.
The park is accessible by metro, but also very easily walking from Minato Mirai 21 in the north or Chukagai in the west. A small plaza is home to a water tower, whose structure is inspired from Indian architecture, as a tribute to the victims, especially the Indian ones, of 1923’s earthquake. Street artists may sometimes perform nearby.
Picnic area and sea breeze
A large lawn welcomes strollers for a well-deserved break on the grass, under the shade of trees in summer or a beautiful sun in autumn 🍁. Families and groups of friends gather here mainly on the weekend, in a laid-back and joyful ambiance. Those who prefer keeping walking can go to the seaside, where many benches are awaiting, facing the blue water of Yokohama Bay and offering an unobstructed view on the huge structure of the freeway’s Bay Bridge.
Yamashita Park is also blossoming with flowerbeds, especially the rose 🌹 garden mirai no bara-en (未来のバラ園) with 2,000 roses of 160 different species that are in bloom almost all year round. The heart of the rose garden displays a small fountain ornamented with a statue of a deity guardian of water, offered by the City of San Diego in the United States.
Hikawa Maru liner and Marine Tower
At the end of Yamashita Park, the huge ocean liner Hikawa Maru has been permanently berthed since the 1960s. Built in 1929, her name derives from the great Hikawa-jinja shrine located in Omiya, Saitama City in the north of Tokyo. She was used as a passengers liner between Yokohama and Seattle until 1941, then as a military hospital during World War II. Nowadays, the Hikawa Maru is a museum and has been designated Important Cultural Property of Japan.
On the inland side, Yokohama Marine Tower offers an urban observation facility culminating at 106 meters altitude, that underwent recent renovations in April 2022. Note that wedding ceremonies are frequently held at the top of the tower and public access might be restricted to the lower floor, where it is still possible to enjoy the panoramic view on the port and the bay.
Lastly, we recommend going at the pier behind Yamashita Park to visit the Gundam Factory, operating until March 2024, where visitors are welcomed by a giant, 18 meters high mecha (メカ), the Moving Gundam.