Minato Mirai 21 (みなとみらい 21) is a seaside urban area in central Yokohama whose name means "harbor of the future". It has many large high-rises, including the Landmark Tower, which was Japan's tallest building from 1993 until 2014. The area was a large shipyard until the 1980s, when development began to turn it into a new city center.
Minato Mirai is blessed with a great location along the water and has a wealth of attractions. Visitors to the area will be able to find shopping centers, hotels, a convention center, an amusement park, a relaxation center with hot spring baths, museums and park space.
Located along the waterfront, the buildings of the Minato Mirai Chuo district ("central district") form the distinctive skyline of Yokohama. At 296 meters, the Landmark Tower is the most recognizable feature. The three Queen's Towers are located beside, each one being a little shorter than the next, followed by the Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu and the Pacifico convention center, one of the largest in Japan, which includes the rounded Intercontinental Hotel. The district extends inland, where redevelopment is still ongoing.
Connected to the Chuo district, across from the Pacifico, is a large man made island which constitutes the Minato Mirai Shinko District ("new harbor district"). The most recognizable feature of the island is the Cosmo World Ferris Wheel, which displays the time and was for a period the world's largest clock.
There are many options for entertainment in the area. The Landmark Tower has an observatory on its 69th floor called the Sky Garden. The Cosmo World amusement park is spread out along the waterfront beside the Queen's Towers and on the man made island of the Shinko District, and offers both exciting roller coasters and attractions for kids. For more sedate entertainment there is the Manyo Club, a great place for relaxation.
Sky Garden Observatory
Hours: 10:00 to 21:00 (until 22:00 on Saturdays) Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time. Admission: 1000 yen
Located 273 meters in the air, the Landmark Tower's Sky Garden is one of the highest observatories in the country. The elevator that takes visitors up to the observatory was the fastest in the world when it was built. There is a bar at the observatory with impressive views of the surrounding area.
Hours: 11:00 to 20:00 (longer on weekends and in summer, shorter in winter) Closed: Most Thursdays (see calendar) Admission: No entrance fee, attractions cost 300-900 yen each
The Cosmo World amusement park has a handful of roller coaster rides, carnival attractions, a kid's zone and a large Ferris wheel that doubles as a clock. In the evening the park is illuminated, and adds to the night view of the city.
Hours: Always open Closed: No closing days Admission: 2750 yen (many services require additional fees)
The Manyo Club is a spa and relaxation center, offering hot spring baths with water brought in daily by truck from the Izu Peninsula. Paid services include acupuncture, foot pressure therapy and various styles of massage. Other services include restaurants, internet access and relaxation rooms.
Minato Mirai offers a wide range of shopping opportunities to visitors. The Landmark Plaza and Queen's Towers have many floors filled with the typical sorts of shops and restaurants that one would expect to find at shopping malls. On the man made island in the Shinko district, shoppers will find a more unique selection of goods at the World Porters Mall and Red Brick Warehouses.
Hours: Most shops open 11:00 to 20:00 (most restaurants until 22:00) Closed: No regular closing days
Queen's Square is located in the lower floors of the three Queen's Towers. They offer a variety of shops and restaurants, including various well known brand stores. The Minato Mirai Station is located in the basement.
Hours: Most shops open 11:00 to 20:00 (most restaurants until 22:00) Closed: No closing days
The Landmark Plaza is located just beside Queen's Square and is located adjacent to the Landmark Tower. The five floors of the Landmark Plaza feature a similar variety of shops and restaurants to those found in the Queen's Towers, including a Pokemon Center on the 4th floor.
Hours: Most shops open 10:30 to 21:00 (restaurants from 11:00 to 23:00) Closed: Two irregular closing days per year
The World Porters Mall has six floors, with each one dedicated to a certain theme. From the ground floor up, they are food, fashion, sports and hobby, home and living, broadway (cinema), relaxation and interiors. The broadway floor has a movie theater and amusement center. The food floor includes an extensive supermarket.
Red Brick Warehouses
Hours: Most shops open 10:00 to 20:00 (restaurants open longer) Closed: No closing days
The Red Brick Warehouses (akarenga soko in Japanese) used to serve the area when it was a port, but have since been converted. They now offer a unique atmosphere for shopping. The two buildings have a number of shops that offer interesting products, as well as some restaurants and floorspace dedicated to events and exhibitions.
Marine & Walk Yokohama
Hours: 11:00 to 20:00 (restaurants until 23:00) Closed: No closing days
Marine & Walk Yokohama is a pleasant open-air shopping mall along the waterfront with trendy boutiques and food options. Using red bricks, the complex' design blends in nicely with the nearby historic warehouses.
There are several museums in the Minato Mirai district, including the municipal art gallery and museums on the port of Yokohama, shipping, industry and technology.
Nippon Maru and Yokohama Port Museum
5 minute walk from Minato Mirai and Sakuragicho Stations Hours: 10:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30) Closed: Mondays (or following day if Monday is a holiday), December 29 to 31 Admission: 400 yen for either museum, 600 yen for both
Built in 1930, Nippon Maru is a retired sailing ship that is permanently docked at Minato Mirai and is open to the public. Across from the ship is the Yokohama Port Museum, a recently remodeled museum that has a History Zone illustrating the port's entire history and a Rediscovery Zone which illustrates broader marine topics.
10 minute walk from Minato Mirai and Sakuragicho Stations Hours: 10:00 to 18:00 (entry until 17:00) Closed: Tuesdays (or following day if Tuesday is a holiday), New Year holidays Admission: 500 yen (workshops extra)
This fun museum follows the history of instant noodles with interactive exhibits, modern art and hands on experiences. For a small fee visitors can design their own cup noodles or make instant ramen noodles from scratch (reservations required). There is also a food court that serves noodle dishes from around the world.
Yokohama Museum of Art
5 minute walk from Minato Mirai Station Hours: 10:00 to 18:00 (entry until 17:30) Closed: Thursdays (or following day if Thu is a holiday), New Year holidays Admission: 500 yen (does not include special exhibitions)
The Museum has seven galleries; three for displaying works from the permanent collection, one for photography, and three for special exhibitions (four per year). The museum focuses on contemporary art as well as Yokohama itself, the city, its role as a port, and its artists.
Mitsubishi Minatomirai Industrial Museum
5 minute walk from Minato Mirai Station Hours: 10:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30) Closed: Tuesdays (or following day if Tuesday is a holiday), New Year holidays Admission: 500 yen
The museum has six zones: space, ocean, transportation, daily life discovery, environment and technology quest. The present and future of each zone's theme is presented, with many interactive elements like computer simulators. The museum seems generally geared towards kids.
Getting there and around
The most central station is Minato Mirai Station on the Minato Mirai Line, which is located in the basement of Queen's Square and is two stations from Yokohama Station (3 minutes, 190 yen).
Minato Mirai is also easily accessed from Sakuragicho Station on the JR Negishi Line (Keihin-Tohoku Line), which is just one stop from Yokohama Station (3 minutes, 140 yen). The station is also served by the Yokohama Subway Line.
The Akaikutsu Loop Bus connects Sakuragicho Station with World Porters, the Red Brick Warehouses and other sights in central Yokohama, while the Bayside Blue Bus connects Yokohama Station with Minato Mirai and other sights in central Yokohama. They cost 220 yen per ride or 500 yen for a day pass.
Minato Mirai can also be accessed by "Sea Bass" boats. They depart from Yokohama Bay Quarter (500 meters from Yokohama Station's east exit) and stop at the Pacifico Convention Center (15 minutes, 440 yen) and the Red Brick Warehouses (25 minutes, 600 yen) before continuing on to Yamashita Park. Boats depart about once every 15 minutes, but only half of them stop at Minato Mirai, while the others travel directly to Yamashita Park.