Yokohama (Part II)
It's nice waking up early and getting around to exploring the town when no one is awake. Yokohama is such a scenic area to walk around, and it reminds me very much of San Diego in the sense that it's surrounded by water with so many connected gateways to get across to different parts of the city. The guys and I wanted to get up around 6 AM to go to the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse. I really didn't know what to expect from the outside looking in because this warehouse definitely stands out compared to the rest of the buildings around the Yokohama area, but wow... I could spend all day here. Inside the building, there are many unique shops and restaurants. I think there are around 40 shops that have very unique concepts. You can feel close to the ocean from the open cafes, restaurants, food court and variety goods shop on the first floor.
The second floor has many characteristic interior, jewelry and variety goods shops. More restaurants, cafes and bars can be found on the third floor. The cafe “Chano-ma” themed on “21st century tea room”, and “bills” famous for “the best breakfast in the world” are especially popular. Even though it was enticing to explore this entire facility, the first floor alone was enough to satisfy what we wanted for an early brunch. We passed by an Omu-rice restaurant that was prepping them in minutes time. There was even an exhibit window where you could watch your meal being prepared right in front of you. How can you say no to that?
After we ate, the Cup Noodles Museum was within walking distance... so we decided to check it out. It's hard to believe that you can devote an entire museum the size of the Guggenheim to Cup of Noodles, but when you're in Japan, I guess nothing should ever surprise you.
This place contains so many detailed exhibits based off of the history of its origins, the founder Momofuku Ando, as well as an entire display of cup noodles throughout the decades as well as flavor variations. Once you've paid the 500 yen admission fee, you're allowed access to the first three floors that contain exhibits, artwork, and even an audio guided tour with an introductory animated film. The entire mission statement is focused on never giving up, even when you've failed. Momofuku Ando went bankrupt several times throughout the course of his life and just so happened to come across the instant ramen invention that changed his life forever. I had a blast walking around and seeing everyone enjoy making their own Cup of Noodles on the floor where you can customize your own cup.
There's even a Cup Noodles playground where kids can run around and play with Cup Noodle paraphernalia. Crazy, huh? If you find yourself in the Yokohama area, I would highly suggest paying this place a visit.
Around the Cup Noodles Museum is an amusement park and shopping center that we spent most of the afternoon walking through. The guys wanted to get on some of the rides and get their adrenaline rushes up since we had made it through most of the day on very little sleep. I decided to forgo the rides since it was freezing out, but regardless, it looked really fun!
The one building that you can't ignore if you're in the Yokohama area is the Yokohama Landmark Tower. The building contains a five-star hotel which occupies floors 49-70, with 603 rooms in total.
The lower 48 floors contain shops, restaurants, clinics, and offices. On the 69th floor there is an observatory, Sky Garden, from which you can see a 360-degree view of the city. There's an admission fee of 600 yen to get to the 69th floor, so just be prepared for that. I would recommend it if you're into scenic views and taking pictures of cityscapes. They also have a gift shop full of Landmark Tower souvenirs and pastries and a bar that sells amazing coffee and drinks. Take advantage of it if you find yourself on this floor.
Around the hotel that we were staying was near the Yokohama Chinatown, which was where we wanted to go around for dinner. We really wanted to try an authentic Chinese restaurant since coming to Japan because all we've been eating was Japanese/Japanese-inspired food.
It was packed with restaurants, gift shops, and street-food carts. In the evening, the night life starts to pick up and the tourists start to flock around this area. If you're around this area, you have the option to choose from the street carts that offer small bites for really cheap or you can opt for a sitdown restaurant that might be a tad more expensive. By the end of the day, we were just in the mood for a sitdown restaurant where we could relax and eat something filling. I forget where we ended up going, but they offered late night dim sum and what not... so that was the memorable part of dinner.
Tomorrow morning we leave for Yamanashi, but we need to get to Tokyo and drop our bags off. It's been fun Yokohama!