As most of you might already know, I'm very fond of traveling and one of my favorite place to go for is Japan (Tokyo in particular). I'm still trying to live my long term goal of visiting Japan at least once a year, covering all of Japan if possible! I usually plan for my own trips, reading all sorts of information and reviews online, creating my own itinerary etc; however all the planning can be tedious without a proper direction, and I tend to skip out places with lesser reviews/less popular even though there may be some sort of hidden gems that I didn't know off.
Which is why I was very excited to attend the Japan Travel Fair last week (9th-13th November) organized by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) held in One Utama Ground Floor - Highstreet. I was very hyped up after hearing this event; I mean, what can be better than getting to know different prefectures specialty and culture from Japan, while participating in mini games for more travel goodies and discounts?
The main stage where all activities are held. Each prefectures took turns explaining about what is good to visit, and how do they differentiate themselves from other prefectures. There's even wagashi (Japanese handmade sweets) demonstration and tasting session which my Japanese colleague took much interest in.
Free Yukata experience available as well :), and you can get your photo taken and printed out for remembrance.
What grabbed my attention in this fair was a small booth promoting the city of Yokohama. To be honest I have always left Yokohama out of my travel itinerary because I couldn't find much info about the area, and it is less popular as compared to the other Japan travel hot-spots.
Look who i found! Ash from the GG Twins was the MC for the fair :)
Yokohama locals who promote at the booth were very kind, and they have spent around 20minutes explaining to me about Yokohama. And wow I was amazed and feeling all the regrets for not visiting this awesome location sooner ><.
Yokohama is actually the second largest city in Japan by population (with over a 3 million!!??), and is also known as Japan's first port of call. To me, this is probably the best place to go for a one day visit while staying in Tokyo, as it is only 30minutes away from Tokyo. This port city is suitable for travelers of all age: there's historical building, different sorts of interesting museums, awesome sceneries and even amusement park! There's no need to worry about transportation, as the railway access is as good as Tokyo.
Just to name a few attractions from Yokohama that caught my attention:
Skyline view and Sceneries
Minato Mirai 21 is the central business district of Yokohama city, and for those who are fans of skyscrapers views, you can head over to the Landmark Tower (Sky Garden observatory) located 273m from the ground - you can even see Mount Fuji and Tokyo Sky Tree from the observation deck! Get all your cameras ready XD
I may not be so much of a nature lover, but I do love beautiful parks and gardens as well~ For those who love beautiful Japanese parks, the Sankeien Garden is definitely for you. The locals recommended visiting the garden on Spring (sakura) and Autumn (maple leaves) for the best view.
Family Fun Time
For those going with family and kids, there's the Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise which is one of the most visited amusement park in Japan with an impressive aquarium. The entrance fee for Sea Paradise park area is free, so you could have a nice stroll and family picnic at the park area. Entry fee is only required for the attractions of Aqua Resorts and the rides of Pleasure Land.
Besides the aquarium, family could also bring kids to Zoorasia, currently one of Japan's newest, largest and best kept zoos. What is so special about this zoo is that the animals are kept closest to their natural habitat, spreading out among seven ecological areas: Asian Tropical Forest, Subarctic Forest, Oceanian Grassland, Central Asian Highland, Japanese Countryside, Amazon Jungle and African Tropical Rainforest.
For the bold and young
Yokohama Cosmo World!!! I'm a huge lover of theme parks so I was really excited when hearing about this. The Cosmo World amusement park has a handful of roller coaster rides, carnival attractions, and symbolizes by 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.
Shopping is the best in Japan!!! Yokohama is filled with tons of shopping malls, like the Queen's Square, Landmark Plaza, World Porters, just to name a few. Motomachi shopping district
After shopping, there's also Manyo Club, 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.
What's traveling without good food :) There are many places to hunt for awesome food, like the Shin Yokohama Ramen museum (known as the world's first food themed amusement park). You could try out all the different ramen flavors because all stores offers mini ramen with super small portion for taste.
There's actually so much more to Yokohama that I don't think I could cover in one single blog post; but for now Yokohama is definitely in my top list the next time I'm going back to Tokyo. If you want to understand more about the Kawaii (cute) and artsy aspects of Yokohama, do visit Kurumi's Blog here .
Thanks to Yokohama tourism, I got to dress up in Hakama during the fair too~
YAYYYY~ I still prefer the hakama I owned, but this one looks awesome as well! In Yokohama, there's Hakama rental service where you could rent one of these outfit and spend the day walking around in Hakama.
With the beautiful model from Amber Chia Academy. Am feeling like a potato standing with her haha.
Love the selfies taken that day >< But I do wish to put on some hair accessories to match with the outfit.
To end my blog post, I wanna express my thanks to the Yokohama tourism staffs for their time explaining to be the specialty and culture of Yokohama, I really learn a lot during that short period of time; and of course friends whom I met during the fair for bringing me around for freebies. Won't you guys give Yokohama a try when visiting Japan?