Here is the 2nd largest city in Japan, in fact, you cannot really see the limit between Tokyo and Yokohama as they both grew so big that it is now a huge metropolis.
Door-to-door, it takes me an hour to go there. Many metro lines in Tokyo become suburb train lines and quite a few go to Yokohama, I usually take the Namboku metro line that continues to it.
Yokohama is know for
- the shopping malls
- the bay
- the amusement park in Minato Mirail
- the stadium for large events
It is closer to Haneda than Tokyo is for most areas.
Japanese people are very close to nature and have a very tight relationship with their environment. Most of the bank holidays are related to nature (day of the mountain, day of the sea, day of the nature etc)
Among other items, they love gardens and there are the 3 most beautiful gardens of Japan to be visited once in a lifetime. I had this opportunity while in Kanazawa where is the Kenrokuen located.
I was not sure I would connect with this place as I was afraid of the crowd, potential queues, etc. I went there in the morning and really felt it was a beautiful place. Entrance fee is only Y100.- to help maintain the place. Although there were many people, it never felt crowded and, as always in Japan, people were so respectful that you could still enjoy the silence and peace of the place. a must if you are in the region!!
There was a photo shooting as we were wandering there, it was so cute,
One funny thing, Kanazawa is known to be the golden city, people like gold here and many things are made of gold (even ice creams). I was therefore amused to see that the mushrooms look golden over here!
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Here is the 2nd largest city in Japan. Both Tokyo and Yokohama have grown so big that they are attached now. Door-to-door, it takes me 1h15 to go to Minatomirail where the amusement park is, the large Queen’s mall. It is a nice day out on the seaside, overlooking the Yokohama bay
Kanazawa is located 2h40 north west of Tokyo with the shinkansen. Many people call it the “small Kyoto” although locals would challenge this. they tell you that Kyoto is about Emperors while Kanazawa is about Samourai.
This city is not hitted as hard by earthquakes and has suffered as much from the wars therefore you can still find a lot of wooden houses and traditional constructions, along with shrines and monuments, plenty of tiny streets. It is very touristic. I found a lot of Europeans (French and Italian) and Americans (Canada and US) and hardly any Chinese or Koreans which is unusual these days in Japan.
The city is known for the glass, they cut glass in a beautiful way, it became also a trademark as some corporations produce glass for the industry with very tech-saavy methods and the city has become a hot spot for automotive and aviation industries who come here for some of their tools.
Kanazawa is also known as the city of gold. you can even buy golden ice creams!! as you can see below, ice cream with a thin golden sheet over it, very funny (but tasteless)
Shinkansen started operating to Kanazawa a couple of years ago, and, since, it made a huge difference, the number of visitors had a boom and hotels are popping up like mushrooms. It had a massive and positive economical impact although the city feels a bit packed at times because of this.
The Ginza area is a hot spot if you want to show off, go shopping and buy luxury goods, a lot of department stores are regrouped there, there is even a metro stop called after one of them (Mitsukoshi mae).
Just like the Boulevard Haussmann in Paris, it took a massive fire at the end of the XIX century for an architect to redesign the area. gradually it became the place to be seen for the Tokyoites until the great earthquake in 1923. The area, guess what, was rebuilt one more time and again regained its fame for nice buildings, high end shopping.
After the war, the reputation came back and nowadays, Ginza is packed with Chinese tourists coming for luxury goods, so much so that restrictions are in place in most shops that the Japanese themselves can get access and stock of those, should they want to buy any.
Nightlife is trendy there, although very expensive. however, if you go down the avenue towards Shimbashi, then, it becomes food paradise, plenty of izakaya, all types of bars and cafes. Ginza Corridor for brasseries, oyster bars, etc.