Lying south of Tokyo but part of the large eastern conurbation in the Kanto region lies Japan's second largest city Yokohama. With over 3.6 million people, Yokohama has an identity of its own separate from Tokyo as well as having local ties to its neighbor.
Yokohama started as the main center of foreign trade in the mid to late 1800's, and had the first English newspapers and many western influences.
Surviving earthquakes and bombings, Yokohama has grown to be a Japanese destination in its own right. It is a very modern city with its own unique attractions. With close proximity to Tokyo, many of Yokohama's northern wards can be reached in as little as 7-8 minutes on a train from Tokyo's more southern wards. The main areas of Yokohama can be reached on several train lines from Tokyo, such as the Tokyu Toyoko line from Tokyo's Shibuya ward in 31 minutes on the express.
Yokohama has several places worth visiting. Japan's largest Chinatown is here. Very touristy but not quite the chaos of New York City's Chinatown, for example. Minato Mirai 21 is the harbor area. It is full of fantastic malls and restaurants and a great observation deck at Landmark Tower, the tallest building in Japan. Those with kids will enjoy Cosmo World, a local amusement park with one of the worlds largest Ferris wheels. Motomachi Shopping district has a unique history dating back to the foreigners who influenced the area. The Yamate area is nearby with historical western dwellings as well as a foreigners cemetery. Yamashita park is popular with locals as fireworks and many festival activities culminate here. There are many local shopping districts popular with many other Asian nationals. Yokohama has its own nightlife separate from Tokyo as well as pro baseball and soccer teams. Zoorasia in central Yokohama is the largest Zoo in the region with wide spaces for kids.
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