When tourist or other gaijin think of a great time in Tokyo their first instinct is to hit the streets of Harajuku, Shibuya, Shinjuku or Roppingi.
What about those who want an authentic Japanese experience full of culture and traditions? I mean why go across the world to do the things you could be doing at home? Why not immerse yourself in the culture of the country you visit?
My first stop in Yokohama was The Great Buddha of Kamakura. (鎌倉大仏, Kamakura Daibutsu) is a bronze statue of Amida Buddha completed in 1252.
Though I am not a follower of Buddhist. The art and history of temples, shrines, and statues is trip worth sitting on the strain for an hour or so. I was in awe to be standing in front of something built in 1252. An ancient piece of art that ancient and still standing. Wow is al I could say. The pictures do not do it justice. It was huge
Sure Tokyo is known for great nightlife, bright lights and shopping. But what about those who do not want to drink or shop?
Well, likeminded friends, there is a place in Japan just for you. Less than an hour from Tokyo is an adventure towards the road less traveled. Introducing!!!! Yokohama Chinatown.
Located in central Yokohama, 横浜中華街, Yokohama Chūkagai represents the Chinese culture of Asia. The entire strip is saturated in a melting pot of Asian culture. Are they Japanese are they Chinese, you may ask yourself. Either way, walking down the strip full of restaurants, quaint shops, and authentic attire is a step away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.
Once you entire the brightly lit opulent colored gates you are immediately immersed in Chinese culture. While you walk you can hear traditional Chinese instruments as well as locals advertising and gesturing customers towards their business. It may be overwhelming to have people catcalling you, but I promise you will not be disappointed. Expect good service, moderately
priced items (for Japan) and even better food.
The food is the best part. There are several steamed buns stands, bubble tea shops, ramen and our personal favorite, buffets.
We had a 90 min buffet. The menu was not in English nor was the service. However, after awhile the language barrier is not a problem. Many restaurants are digital and we ordered food via the tablet. The food is brought out as we ordered.
Some weirdo stopped to ask for our photo. I say he was weird because after the photo he says "tip." I guess he thought we were dumb tourist. Friends I do not even let the hustle in Times Square dupe me so I am not sure what san was thinking, but We replied with a "Daijobu desu,
( I'm fine). This is not a common incident, but be weary of anyone strange.
We ended out Yokohama trip at Cosmo World. If you think Chinatown was lit, well step into Yokohama Cosmo World. It contains the Cosmo Clock 21, formerly the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. We enjoyed a round of ping pong along the way (see video), photos along the river, and. lastly we rode a roller coaster.
If you are worried about getting lost no need to worry. Most police stations offer help with directions. Plus most visitor/tourist station attendants speak English.
The closest stations to Yokohama Chinatown are Motomachi-Chukagai Station along the Minato Mirai Line (8 minutes, 220 yen from Yokohama Station) and Ishikawacho Station along the JR Negishi Line (7 minutes, 160 yen from Yokohama Station).