The historical gateway to Japan, multicultural Yokohama will host several important games at the 2019 Rugby World Cup this autumn, including the final. Here’s everything you need to know about this dynamic city along with some of the top things to do in Yokohama, whether you're watching the rugby or not.
As befits the city that ended Japan’s international isolation, Yokohama is also home to one of the largest Chinatowns in Asia, and a stroll around this atmospheric enclave will take in colourful gates, busy shophouses and a couple of ornately decorated temples. Further afield, the traditional gardens at Sankei-en, a half-hour bus ride from Yokohama Station, feature a collection of historic buildings from across Japan and will be in golden autumnal glory at the time of the Rugby World Cup.
A 15-minute ride on the Shinkansen west of Yokohama, Odawara Station marks the jumping-off point for Hakone, one of the most famous hot spring resorts in Japan. Relaxing in a steaming onsen is a quintessentially Japanese experience, and there are few places that do it as well as the Prince Hakone Lake Ashinoko; work your way through the indoor hot and cold baths before heading outside for an open-air dip just yards from the lakeshore.
Chinatown is packed with great places to eat, but it’s difficult to beat Edosei, whose huge steamed buns draw long lines of hungry shoppers. Try the black bean and walnut filling, or shrimp and chilli, or stick to the classic barbecue pork, all served in a soft, slightly sweet, sticky white bun.
The JNTO is the official tourism organisation of Japan. For more information on visiting Yokohama, see the Yokohama Convention & Visitors’ Bureau website; for more details on the Rugby World Cup 2019, including how to get tickets to matches at the International Stadium Yokohama, see rugbyworldcup.com.
Top image: Kwan Tai Temple in Yokohama's Chinatown © Mihai-Bogdan Lazar/Shutterstock