Yokohama City, the second largest city in Japan, is located 30 km south of Tokyo along the western side of Tokyo Bay. Some half-dozen rail connections, expressways and streets connect the two urban areas. Unlike Tokyo, Yokohama is an actual city and is the capital of Kanagawa Prefecture.
Tokyo and its surrounding cities like Yokohama are often considered as being part of an unofficial metropolitan area with a population of around 41 million people.
Modern Yokohama City owes its existence to Japan's isolationist policies during the Edo period (1603-1868). Forced by western nations to open select ports to trade and commerce, Japan choose a sleepy fishing village called Yokohama rather than have it nearer Tokaido (now Tokyo). Yokohama quickly grew in significance with its new status as the main international port of Japan and many people from abroad came to live in the Kannai district. Japan's first English newspaper was published here and the first railway was built to connect it and Shinbashi in Tokyo.
Yokohama is less than 30 minutes by train from Shinagawa Station in Tokyo. Yokohama's main tourist attractions are located besides the ocean in its historic districts to the east of Yokohama Station.
The most scenic portion of Tokyo Bay stretches from Minato Mirai 21 to the historic port area of Kannai and beyond to the old western residences quarter in the hills overlooking the bay. A full day is recommended to see the full length. The traditional (and one of the first tourist destinations in Japan) is
Yokohama is connected to Tokyo by numerous train lines. From most places in Tokyo, it is fastest to go to JR Shingawa Station via the Yamanote Line and take an express train to Yokohama from there.
From Shibuya, the express trains on the Tokyu Toyoko Line are the fastest way to reach Yokohama. It takes just over 30 minutes on the express trains to go between Shibuya and Yokohama. This line was extended to make the Minato Mirai Line which makes it a convenient line to take if you're going sightseeing.
Yokohama Station is a major stop on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line. This line terminates in Tokyo but extends all along western Honshu with stations at all major cities along the south coast. At Tokyo Station, all passengers must transfer to another train.
Posted: April 17, 2011 Updated: February 21, 2015