Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Yokohama 横浜: Day 1 ♡

As a port city, Yokohama was one of the first places in Japan to be opened to foreigners. It is thus a very modern city with a lot of foreign influences. My top must-see would be the gorgeous night view of the bay area (Minatomirai)! ♡ Shimmering water and colorful illuminations, what's not to love?

Caught a view of the beautiful sunrise over the bay from our hotel, Pan Pacific Yokohama Bay Tokyu. 
The sail-shaped building is the Intercontinental Hotel.

 The view a few hours later ♡
Our hotel was right opposite the Cosmo Clock 21, the world's largest clock!
It's also a Ferris wheel, which we rode on the 3rd day.
At night, the wheel is illuminated, changing to a variety of colors and patterns as it rotates.

 Breakfast! ♡
Took this shot just to test out the portrait lens I borrowed^^

Started the morning at Sankeien 三渓園, a landscape garden founded in 1906 by silk merchant Hara Sankei. Depending on the time of the year, different flowers bloom/leaves change color, presenting a different look every season.

The traditional garden is a stark contrast to the modernity of foreign-influenced Yokohama, and is a must to visit if you want to see something more traditional and historical in Yokohama. 

The garden features 17 old buildings which were specially brought in from Kyoto, Kamakura and other parts of Japan. They are not replicas, but the original thing! The buildings were brought in block by block and reassembled.

During the Mid-Autumn festival there is a moon-viewing session (tsukimi 月見), where the tower in the picture is illuminated, and the full moon shines brightly behind it. There are also musical performances by traditional Japanese instruments and ensembles.

Offerings for the full moon, which was that weekend. 

 Trying my hand at making matcha ♡
At Sankeien, you can experience sado 茶道, the tea ceremony.
Mix too much and the tea becomes bitter.
Mix too little and it ends up a tad bland.

Good tea is best left to the pros! ♡

After the garden was lunch!
Beef hotpot at Araiya 荒井屋, which has been around since 1895!

Beef hotpot, succulent and juicy! ♡ 


Another type of beef hotpot with yanagawa! 

After lunch was the Cupnoodles Museum, conveniently located in the Minatomirai area. Recently opened, here you can learn about the history of cup noodles, instant noodles and even try your hand at making them! ♡

Also, you can soak up the spirit of invention. Age is not a limiting factor! Ando Momofuku, the founder of Nissin (that instant noodle company) invented instant noodles when he was 48, cup noodles when he was 61, and Space Ram (instant noodles for outer space) when he was 95! 

Cute mascot, the chicken in chicken ramen^^

Donning my apron and chicky bandana, getting ready to make chicken ramen! ♡

That's right, making it from scratch!

Kneading the dough...
After that came the tiring part, rolling the dough through the flattener. 
Keep rolling until it's of even thickness, then cut them into 20cm strands.
They're then mixed together to form 100g balls and put into a fryer.

The finished product! ♡

The whole process takes about 45 minutes. 
You get to design your own packaging too!
They'll put in the finished ramen and seal it for you. 
After that, just eat it like any instant noodle - boil in hot water for 3 minutes and serve!

Also tried our hand at creating our own flavors of cup noodles! 
You design the cup, choose from 4 soup bases, and pick up to 4 ingredients to be added in.

Guess what my flavor was? 

 "Delicious Seafood"
Can't go wrong with seafood!

For dinner we headed over to the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum 新横浜ラーメン博物館.
The venue features a collection of ramen stores from all over Japan, decorated to a theme of the past.
You can see drinks in glass bottles and nostalgic childhood candy.

(By the way, the name is indeed "raumen" not "ramen"! Apparently the domain name "ramen" was taken, so they decided to use "raumen" instead!^^ Their website is http://raumen.co.jp/home/index.html)

Shoyu (soy sauce) ramen from Kamome Shokudou.
The four main ramen soup bases are miso, shio (salt), shoyu and tonkotsu (pork bone).

Tsukemen, eaten something like soba, where you dip the noodles into the soup!
The soup for tsukemen is more saturated than normal ramen, so you're not meant to drink it!
I believe you'd find it rather salty and slightly overwhelming ^^ 

The ceiling of the elevator, going up to the Sky Garden, an observatory located on the 69th floor of the Landmark Tower, Japan's tallest building. The elevator goes up to a speed of 750m/min and reaches the 69th floor in 4 seconds! No wonder it's the world's fastest elevator, you can even feel the pressure in your ears as it moves^^

One of the many nightscapes visible from the Sky Garden, which offers a panoramic view of Yokohama.
This side is of course the bay area side ♡

 In the bar, you can find a special parfait, 誰よりも君をIce
"Ice" is a pun on "愛す" (aisu), which means to love.
Dare yori mo kimi wo Ice = I love you more than anyone else.
Needless to say, the Sky Garden is a popular dating spot for couples young and old ♡

The parfait is super tall and they make only 10 per day!
Even though it's regular soft serve, it was really delicious! ♡

There's also a postcard-making machine where you can design your own postcards of yourself against the backdrop of some of Yokohama's famous landmarks. We picked the one with the Cosmo Clock 21 and Landmark Tower^^

Night view from Kokusaibashi 国際橋, a bridge.
The tallest building in the picture is Landmark Tower!


  1. The cup noodle museum looks so cute and fun =]
    Such a tall cone, how did it not fall?
    Gosh, the night views are pretty, wish my area had such views!

    1. It was soo much fun! Didn't stay that way for long; towards the end we just put it sideways on a plate and used a spoon to eat it^^ Yeah the night views were gorgeous! ♥