Sunday, May 3, 2009

Yokohama Port Festival and Parade at Minato Mirai 21

We took the MWR tour to Yokohama Port Festival yesterday. We had a lot of fun! My friend Laura and her son Gabe also was on the tour! Gabe is four and it is always nice to go to a parade with a four-year-old!

The Yokohama Port is where the Minato Mirai 21 is located. Minato Mirai is supposed to mean "Port of the Future". 21 is for "21st century". It is a wonderful place to be. They have upscale shopping, dining, entertainment, office buildings, sports, etc, etc, etc! The tallest building is the Landmark Tower which I have written about in past blogs. If you've read my past blogs, than you already know that this is one of my favorite areas in Japan.

Landmark Tower is located in Queen's Square Center. This is many buildings that make up the complex and they are all connected on the lower floors. There is shopping and restaurants galore. I think there is 3 or 4 floors of shopping. You can find Tiffany's, Harrods, Mikimoto and many, many more very upscale stores. However, there are lots of other affordable stores as well. There is a very nice book store there that you may find an English title you've been looking for.
They have Starbuck's Coffee and ColdStone Creamery and lots of other restaurants you may have heard of. There are very good Japanese, Italian and other food restaurants that you can try.
On this trip we didn't stay inside Queen's Square except to have lunch at Hard Rock Cafe. YUM! When you venture out the back of Landmark Tower walking the opposite direction of the Yokohama Art Museum, there is amusements galore to be found. You will see Yokohama Bay and bordering the Bay is famous YAMASHITA Park. It is a beautiful park. There is a statue there that was given to Yokohama by the City of San Diego in 1960. There are other statues and beautiful flowers in the park.

Near the park you can find Cosmo World amusement park where the great ferris wheel is and a roller coaster and a water ride. Beside Cosmo World is a children's amusement park that is very cute. I don't recall the name of it. Beside all of that is Nippon Maru Park which has the Tall Ship that you can explore. In Between you can find two different (that I saw, may be more) paddle boat areas.

If you walk through Yamashita Park and then turn right, you will come to the gate of Chinatown. It was a beautiful GATE!!!! China Town was very crowded yesterday, so we didn't get to explore very much. I did find a gorgeous chinese dress/coat for Dolly. It is Pink with Gold trim. The pink part has different colored embroidery all over it. I will take a pic later! It is adorable!

It was too crowded to eat in China Town. Before we went over to China Town, we watched most of the parade. The parade was very much like large American parades. They had school Marching Bands with costumes and arrangements like the states, Camp Zama Army Band was in it (US BAND), dance troupes, floats (the beer company one was my favorite, it was too funny!), traditional Japanese floats including a geisha girl and drummers, dragons, and of course, Miss Yokohama! This is the 150th anniversary of the opening of Yokohama Port so it was quite a festive atmosphere!

There was a whole area that had vendors and exhibits, but we just didn't have time to go there. The crowds were too large. We will go back and explore some more! We all had a good time and our feet HURT!

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