Happy Friday! As temperatures have finally dropped since Typhoon Nanmadol made its way through Japan, the weather is now ideal for exploring Japan’s great outdoors by bike. Also, for those of you reading this from outside of Japan, we’re excited to let you know that the Japanese government has announced that tourists are finally allowed to enter Japan again from the 11th of October this year!
Living in the concrete centre of Yokohama, cycling southwards to Hakkeijima Sea Paradise has become one of our regular routes. The best thing about cycling down there is that you can cycle all the way on a cycle/pedestrian lane next to the harbour and seaside line, and get rewarded with relaxing on the beach as soon as you reach Hakkeijima Marine Park!
In our latest video, we’ve filmed our favourite spots around Hakkeijima in Yokohama and also explored a few new sights ourselves, including hiking up Mount Nojima for great panorama views and the nearby historic Japanese house that you can visit for free.
On this map, we’ve highlighted all our favourite spots and here’s a quick synopsis of why you should visit each of these places next time you’re in Yokohama!
Yokohama Nanbu Market
This newly refurbished market makes the perfect place to stop on the way down from Yokohama’s city centre to Hakkeijima. Explore the different stalls selling fresh sushi, sweets, tea and other delicacies. While most shops sell to-go only, you can also rest and eat in some of them. Our 3 favourite shops at Yokohama Nanbu Market are a tea shop for buying high quality Japanese tea as souvenirs; a Chinese dumpling shop; and a taiyaki (sweet fish-shaped waffle) store. In addition to eating, you can also park your bike here for free for as long as you want and enjoy the sea views.
Hakkeijima Marine Park
While not particularly recommended for swimming, Hakkeijima’s Marine Park is a great spot for unwinding or playing sports on the beach. Some people come in groups and have a private bbq as there’s plenty of space by the beach. In August, Hakkeijima hosts an absolutely stunning fireworks display creating a special atmosphere where you can enjoy sitting on the sand while watching the fireworks dazzling over the ocean! We were fortunate to watch it in 2019, but alas it has been cancelled again this year due to Covid measures… One more tip: bring your own food & drink or buy ice cream and a limited range of drinks from the vending machines by Hakkeijima station.
Mount Nojima & Observatory
This has been one of the best hidden gems that we’ve discovered locally this year! Mount Nojima has two access points, one by several flights of stairs and one by a more accessible sloped path. I’d recommend parking your bike on the bottom of the hill as it’s quite a steep climb. Once you’ve arrived on the top after a 10-15-minute walk, you can either just recline on one of the benches in the shade under the trees; or climb up just a few more steps onto the observatory deck for breathtaking views! (Or, if you live in another country and cannot visit, simply watch our video to see the views from the comfort of your home :-))
Hirobumi Ito’s Old Villa
According to Tripadvisor (does anyone still use that these days?), Hirobumi Ito’s Old Villa is only #118 out of 955 things to see in Yokohama, however, for me it’s easily one of the top 20! This historic Japanese house by the ocean surrounded by a serene garden, makes for a quaint little day trip. The best thing about it is that it’s free of charge to visit, you can learn about Japanese culture & history and it seems to be free of crowds. Bonus tip: If you visit the garden villa between April and early May, you can see 200 colourful peonies in bloom!
To summarise, if you would like to explore hidden gems in Yokohama, cycle on Yokohama’s best cycling route, enjoy sea views, explore culture and other sightseeing activities for free, then this day trip would be my number one recommendation!
Similar travel guides you might be interested in: