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A mere 30 minutes south of Tokyo by train, futuristic Yokohama is a buzzing port city. It's known for lively shopping areas and quirky museums (including the interactive Cup Noodles Museum, where you can discover the story of instant ramen), skyscrapers along the seafront and serene classical gardens. There's lots to see here, from the largest Chinatown in Japan to a cutting-edge arts and music scene. At night, its harbour and nightlife areas are ablaze with neon lights.
Yokohama hostels are sprinkled through the centre. They include a traditional wooden house in Minato Mirai, contemporary digs in the heart of Chinatown, and cosy accommodation with colourful hand-painted décor and a roof terrace in Kotobuki. You'll always find free Wi-Fi in a Yokohama hostel, and the city's extensive public transport system means that it's easy to get around wherever you stay. Many hostels have a self-catering kitchen or lounge space where you can relax, and some run regular social events like film nights and dinner trips.
Some of Yokohama's most famous neighbourhoods are located along the city's seafront. Minato Mirai (which literally means "future port") is home to the Yokohama Museum of Art, a Ferris wheel and upscale nightlife options. Head south for Chinatown and scenic Harbour View Park, behind which you'll find the European-flavoured Motomachi shopping street. Shop 'til you drop in the bustling streets around Yokohama station, or get a glimpse of local life at Yokohama Bashi Shotengai, a covered market with fresh local produce and street food.
Top sights in Yokohama include the 69-floor-high Sky Garden observation deck at Landmark Tower. On a clear day, it has views as far as Mount Fuji. You can explore the city's cultural side with a stroll through the traditional Sankeien Garden, or by catching a musical drama performance at the Yokohama Noh Theatre. If you'd prefer a more contemporary experience, take a free tour of the Kirin brewery, or try out the rides at the Cosmo World amusement park.
You can reach Yokohama from either one of Tokyo's two airports; by train, it's around 1 hour 45 minutes from Narita and 1 hour 15 minutes from Haneda (this involves a change at Kamata with a 20-minute walk between stations), and by bus it's around 2 hours from Narita and 25 minutes from Haneda. From central Tokyo, the journey's even faster. Yokohama has an extensive metro and public bus network, and you can also take ferries along the waterfront, or use the city's Community Cycle bike-sharing service.