Minato-Mirai 21: A Beauty Meant to be observed

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Last week, I briefly explored the past of Minato-Mirai 21. It only makes sense to talk about what Minato-Mirai 21 is right now. Accessible by both the Minato-Mirai Station on the Minato-Mirai Line and the Sakuragicho Station on Keihin-Tohoku Line, it is known as the port city of the 21st century. Interestingly, if you want, you can also take a short boat ride from Yokohama Station to come here. It costs somewhere between 700 yen – 420 yen for an adult.1Minato-Mirai is an adventure on which you cannot stop your feet from craving for more. It has small parks, classic stores, name brands, food courts, brand restaurants, amusement park, and shopping malls. It is hard to get used to the ocean view from the skyline of the Landmark Tower and Queen’s Square Yokohama.Standing at 296 meters since 1993, the Landmark Tower is what the name suggests; the most recognizable feature here at Minato-Mirai. At the time of its opening, it was the tallest building and had the highest observatory deck in Japan. Although not at the top, it is still the second tallest building and the fourth tallest structure in Japan. The Sky Garden on its 69th floor is Landmark Tower’s most prominent feature. At a height of 273 meters, the observatory deck allows for a 360 view up to 80 kilometers. It means, on a clear day, there is a good chance of seeing the whole city of Yokohama, Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, and even Mt. Fuji.2The Landmark Tower also has the fastest elevator in Japan. You can get to the Sky Garden from the 2nd floor in just 40 seconds. That is 750 meters per minute. Not surprisingly, this perk comes with a small admission fee of 1,000 yen for adults. However, a bar, souvenir shop, and a lounge are there to make it worthwhile. Other than this observatory deck, the Landmark Tower also features offices, a hotel, a shopping mall, a multipurpose hall, and the Dockyard Garden. Being attached to the Yokohama Royal Park Hotel, and an easy eight (8) minute walk from the train station, this is an easy shopping mall to spend a few hours in. Its easily affordable dining options and mid-range stores make it perfectly suitable for all types of families.5Another most noticeable feature of Minato-Mirai is the Cosmo World Ferris Wheel. Together with the Landmark Tower, this will definitely the mental image that you will forever have of Minato-Mirai and even Yokohama for that matter. Combined with the amusement park, it is an ideal place for family outing. Moreover, it is far cheaper as you would only pay for the rides you get on. Depending on age, the price falls somewhere between 300 yen to 700 yen.3The Red Brick Warehouses is another feature worth mentioning. It is one of the major shopping centers in the Minato-Mirai area. These were originally port buildings that were used for customs inspections. Unlike most of the other buildings, they were renovated to hold numerous unique stores, restaurants, theatre/concert space, and multipurpose space. Between the two buildings is a big open space that is used for various occasions - ice ring during winter, fashion shows during spring, omatsuri during summer, etc. The area around the warehouses is also appealing. Since it is located right next to the sea, it has a fantastic scenario, perfect for picnics or spending time either sitting or walking around.Lastly, the Terminal Yokohama. Winning many architectural awards, it challenged the limited role of public infrastructure project. However, it took an investment of almost $216 million in today’s currency, and a competition of 660 architectural model entries to come up with the innovative public structure that Terminal Yokohama is. The view from its observatory deck is my personal favorite and something that no other feature in Japan has able to surpass yet.4There are many other popular destinations that haven’t been mentioned. It only proves one thing – Minato-Mirai is unlike any other location one can visit in and around Tokyo. Its beauty cannot be fully described in words. It is only meant to be observed.by Khalid Saifullah