Though we enjoyed our cruise, we are happy to be back on land. We will be staying 4 days in Yokohama which is where the cruise ends. Yokohama is close to Tokyo and with the excellent rail/subway system here, it will be easy to get to the place we want to visit.
Our hotel is about 2.6 km from the pier; just far enough that walking (with luggage) is impractical. Taxis in the Tokyo area are incredibly expensive; it would cost us around $25 US for that short ride. So, we planned on taking the subway. Clayton had mapped out how to get from the terminal to the subway and then to the hotel so we were all set when we debarked the ship. We figured that if it looked like too much walking, we would eat the cost of a cab. Sometimes, we can be too cheap for our own good so we wanted to leave that open as an option.
Disembarkation was quick and simple. And, to our surprise, a free shuttle to the train station was offered. What a deal! Too bad that the shuttle took us to a completely different train station than the one we had mapped out directions from. And thank goodness we have free international cell service through T-Mobile so we could regroup and find the “new” directions! It turned out that we were only one stop away from Yokohama station and that the distance to our hotel from there was only 1.3 km.
We purchased our transit passes and pre-loaded them with enough Yen to get around for a few days. We were easily able to find the correct track and since it was a Sunday morning, the train was not too crowded. We exited the train at Yokohama station. My, what an enormous train station! We diligently followed the directions Google Maps gave us – up stairs, down stairs, up and down more stairs, dragging our suitcases along, until we finally made it out of the station onto the street. We were thinking that we were being given poor guidance by Google, but it turns out that the route we took was the most direct route. At least the streets were really flat (no hills) which made the walk easier. We found our hotel and tried to check in, but it was way too early in the day.
We had already decided to spend the day in Yokohama rather than Tokyo so we dropped our luggage at the front desk and sat in the lobby to do some planning. We were staying at the Hotel Vista Premio which was a very modern looking building. The reception area was on the 20th (top) floor which was not what we were used to. I had a hankering to see Sankeien Gardens; my husband, not so much. It seemed that it was impossible to reach the gardens by train, unless you wanted to transfer to a bus or two and then walk about 15 minutes. There was a tourist bus you could take but it didn’t run on Sundays (of course it was a Sunday). I asked for help at the front desk to try to figure out the route but the receptionist’s grasp of English was too limited.
I gave up the idea of visiting the garden so we decided to just wander. We found a 3-masted sailing ship Maritime museum about 3/4 of a mile from the hotel. I also found a free museum that my husband was interested in the Yokohama Customs Museum. It was about 3/4 of a mile from where we were so we hoofed it to the museum. It was a relatively small museum and iPads with English translation were provided at each of the displays which was very helpful. Drugs and fake goods seemed to be the predominant contraband seized at the port.
We walked out the door to the museum, turned left and were surprised to find that we were right by the NCL Jewel! Next to the pier was the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse area. There were so many people walking along the path next to the water; some were in costumes. There were also booths set up between the red brick buildings; I am guessing that there was some type of walkathon event going on. Of course, the signage was all in Japanese so we really had no idea what the event was.
The day was beautiful and so many families were out enjoying the sunshine. We stopped by the CupNoodles Museum which was surprisingly busy. Continuing on, we headed to CupNoodles Park which was lined with flowering cherry trees. The park was quite serene.
There are many shopping malls in the area. Since land is at a premium, the Japanese build up, not out. So, the malls may be 8 stories tall. We stopped at one called Yokohama World Porters and grabbed lunch. After lunch we walked the remained 1.2 km back to the hotel to see if we could check in.
We had done quite a bit of walking when all was said and done. Though it wasn’t check-in time yet, we decided to hang out in the lobby until our room was ready. We were given our room about an hour ahead of time and were happy to be able to unpack and relax. We walked back to World Porters (mall) for dinner. I had spaghetti, or the Japanese interpretation thereof. It involved hot dogs. Enough said.
One interesting feature of our room is the window the bathroom. Why? I have no idea. It does give you a full view of the toilet. Now, it is a great toilet – warm water bidet, “wash the rear” feature, heated seat, but still!
Unlike the other places we have stayed, there are no English-language stations on the tv. Nor can we access most of the streaming services we can at home; they are blocked. But, there are plenty of baseball games and shopping channels to watch!