Category : travel

Autumn hike to Nojima Park Observatory

With cooler temperatures and beautiful fall foliage in Japan, autumn is one of the best times to go outside and have a walk. I decided to go to Yokohama’s Kanazawa ward to have a nice walk and go up a hill where there is an observatory overlooking the southern part of Yokohama.

Nojima Observatory

Kanazawa is like a “secret” spot in Yokohama (not to be confused with the famous Kanazawa city in Ishikawa prefecture). There are very few travelers who visit this place (e.g. most travelers go to Minato Mirai or Chinatown/Motomachi area), yet it is a beautiful place that has everything – the wonderful autumn trees, the view of Hirakata bay, the observatory on top of a hill in Nojima Park and the toylike monorail train “Seaside” line passing over the bay.

Hirakata Bay

I started my walk from Kanazawa-Hakkei Station. Kanazawa-Hakkei Station is accessible via Keikyu Lines from Tokyo’s Shinagawa Station (36 mins via express line) and from Yokohama Station (18 mins).

Kanazawa Hakkei Station

From Kanazawa-Hakkei Station, you can reach Nojima Park Observatory 40 minutes on foot which is perfect for a walking tour. For a shorter walk, you could also change to the monorail Seaside line at Kanazawa-Hakkei Station and stop at Nojimakouen station. From Nojimakouen, you can reach the observatory in roughly 15 minutes.

Kanazawa Seaside Line (Monorail)

In my case, I went to a long walk to see the monorail train passing above the beautiful Hirakata bay.

Monorail Train Passing above Hirakata Bay

Along the way, I stopped as Suzaki Park where you can sit down and watch the bay. The sound of the boats and the cool wind is just perfect for taking the time to relax or reading a book.

Suzaki Park
Suzaki Park overlooking the bay

I then walked over the Kihan bridge where you can see the monorail train (Seaside line) passing over the sea. Seaside line is an advanced (automated) train and it’s such a unique view to see nature and technology mixed together!

Kihan Bridge
View from Kihan Bridge

When entering Nojima Park, a convenient sloped path guides you toward the Nojima Observatory.

Sloped path going to Nojima Observatory
Going up towards the Observatory

And in a few minutes, you will see Nojima observatory. It looks like a satellite dish at first.

Nojima Observatory

Going closer, I can see the stairs going up to the observatory. (The observatory is free to everyone and you do not need a ticket to enter).

Stairs going to the Observation Deck

Just when I reached the observation deck, I was surprised to see the wide 360º view. The blue skies, blue sea and calm cityscape. The view was very spectacular.

Also, Mt. Fuji is visible from the observation deck! One might not see it immediately, but on a clear day, Mt. Fuji can be seen from here. Nojima Observatory is a must-see destination in Yokohama and I recommend this place to travelers.

Mt Fuji is visible from Nojima Observatory

It’s noon and on my way back to the station, I decided to have a lunch at Bakery Aoki’s Cafe, and it is located beside Kanazawa Hakkei-Station.

They serve bread, coffee, and western-inspired foods.

Now I’m full and ready to go to my next destination!

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360º View of Yokohama: Landmark Tower’s Sky Garden

Landmark Tower is Yokohama’s prime “Landmark”, and it is the highest building in Yokohama. Its observatory, “Sky Garden”, located on the 69th floor, offers you a panoramic, 360º view of the city. From here, you can see the vastness of Yokohama, Japan’s second-largest city.

Landmark Tower is also the second-highest building in Japan (4th tallest structure) and is located in Yokohama’s Minato Mirai 21 district. Minato Mirai area is also known as the “Harbor of the Future”, a futuristic region of Yokohama.

Landmark Tower: Sky Garden (69F)
220-8169 Kanagawa, Yokohama, Nishi Ward, Minatomirai, 2-2-1
Maps Link:
Access: Minato Mirai Station (~5 mins), JR Sakuragicho Station (~8 mins)

Sky Garden is conveniently accessible via an express elevator that goes directly to the 69th floor in just roughly 40 seconds! From the outside, you can easily find the entrance that leads you to this express elevator.

If you are visiting from Tokyo, you can access Landmark Tower conveniently from two stations – Sakuragicho and Minato Mirai stations. Tokyu Toyoko Line connects Minato Mirai Station to major stations in Tokyo such as Shibuya and Nakameguro, while JR’s Keihin Tohoku Line connects Sakuragicho to Tokyo’s Shinagawa Station, Tokyo Station, and Ueno Station.

The Sky Garden is also a place to learn more about Yokohama. Maps with guides above the wide windows and binoculars are provided to visitors to know more about certain spots of Yokohama.

For example, on the Northeast side, I learned that the New Port Area (Shinko Port) of Minato Mirai 21 was once a warehouse facility area of the old Yokohama Port and is now one of the tourist spots of Yokohama. From the Sky Garden, I can see both the historical part of Shinko Port (Warehouse and Wharf) and the modern touristy part (Cosmo World and Yokohama World Porters).

On the Southwest side, one can sit down and relax while enjoying the view.
A cafe is available on this side of Sky Garden, called “Sky Cafe” and seats facing the window are available to customers who will order something from the cafe. Snacks, meals and various drinks are available from the cafe.

I ordered their Beef Stew with Baguette (¥1000) for my lunch with Melon Soda (¥300). The beef stew tastes so good and I also see other people ordering the same meal. Eating something good while watching the wide view of Yokohama is really a very unique experience.

If you visit Yokohama, I surely recommend Landmark Tower’s Sky Garden!

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