Yokohama Cruise Ship Port
Osanbashi Pier in Yokohama, Japan is an attraction in itself with green spaces and a rooftop park with floorboards that mimic rolling waves. Though the architecture resembles a skate park skateboarding is not allowed. The pier is open to the public and visited by people not on cruise ships who come to the port area for the skyline views as well as the nearby shops and restaurants.
Cruise ship passengers do need ID to get into the secure area leading to the ship. There’s even a small events hall at the pier, though nothing was going on there when our ship was in port. The pier is close to Chinatown and bus and train stations. On our visit they provided a free shuttle to a train station for cruise ship passengers who wanted to take a train into Tokyo or to explore the area near the station. Runners and walkers frequent the pier because the parklike area on top connects to a trail around the bay.
There is an information booth at the pier with maps of the local area and of Tokyo too. Yokohama has more to see and do within walking distance of the ship than the average cruise ship passenger could experience in one day so it’s a great port for people who like to go out and do things on their own. Japanese ports also often have money exchange available right at the port.
Yokohama is a full service cruise port where ships can embark or disembark passengers at the start or end of a cruise as well just stopping for the day for a port stop. The Holland America Westerdam did both with some passengers leaving, new passengers arriving, and about 700 people carrying on to the next cruise. Passengers not disembarking were given a special in transit pass to enable them to avoid the boarding lines of newly embarking passengers when returning to the ship after spending time on shore.
Things to do in Yokohama
From the pier it’s an easy walk by waterfront promenade to the Minato Mirai 21 neighborhood, which translates to Harbor of the Future and contains shopping centers, hotels, a convention center, an amusement park, a relaxation center with natural hot spring baths, museums and access to the Sea Bass boats that provide transportation around the area.
The waterfront promenade also extends the opposite direction from the port to nearby Yamashita Park, which also has access to the Sea Bass boats. The park is mostly open green space, but it has some attractions like an old ship turned museum and some fountains and monuments. The park’s admission fee includes the museum.
From the port it’s about a 10 minute bus ride to Sankeien Garden, a traditional Japanese Garden. Other things to do in Yokohama include a zoo, aquarium, ramen and cup noodles museum, beer factory tours, and the historical Yamate area where westerners were originally allowed to live when Japan first opened opened to interactions with foreigners in the 1850’s. Most buildings there were built after 1923 because an earthquake destroyed earlier structures, but the cemetery dates back to the 1850’s.
The Cupnoodles Museum has an area where people can make their own ramen or cupnoodles as well as exhibits about the history and invention of instant ramen and cupnoodles (which were previously called cup o noodles in the USA, but no longer are.)
The wheel at Cosmoworld amusement park is visible from the ship so it’s quite easy to find. At night it is brightly lit with ever-changing colored lights. Cosmoworld has roller coasters and other rides and games as well as the giant Ferris wheel. There’s no admittance fee to get in, but each attraction has a price. The Cupnoodles Museum is right across the street from Cosmoworld making it just as easy to find from the ship since all you have to do is look for the wheel.
Trains into Tokyo include regular and bullet trains, which leave from different stations. When disembarking and traveling with luggage taxis are recommend to the train station. Without luggage the shuttle bus is an option if the port happens to provide one for cruise ship passengers that day and if it is going to the right train station. There are 2 airports so those disembarking and flying out need to know which one they are going to. Passengers can arrange for a luggage service to take their bags to the airport if they prefer to travel by subway or shuttle (if available) since taxis in Japan can get quite expensive.
Ship’s Excursions in Yokohama
The Westerdam offered one excursion in Yokohama for people disembarking that day which had a visit to a shrine, temple, and shops in Tokyo with airport transfer. The ship also had optional direct transfers to either Narita or Haneda airports.
For those continuing onto the next cruise the ship had 3 tour options. Best of Tokyo had stops at the Imperial Palace, Senso-ji Temple, and the Ginza district. Temple & Shrines of Kamakura went to Koutokuin Temple to see the great Buddha and Hachimanu Shrine for the god of war. Old Town Tokyo went to a museum, shrine, garden, and market.