You might have heard of Yokohama for many reasons: Second largest city in Japan, strategic harbour, or the 2002 world cup…. but Yokohama is famous in Japan for other reasons.
Yokohama´s China Town is one of the largest you will find in Japan. It is an incredibly lively place full of market stools, restaurants and shops. I have visited it three times and each time, I have felt the same sensation of almost being in a world within another world. The people, the colours, the smells…. Wow!
It is highly likely that you will find amazing food in any restaurant you walk into, but Yokohama has a very strange, yet amazing little place called Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum where you are definitely up for a surprise. It is a whole building dedicated to the very famous noodles. (Yes, only in Japan)
As well as the museum, a bar, an old fashion sweet shop or a story teller, there is a mini underground city full of restaurants from all areas of Japan. Those restaurants have a commitment to be the best examples of the local ramen noodles from their respective regions and to ensure quality, they all compete against each other for customers. Each year, the restaurant with less customers, is replaced with a new comer and this, essentially, is the key to maintain high standards.
Then, of course, there is the Yokohama Terminal by Foreign Office Architects, and Iconic piece of architecture. I still have not decided whether I like it or not, but it has become, since its conception, a recognisable symbol to the world of architecture particularly.
I like some of its elements: the playfulness of the light and darkness or the almost natural landscape formed by the timber for example; but then there is something I still wonder about.
Some of the symbols/elements are too literal, the references to origami is the most obvious example… It works, do not misunderstand me, but once thing I love about Japan and its culture is its subtlety, they leave things to the imagination, and subtle is something that this building is not… But then, maybe you should visit this amazing city and see what you think.
Photograph by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
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