Today, the large city of Yokohama is Japan's second-largest city with the population of about three and a half million people of different nationalities. Yokohama is a Japan's pioneer in introducing the Western culture, goods and services into a regular usage. Japan's first bakery was opened in Yokohama in 1860, a photo studio in 1862, a telephone appeared in 1869, a beer brewery in 1869, a cinema in 1870, a daily newspaper in 1870, a public restroom in 1871, and ice cream in 1879. It is also the largest international port in Japan, supporting a huge international community with many foreigners and residing in the section, called the Bluff. Yokohama has a large Chinese population and the largest Chinatown in Japan (five hundred Chinese restaurants only!). All that makes Yokohama stand out among other cities of Japan, though it is not everything that defines the city as special.
For the past decade, Yokohama has been developing Japan's largest futuristic project, known as Minato Mirai 21 that is the area for business, shopping, residences and fun. The futuristic district of Yokohama is still under construction, but it is no mistake to see it today. Minato Mirai 21 gives a vision of the future with its monolithic buildings of an advanced design, a huge state-of-the-art convention center, three world-class hotels, two prominent museums and an amusement park. The designers announce that upon the completion the futuristic district Minato Mirai 21 will encompass hundred and eighty four hectares (four hundred and sixty acres), housing ten thousand residents and employing hundred and ninety thousand.
The futuristic district of Yokohama is also home to the most conspicuous and tallest building in Japan, the Landmark Tower. The building has the fastest elevator in the world that takes the visitors nine hundred ft in forty seconds to the sixty ninth floor of the building with an observation room, called Sky Garden. From here you can see the entire city with its harbor and Yokohama Bay Bridge, while on a clear day the sight of the highest mountain Fuji is also available.
Many visitors consider that the most important thing to see in futuristic Minato Mirai 21 is the Yokohama Museum of Art that exhibits works of Japanese and Western artists since the 1850s. The goal of the museum is to reflect in the exhibition the mutual influence of the Japanese and European modern art. The museum's permanent collection includes works by Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse, Leger, Max Ernst, Dali and Japanese artists that change three times a year. Special exhibitions from other museums are available on loan.
Those, who are interested in sea and ships, should visit the Yokohama Maritime Museum with the exhibitions, emphasizing Yokohama's history as a port and evolution of ships of Japan and other countries from the 19th century.
A visit to the Kanagawa Prefecture Museum will widely broaden your knowledge of an absorbing Japanese history with its expositions, showing Kanagawa Prefecture's history from the Paleolithic Period thirty thousand years ago to the opening of Yokohama port.
The last but not the least, it is highly important to visit Yokohama Cosmo World, a large amusement park in the futuristic district of Yokohama. The park boasts one of the largest Ferris wheels in the world, while other attractions are also quite original. There is a haunted house, a simulation theater with seats that move with an action, kiddy rides, a games arcade and much more. Minato Mirai 21 also provides excellent opportunities for dining and shopping with its dozens of fine shops and restaurants.