Yokohama-Best Three Free Spots To Photograph At Night

March 13, 2018

Yokohama’s Minato Mirai 21 is a particularly attractive place to take photos, especially in the blue hour. An urban environment of skyscrapers, amusement parks and neon reflecting in a busy harbor always makes for an impressive night shot. Here are the best free spots to photograph Yokohama at night!

A short, 30-minute train ride from Tokyo's Shinjuku Station, Minato Mirai 21 is a mecca for photographers. Here, I'll share some of my favorite locations to shoot in the blue hour.

 

Firstly, take the Shonan Shinjuku Line from Shinjuku Station to Yokohama Station. At Yokohama Station, transfer to platform 3 and take the Negishi Line to Sakuragicho Station, a one-stop, 3-minute ride.

 

Yokohama World Porters

The first place we will visit is the Cosmo World amusement park. We will shoot this from a high position, so that the clock on the ferris wheel will be just above eye-level. To get this unique angle we will walk to the World Porters building, a 6-floor shopping complex featuring themed floors, movie theaters, and even go-cart racing on the roof.

 

Depending on where you enter World Porters it can be a little tricky to get to our shooting spot, so I recommend you follow my route for the least hassles.

 

From Sakuragicho Station:

Take the east exit from the station.

(Map at the bottom of this post)

Walk across the road towards the ferris wheel.

Walk along the bridge (Marine and Walk Yokohama) with the train lines to World Porters building. It’s behind the wheel.

Take the outside escalator to enter World Porters.

When you enter,  you'll see the elevators to your right. Take the elevator to the roof (R).

When you reach the roof, the first thing you'll see (depending on the season) is a beer garden, a go-cart racing track...

or the day I visited, a mini golf course.

Turn left and you'll see the "Roof Garden" and ferris wheel.

Walk down the path and you'll come to a high bar fence. Don't worry, the bars are wide enough for your lens to take unobstructed shots.

This is usually where the mini golf course is, but due to maintenance (resurfacing of the deck) it was temporarily relocated.

Tripods are OK here. This was one of the shots I managed to take...

Set up for the above photo was:

  • Lens: 11.0-16.0 mm f/2.8

  • ƒ/11.0

  • Focal Length: 11.0 mm

  • Shutter: 10

  • ISO100

  • Camera: Nikon D90

 

At A Glance:

Location: World Porters Building Rooftop, Minato Mirai 21, Yokohama

Station: Sakuragicho Station, East Exit

Ease of Access: Moderate, a little walking

Views: Cosmo World Amusement Park, Landmark Tower, Intercontinental Hotel and skyscrapers

Admission: Free

Hours: 10:30 - 22:00

Tripods: Yes

 

Bankoku Bridge

Our next shooting spot is very near to World Porters, less than 5 minutes on foot. Exit the same way you entered World Porters, head to the canal, and look left. Here you can see a bridge, our next location.

The view from Bankoku Bridge is very impressive at night, but framing your shot can be tricky. If you position yourself too far to the left, you'll lose some of Landmark Tower's reflection. Too far to the right and trees will block out the ferris wheel.

A good feature with this bridge is that there is a ledge to use a small tripod, or you can simply place your camera on it.

 

In the evening, there are always people taking photos here. The evening I took the below photo, there was a wedding photoshoot going on next me!

 

If you are lucky enough to be visiting around Christmas time, there is a special light up where all the buildings will be illuminated - that is, all lights in the buildings will be on. It's only for one day (December 22 in 2017), so stake out your position early.

Set up for the above photo was:

  • Lens: 11.0-16.0 mm f/2.8

  • ƒ/11.0

  • Focal Length: 14.0 mm

  • Shutter: 65

  • ISO100

  • Camera: Nikon D90

 

At A Glance:

Location: Bankoku Bridge, Minato Mirai 21, Yokohama

Ease of Access: Moderate, a little walking

Views: Cosmo World Amusement Park, Landmark Tower, canal reflections

Osanbashi International Passenger Terminal

Our next location is Japan's busiest port, with many of the world's largest cruises visiting as part of their tours.

Nicknamed "Kujira no Senaka," the whale's back, this is where we can capture Minato Mirai 21's entire skyline. It's a truly impressive sight, especially at night.

 

Osanbashi is a huge floating wooden deck with plenty of relaxing green areas, enjoyed by locals and foreigners alike.

 

From our previous location, Bankoku Bridge, it's a pleasant 15- to 20-minute walk. From the bridge continue along the road (opposite direction to World Porters) and take the first left. You should be on a road with colorful tiles on the sidewalk.

When you get to "Yokohama Zeikan" street sign, turn left and you'll come to the waterfront. From here you can see Osanbashi in the distance.

Head right, towards Osanbanshi.

Follow the path and walk up the wooden deck.

There is a fork in the path. Right leads inside the passenger terminal, so go left.

The best spot is at the end of the pier. There are some vending machines there, so you know you're in the right place. From here, on a clear day you can even see Mt.Fuji.

Come early and enjoy the area. It's a great place to relax and enjoy the views (Yokohama Bay Bridge).

There are plenty of seats all over the deck.

In summer, you can enjoy your favorite beverage - a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Here's the kind of photo you can expect to take from Osanbashi.

Set up for the above photo was:

  • Lens: 24.0-120.0 mm f/4.0

  • ƒ/11.0

  • Focal Length: 70.0 mm

  • Shutter: 65

  • ISO64

  • Camera: Nikon D810

Here is a map of the area on Google Maps:

For more Mt.Fuji locations, check the following posts

 

And this is the route to follow based on the above three locations.

  1. Sakuragicho Station (start point)

  2. Yokohama World Porters Building

  3. Bankoku Bridge

  4. Osanbashi International Passenger Terminal

 

At A Glance:

Location: Osanabashi International Passenger Terminal, Yokohama

Ease of Access: Moderate, a little walking

Views: Minato Mirai skyline, Mt. Fuji (on a clear day)

Admission: Free

Hours: Upper deck open 24 hours

Tripods: Yes

 

So there you have it, what I think are the best three free spots to shoot some epic night photos in Yokahama's Minato Mirai 21 area. Not only a photographer's mecca, but also a great place to spend a relaxing day by the sea.

If you are interested in seeing other twilight and blue hour photos of Tokyo, please feel free to visit my Flickr feed.

 

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