The attractive port city of Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan and is lots of fun to visit with great shopping. There are all types of fun things to buy as gifts and souvenirs from the predictable ‘I ♥ Yokohama’ tee-shirts and mugs to some really eclectic pieces of retro and interesting antiques in the popular Collectors’ Mall in the famous silk center building near Yamashita Park.
There are shops that suit every budget including arcades, department stores, and outlet shops – the 100 yen shops are fun too. The Minato Mirai area has all the top Japanese and international fashion labels. There are several shopping malls each with more than 200 stores and what is fun is that they are all linked by underground or covered walkways.
1. Sample some delicious cakes
The pretty gift boxes of Minato Mirai Petit Tarts (from the shopping area with the same name) make delightful gifts. The mini pastry tarts are filled with an assortment of jams and chocolate. They are available in the patisseries as Kikkasu which are delicate little cakes made from flaky pastry that resemble the flower heads of chrysanthemums and other popular flowers.
2. Be tempted with some moon cakes
Moon cakes (Geppei) are small round cakes that are shaped like the full moon. They are Chinese in origin and the reason they are so popular in Yokohama is because the city has the second largest Chinese community in Japan and a great area called ‘Chinatown’. The cakes are sold in small gift boxes containing seven cakes in five different flavors with several of the favorite flavor – Tosa, which is red bean paste and others with various nuts and coconut. Chinatown is a great hunting ground for lots of Chinese clothing, footwear, etc at really low prices.
3. Say Kanpai – Cheers – with some Yokohama lager
What better excuse to visit the city’s beer museum than because you want to buy a few bottles made in the city’s brewery! Yokohama lager is well worth trying as it is light with the taste of citrus fruit.
4. Look for some luxurious silk
The Latitude Morno brand is actually made in Yokohama and is definitely one to look out for as the company makes beautiful silk scarves and jewelry pouches. It has a stylish range of other accessories including handbags, purses, and umbrellas.
5. The perfect treat for little children
A popular gift in the city is a bright red matchbox containing a miniature pair of red chocolate shoes. The shoes are based on a popular children’s nursery rhyme and also in the matchbox, there is a small piece of paper with the lyrics to the rhyme.
Another great idea for children of all ages is one of the different bars of Kit-Kat. There are more than 100 varieties found in Japan, many of them only available in certain cities or regions and if you are wondering what the flavor made in Yokohama is – it is really delicious strawberry Kit-Kat.
6. Choose some handmade handkerchiefs
Well, this must be the easiest souvenir to pack! There are a number of little shops selling attractive handmade ‘Tenugui’ in a myriad of colors and patterns. Apart from being used as handkerchiefs, they can also be used as face cloths, table mats and as an unusual wrapping for a gift!
7. Treat yourself to some new cosmetics
Japanese cosmetics are really top quality and it is well worth popping into a pharmacy and buying some new mascaras, eyes shadows, etc. The sunscreen products are really good too as are the cleansers and skin treatments (check liquid allowances if you have cabin baggage only).
8. Admire the pens and stationery
The well-known makes of pen ‘Pilot’ and ‘Platinum’ are both Japanese and there are a number of shops in the city with an excellent range of quality pens at really good prices. The Japanese love really good writing paper too and in the same shops, there are some beautiful colors and designs to buy which is perfect for travelers!
9. Invest in a top quality chef’s knife
Japanese kitchen knives are known all over the world and providing you are not traveling with just a cabin bag on the aircraft home, it is well worth looking at the selection on offer in the specialist shops. Made in either stainless steel or carbon steel and perfectly balanced, these knives are a pleasure to use in the kitchen and will last years.
10. Have fun with two traditional wooden toys
The Kendama ball and string toy has been popular in Japan since the 18th century and is still fun for children aged 8 – 80! Kendama is available in a variety of designs and shapes. ‘Koma’ are traditional hand-carved wooden spinning tops that are sold with a length of string. There is a real knack in being able to spin the top successfully – both toys keep everyone occupied for hours!