All work and no play makes Nate a dull boy.
Spending full work days in a single conference room is not the most fun thing to do. Our workshop’s organizers realized that, so they made sure to include one “team building” activity which involved getting off work a little early, and taking a train to Yokohama to have dinner in Minato Mirai. It was about a half-hour trip from Shonandai to the Sakuragicho station where we disembarked and joined the madding crowd.
Looking Left, Looking Right
The moment you come out of Sakuragicho station, though, you are greeted by a wide open plaza. People are still rushing to and fro to catch their train, bus or subway. But at least you don’t feel like you’re trapped in a snowglobe with a storm of people coming at you from every direction.
Nearby is the New Otani Inn, a hotel of modern design. Across the street is the Landmark Tower, Japan’s tallest skyscraper. In the shadow of the tower sits the Yokohama Maritime Museum, and the Nippon Maru masted ship. We headed off toward the Tower.
Sakuragicho Station Plaza and Landmark Tower, Minato Mirai
Once we crossed the street, there was a footbridge leading across the water to a man-made island. (Actually, most of Minato Mirai is built on land reclaimed from the ocean.) Off to the right you see some remnants of the old Yokohama waterfront. On the island to the left you see the great big “World Porters” mall.
From the bridge, you can see more of Minato Mirai’s attractions, including the Cosmo World amusement park and the Cosmo Clock Ferris Wheel. Here’s a short video I took of the waterfront view:
We got into the mall about 45 minutes before our dinner reservation, so we had some time to walk around and explore the mall. To our surprise, we saw that there was a Leonard’s Bakery outlet inside the mall! Leonard’s is a bakery in Honolulu that is known for its malasadas - eggy Portuguese fried donuts. We hurried down to the basement to make sure it was the same Leonard’s, and sure enough it was.
Of course, we had to get a few malasadas (to tide us over until dinner). They were good, but not quite as good as the original. I’m gonna have to get my hands on some when we go back to Hawaii next year.
Leonard’s Malasadas, Minato Mirai
Afterward, we walked around the basement a bit, exploring the grocery store with all its interesting and tasty-looking Japanese foods. Our time quickly ran out before we had to hurry upstairs to our dinner reservation.
Which we will talk about in our next post. Stay tuned!