The best way to feel this Bay City's charm is by joining a cruising tour. Although there are several cruise ship services in Yokohama, I would love to introduce the cruise that has the most fantastic ship-the Royal Wing! This ship serves a variety of Chinese dishes, an amazing bay cruise with nice views of Yokohama: Minato Mirai skyline, Yokohama Bay Bridge, factories, and green up on the hills overlooking the bay. In addition, even if you are unlucky with the weather, you can still enjoy some attractions on the ship: magic, balloon art, and live music.
Course and Schedule
The cruise takes place four times a day on a regular basis; Lunch (12:00AM-1: 45PM), Tea (2:45-4:15PM), and two Dinner cruises (5:10-7:00PM, 7:40-9:30PM). The ship leaves Osanbashi Pier and circles Yokohama Bay. At first, the ship heads out towards the Yokohama Bay Bridge. It is a stylish, long, cable-stayed bridge that is one of the main icons of Yokohama. I love this beautiful and really photogenic bridge. You might have seen it destroyed in a Godzilla movie!
The ship passes under the bridge, goes out into Tokyo Bay and then loops back. Because Tokyo Bay is outside Yokohama Bay, we can also see the calm, hilly part of Yokohama as well as some factories.
After turning back, you cruise north toward the cool Minato Mirai 21 skyscraper area. There, you'll see modern and sophisticated architecture in the daytime, and brilliant illumination at night.
The meals Royal Wing serves are "modern" Chinese cuisine. You can choose a buffet or several levels of courses (4600 yen-26,500 yen). The buffet (for instance) consists of 5-6 sorts of appetizers, 6 kinds of steamed or fried vegetables, 1 type of soup, 3 kinds of roasted dishes, steamed buns and dumplings, noodles and fried rice, 3-4 kinds of desserts, and an assortment of various fruits. The beverages are British tea, oolong tea and coffee. If you would like to have some alcohol or other soft drinks, you need to order them separately. The meal is served just after you board the ship. If you order a course, the food will be served step by step, and it will take a long time to finish all of them. You might not have enough time to go outside. So, I recommend that you choose the buffet, enjoy the meal and music first, and then move out to the deck for the excellent bay scene and nice sea breeze.
The last 30 minutes are the highlight of the tour if you are interested in the view. If the weather is nice, the panorama from the deck will be fabulous. There are tables and chairs where you can sit and enjoy the view comfortably. When the ship goes under the bridge, you can see this stunning architecture up close. It is compelling. Other cruise ships might pass you sometimes. The contrast of the sky and the sea is changing every 10 seconds. Fascinated by the beautiful scenery, you will forget the time. During the night cruise, the Ferris wheel in the Minato Mirai district is beautifully illuminated.
How to make a reservation
You can reserve your cruise online, but all the information is written in Japanese. Or ask the concierge in your hotel to help. Finally, you can reserve a spot on the cruise by phone at 045-662-6125.
Additional English information is available here.
Royal Wing has a few shows.
1) Balloon Art
An entertainer comes to each table and does some quick balloon art in front of your eyes. When I was there, it was a cute young girl. She talked to us as she filled a pink balloon with air. At first we didn't know what she was doing. She twisted and pulled some parts of the balloon quickly. I thought the balloon would break if she treated it like that, but it didn't. Instead, she smiled and handed me a cute little dog. She did the same things again in blue, and created two balloon dogs kissing! It took only 30 seconds or so!
We also enjoyed card magic at our table.
You can enjoy sophisticated live music. When we were on the ship, a flute and piano duet were featured.
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Japan is a small island nation, but we have a huge number of surprising things to discover here. Many of these delights can be found when you step off the main street onto small side paths. I really enjoy studying about and researching various aspects of traditional Japanese culture, and then sharing this information with visitors to Japan. I hope you will enjoy it, too! ARTICLE INDEX & PHOTOS: An index of most of my Japan Travel articles can be found at the entry page of my blog, and my photos are shown here. 日本はとても小さな国ですが、大通りから一本小道に入ればたくさんの発見があります。日本人が積み重ねてきた歴史を学びながら、古い建物や庭を訪ね、物語の舞台となった景色を眺めて、皆様といっしょに日本文化の奥深さを探求していきたいと思います。