Tour the Hikawa Maru, a meticulously preserved, 11,000-ton luxury liner with Art Deco interiors that cruised between Yokohama and Seattle from 1930 until World War II, when it was requisitioned by the Imperial Navy and converted into a hospital ship. Photo displays note famous passengers like Charlie Chaplin, for whom the ship sent one of its chefs to Tokyo to apprentice at making his favorite tempura.
Honoring Yokohamaâs past and present as a main port for Japanâs international commerce, the small but captivating Customs Museum displays reproductions of drugs, guns and other contraband that failed entry into Japan, with detailed cross-sections of their containers and photographs of the original seizing.
Have lunch at the elegant and beautifully preserved Hotel New Grand, where General MacArthur lived and worked upon arriving in Japan at the start of the Americaâs postwar occupation. Built in 1927 and located across from Yamashita Park and the Hikawa Maru ocean liner, its second-floor banquet room, among other areas, is an officially recognized historical property of the city of Yokohama.
Visit the aka renga soko, or red brick warehouses. Originally twin brick piles built in 1911 and 1913, part of the southern warehouse was leveled in the 7.9-magnitude Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Today, after an era of dormancy and disrepair, they are a symbol of the urban revitalization of Yokohamaâs Minato Mirai (âport of the futureâ) area. There are three floors of cafes, restaurants and trendy shops, including the sleek Motion Blue jazz club (a subsidiary of Blue Note Japan), while exhibition spaces host events like the annual springtime sake festival.