Look at any postcard from Yokohama, and you will see a glimmering skyline lined with rows of skyscrapers, splendid waterways and, inevitably, a giant ferris wheel. Located at the picturesque Minato Mirai area, the wheel became an inseparable part of the city since it was opened in 1989.
Minato Mirai, or “Harbour Of The Future” in Japanese, was once a massive shipyard. In the 1980s, the City Of Yokohama started an ambitious urban redevelopment project and converted the port into a vibrant downtown center. The area itself was previously reclaimed from the sea, and is a great example of a successful perpetual urban renewal. Upon its opening, the ferris wheel has completed an excellent array of attractions that include museums, amusement parks, cinemas and a philarmonic orchestra.
The wheel features one of the biggest clocks in the world that can be seen from many miles away. This earned the attraction its official name, Cosmo Clock, as well as an entry in the Guinness World Records book. Perhaps, Japanese owe some of their punctuality to the wheel that always keeps the residents of the Tokyo Bay on time.
Cosmo Clock is still one of the largest ferris wheels of its kind in the world. It takes as much as 15 minutes for the 60 gondolas it holds to complete the entire circle. Those with strong nerves or in search of some thrills can try riding one of the two see-through gondolas with transparent floors. In any case, the ride is an excellent way to see all Yokohama landmarks at a glance. On a good day, it’s possible to even get a glimpse of Tokyo’s skyscrapers.
The view from above can’t help but inspire exploring the rest of city, and the seaside walkways of the Harbour Of The Future is a great place to start.