winter 2010


Experience the best of Japan (and the rest of the world) during October in Yokohama

t’s the largest beer festival in the world, but if you can’t make it to Munich’s Oktoberfest, you can get the next best thing in Yokohama—the birthplace of Japanese beer, no less. As a classic example of German architecture, Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse is the perfect location to host the city’s own annual beer festival. The seventh edition of the Yokohama Oktoberfest is expected to draw 85,000 visitors, who’ll quaff an estimated 170,000 mugs of the good stuff. Along with the genuine German beer on sale, you’ll also get a chance to try some local varieties, including microbrews from Kanagawa Prefecture—and let’s not forget the food menu, with plenty of hearty offerings to accompany the libations. The German orchestra who supplied live music at last year’s event will also be returning to inject some oom-pah into the proceedings.

Oct 1-17, Mon-Fri noon-9pm (from 5pm on Fri 1), Sat-Sun & hols 11am-9pm. Admission ¥200. Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, 1-1-2 Shinko, Naka-ku. Nearest stn: Sakuragicho. Tel: 045-227-2002.

okohama’s cosmopolitan culture really comes to the fore during World Festa Yokohama, an annual celebration of the tastes and traditions of countries from around the globe. For two days, the waterside Yamashita Park is transformed into a dizzyingly diverse international expo. Sample a range of global cuisines in the open-air restaurant area, which this year features a Noodles & Pasta fair that’s sure to be a big hit. The World Fashion Show will see models strut their stuff in traditional costumes (also available for rent if you want to try them on yourself), while you can explore the arts and crafts—not to mention the languages—of different countries at the World Bazaar. Naturally, you can also expect live music and dance throughout the day, including special performances by countries participating in the APEC summit in Yokohama in November.

Oct 9-10, 10am-5pm, free. Around Yamashita Park. Nearest stn: Motomachi-Chukagai.

ach year, over 200,000 people gather at Yokohama’s Red Brick Warehouse for a whirlwind tour of Japanese food. The Japan Food & Specialty Festival started life in 2004 with the aim of spreading the joys of regional cuisines from throughout the country. Now into its seventh year, the event provides an opportunity to sample the finest autumn produce and local specialties in a raucous, festive atmosphere.

With more municipalities and companies participating each year, the gastronomic choices just keep broadening. Some of last year’s biggest hits, including the “Kyushu and Okinawa Festa” and “B-Class Gourmet Corner,” will be back again, along with stalls spanning the length of the country, from Hokkaido to Okinawa. Try authentic Osaka- and Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki pancakes, quaff sake from Nagano, or tuck into one of the 100 specialties on offer from Yokohama’s home prefecture of Kanagawa. The kids are sure to love the selection of traditional Japanese-style sweets (okashi), and you can also expect entertainment including Okinawan eisa dancing and the famous awaodori from Tokushima prefecture.

Oct 30-31, 10am-5pm, free (event will continue as planned, rain or shine). Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, 1-1-2 Shinko, Naka-ku. Nearest stn: Sakuragicho. Tel: Japan Food and Specialty Festival Committee 03-5403-2637.

What’s in a Noodle?
A Japanese culinary staple gets its own museum in Yokohama

amen first flourished in major ports like Yokohama, so the city was a natural home for the first museum dedicated to the dish. The Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum features Japanese-language displays detailing the history of noodles and a full-scale diorama of Tokyo circa 1958. However, the main draw is the food area, which corals together nine famous ramen shops from around the country. Think of it as a “ramen mall” where you can eat your way along the length of Japan without paying a fortune in air fares. Take your pick from shops offering shoyu (soy sauce), miso, shio (salt) and tonkotsu (pork broth) soups, or mix and match with the ¥550 “mini ramens.” If you struggle with slurping down piping-hot ramen, you might like the tsukemen, a popular alternative where the soup and noodles are served separately.

2-14-21 Shin-Yokohama, Kohoku–ku. Open Mon-Fri 11am-late, Sat-Sun & hols 10:30am-late. Admission ¥300 (adults), ¥100 (ages 6-12, seniors), free (children under 5 years old). Ramen prices average ¥800-¥1,000. Tel: 045-471-0503.

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