Yokohama has so many great choices for souvenirs. To help guide you, here are ten suggestions that you can’t go wrong with. We hope you enjoy your stay in our fine city and we gladly welcome your future visits.
Okurayama Ume-shu: Ume no Kaori
Kohoku Tourist Association
Ume-shu (Japanese plum wine) is the perfect adult beverage for those that find Japanese spirits a little too strong or prefer an alcohol with substantial sweetness. Ume no Kaori ume-shu is made from plums harvested from the orchards of Okurayama, near the northern edge of Yokohama. The plums are hand-picked, then steeped in alcohol with sugar for a period of six months. The results are then blended to achieve the best possible flavors. Similar to wine, the alcohol content is around 13%. Ume no Kaoru is mildly sweet and pleasantly rich. Drink it on the rocks or cut it with water or soda water as suits your taste.
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Yokohama Beer has been brewing some of the region’s best beer from its small brewpub in the heart of the city for 20 years. While this is most decidedly craft beer, it’s less experimental and more true to traditional styles–casual drinkers certainly won’t be offended while beer geeks should find plenty to like. The brewery has a strong tradition of German-style beers, including a delicious weizen, and they sell many of their varieties in attractively labeled bottles. You can even buy small sets that come in easily portable gift boxes. The beers are available in many places throughout the city, but if you visit the brewpub in Bashamichi, the selection is generally greater and you can try most of them out on draft (separate purchase necessary) before committing to anything.
Hana Motomachi Sweets
Japanese sweets tend to be lower in sugar than their Western counterparts. A commonly used ingredient in Japan is anko, a sweetened, red bean paste. Kouro-an produces the majority of its traditional sweets at its store in Yokohama’s elegant Motomachi shopping district. Befitting such a locale, the items sold are artistically crafted and attractively wrapped. Hana Motomachi are colorful, crispy, spherical wafers stuffed with anko. They come in six original flavors and have been designed to represent the numerous buoys seen all over the harbor. Many of the other delectables for sale adhere to this theme of representing Yokohama, such as seagull shaped cakes and crispy anko-filled wafers with a wave motif.
A sturdy, hand-crafted bag will last you for years and be a constant reminder of the city where it came from. Few bags are as sturdy as the ones made by 045 Corporation because their materials are cut from the same canvas used in making sails for boats. That also makes them water resistant. On top of being able to weather years of rugged use, they’re rather attractive, too. They come in an array of styles, sizes and colors. Finally, let’s not forget practicality; they are not just fashion statements but highly functional and smartly designed bags. 045 is the area code for Yokohama and a fitting way to brand them. The best place to get them is the small studio near World Porters shopping mall where they make them in-shop.
Minoya Arare snacks
Minoya Arare is a multi-generation, family-owned business operating since 1929 that specializes in crunchy snacks that are great for munching with alcohol or tea, or even by themselves. Arare refers to bite-sized Japanese crackers made from rice and usually flavored. Actually, it’s all the different flavors that Minoya Arare has created which sets them apart from some of the other generic producers on the market. The flavors range from olive oil and habanero to smoked meats. The current president loves craft beer and even created some varieties to specially pair with the rich flavor of these beverages. Minoya Arare’s factory in Kominatocho (Naka Ward) has a showroom with all its products.
Happi are traditional, loose-fitting Japanese coats with straight sleeves. They are typically worn by festival participants and tend to be vibrantly colored. Local, family-run manufacturer Kanto Kansen has been making quality dyed products like happi here for more than sixty years. The company offers some special versions decorated with scenes from the port along with the Japanese characters for Yokohama emblazoned on the back. These make especially cute gifts for small children to show off to their friends at summer parties. Of course, they come in adult sizes too, and in a variety of different patterns. If your timing is fortunate, you may be able to try yours out at one of the city’s many festivals.
Tea has always been a major part of Japanese culture. For over 120 years, the family that runs Matabay has been growing tea on their own plantation. The company specializes in premium Uji-cha, one of Japan’s most renowned tea varieties. The product comes in attractive packaging featuring colorful scenes of Yokohama landmarks. The tea is sold in ground leaf form, as powder and in tea bags–choose your preference. You can also purchase beautiful, ceramic teapots, cups and related paraphernalia. Pamphlets explaining the product are available in English. A visit to Matabay, which is located near Tennocho Station–only two stops by train from Yokohama Station–affords you the opportunity to taste some of the teas, as well.
Sesame Oil Spices
Iwai Sesame Oil Co.
Iwai Sesame Oil Company produces a range of high quality sesame oils, pastes and other flavorings packaged in pocket-sized bottles and jars. The company has been in operation for roughly 160 years. It produces all its goods using traditional methods with no additives–you get both healthy and delicious in one. The pure sesame oil is perfect for pan-frying as well as cooking tempura or simply using as a dressing. Many Japanese use these red chili-infused sesame oil with gyoza, but you shouldn’t feel limited by that. Add a few drips of the spicy variety to your ramen, or even Western dishes like omelets, jambalaya, or charcoal grilled chicken. Experimenting is fun and almost always tasty. As the packaging is small and sturdy, it travels easily and makes for great gifts for any food-loving friends or family.
CUPNOODLES MUSEUM YOKOHAMA
What could be better than a souvenir made in Yokohama by...you? Visitors taking a tour of the CUPNOODLES MUSEUM YOKOHAMA are given the opportunity to assemble their own instant noodles. To start, you get a cup to decorate with your own illustrations. You then go on to choose from one of four types of broth and four toppings from a group of twelve different ingredients, such as corn, kimchi, shrimp, cheese, and egg. Your precious handiwork then gets encased in an inflatable bag to prevent it from being accidentally crushed. The whole experience is especially popular for families with young children. The museum is located harborside near Yokohama’s Minatomirai area near multiple train stations.
Ariake Harbour sweets
Japanese sweets are generally known for not being overly rich and sweet, and the treats made by Ariake Harbor fit that character. They’ll satisfy your sweet tooth craving but are not cloying–you may even find yourself guiltily reaching for another. The flagship ‘cake’ is roughly shaped like the hull of a ship and fits in your palm. The chewy, sponge-cake hull is filled with a marron (chestnut) paste. There is also a chocolate variety, among others, along with many different kinds of treats from the company. They are individually wrapped which is great if you want to hand them out to a group or numerous friends. They can of course be eaten as is, but they also pair well with tea, coffee or even sake. There’s a flagship store not far from Kannai Station with all their goods available.