Yokohama announced its candidacy for Integrated Resort licenses in August 2019. The port city is just half an hour away from Tokyo and therefore attracts visitors to the capital. But for the same reason, nearly 90% of tourists are day trippers, compared to the average of 50% for the country as a whole.
Yokohama has worked to promote inbound tourism in the area. In addition to the developed China town and Minato-mirai areas, as a port city, Yokohama has developed itself to be the number one cruise destination in Greater Tokyo. It is also one of the nine international cruise hubs designated by the national government.
Hammerhead: A New Cruise Hub
There are three piers operating inside Yokohama Port, including Osanbashi International Passenger Terminal – which opened in 2002 and is known for its thought-provoking design conceived by Foreign Office Architects (FOA) design studio. In 2018 Osanbashi terminal handled the majority of the 168 calls from cruise ships by operating its four berths at full capacity.
To expand the overall port capacity, Yokohama city government redeveloped a new cruise terminal at the nearby Shinko Warf, completed in 2019. A new mixed-use commercial complex named Yokohama Hammerhead opened in the area in October 2019. The 33,000 sq., five-story building adjacent to the new berth houses CIQ facilities, and 25 shops and restaurants including local and international cuisines. There are also new concept stores such as a cacao bean roastery operated by a local bean-to-bar chocolatier. Upper floors house the InterContinental Yokohama Pier8 Hotel which comprises 173 rooms with minimum 45 sq.m. floor area, overlooking the harbor.
Proposed IR Site at Yamashita Wharf
While there are other plans under development, such as the Yokohama Air Cabin ropeway, Yokohama city government believes an Integrated Resort will be the catalyst for waterfront development in the city.
The proposed site for the IR is Yamashita Wharf which covers 47 hectares of land near popular sightseeing spot, Yamashita Park. Yamashita Wharf was established in 1963 as an international trading port. But today, as the major logistics function has shifted to the outer bay area, the city government sees the premises as a future hub of MICE, tourism and retail activities. The wharf is only a five-minute walk from Motomachi-Chukagai station, the nearest station to Yokohama Chinatown, and is a 15-minute drive to Haneda Airport via the Bayshore Route of the Metropolitan Expressway.