Yokohama Factory Night CruiseActivity
Although it may not sound like the most thrilling adventure on paper; a journey through Yokohama’s major industrial locations in the dark of night, the Yokohama Factory Night Cruise is, in fact, one of the city’s most exciting and unique tour experiences. It’s an excellent way to explore a side of the city most people never get the opportunity to see, and a wonderful opportunity to hone your photographic skills. A relatively well-kept secret when it comes to more mainstream travel tour opportunities, the Yokohama Factory Night Cruise is gaining popularity among the more adventurous, off-beat style travelers, on the hunt for something a little different. Here’s everything you need to know about this mysterious tour experience.
A sight that’s avoided by most during the harsh light of day, Yokohama’s waterfront-facing industrial zone, a large portion of which is known as the Keihin Waterfront District is considered by many to be a bit of an eyesore. But it is one of Japan's most important industrial belts. Long grey and bronze metallic pipes jutting up towards the sky, entangled in a web of wire and emitting clouds of smoke and steam, it’s no question as to why city planners constructed this spot out of view. However, under the cloak of night, the area goes through a complete transformation, one that really has to be seen to be appreciated truly.
One of the main points of interest on the tour is TOA Oil Refinery, this machinery plays a crucial role in supplying energy to greater Tokyo and all of Eastern Japan. The glittering lights scattered along this park reflecting light and carving out moody shadows of hidden, vacant lots makes the refinery look something like a retro-futuristic mini-city, a photographer's paradise, and an exercise in reexamining of what we believe beauty to be.
During the cruise you’ll also pass by two identical white towers, barely illuminated, but still very visible during the tour. These towers are part of the Tepco Kawasaki Thermal Power Station, thermal power stations convert heat into electricity collected for public use. Passing by these fascinating structures is an excellent educational experience for those interested in not only energy production but also city planning, industrial development, and architecture.
During the tour, keep an eye out for the giant illuminated letter ‘K,’ this tower is used to help drivers guide their ships safely around Yokohama Bay. Although the cruse does travel at a rather relaxed pace, the ship staff always take safety very seriously, so when the boat is traveling at higher speeds guests are asked to remain seated. Once its reach the ideal position, however, you’re welcome to wander around the boat in search of that perfect photo angle. It does get rather cold towards the end of the year, so dress warmly.
Departing from Yokohama Keihin Cruise Terminal, a small terminal next to Osanbashi Pier, the Night Boat Cruise runs for about an hour to an hour and a half depending on the weather and what can best be seen on that particular night. Given its location near the Yokohama waterfront, there’s never any shortage of stunning sights to be seen, and the lights of Minato Mirai and the giant Ferris wheel at Cosmo World are always a tour highlight. A popular location for large cruise ships to dock, the Night Boat Cruise often travels around some of the area’s most famous maritime guests, offering an up-close look at the magnificence of these cruise liners.
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