Japan in 2023 | Yokohama Air Cabin — See the City From a Whole New Angle

JAPANKURU
3 min readFeb 20, 2023

The Yokohama Air Cabin

Head to a scenic mountainside, or hike your way to the base of one of Japan’s many volcanos, and it’s not uncommon to find a ropeway or cable car carrying sightseers slow and steady up an incline to enjoy the view. In the hilly Japanese countryside, tourists might expect to ride in one of these compact cabins to travel from one point of interest to another, as a matter of course. What’s less common, however, is a cable car that takes tourists over the busy streets of one of Japan’s biggest urban centers! But that’s just what the people of Yokohama found in their own city in April 2021, at the peak of the covid pandemic — a brand new ropeway shuttling people over the crowds of the Minatomirai port area.

Minatomirai is one of Yokohama’s most popular neighborhoods for tourists exploring the city, and now the shining grey “air cabins” glide back and forth just overhead, to be used as a practical new means of transportation for the people of Yokohama, and also a tourist attraction in and of itself. The route connects the JR Sakuragicho train station and Unga Park, one of the many popular parks on the edge of Tokyo Bay, offering passengers unbeatable views of Yokohama as they pass just above the heart of the city. And after dark, the cabins look down on Yokohama’s sparkling night lights from a whole new angle. The tickets aren’t cheap (1,000 yen one way for adults), but for anyone willing to splurge, this new mode of travel is a breath of fresh air.

The Air Cabin Route

Image Source: Yokohama Air Cabin

Following a very straightforward path (literally), passengers on the Yokohama Air Cabin are transported just about 1.2 km (3/4 mile) while floating above the city’s mesh of streets and waterways, a trip lasting about 20 minutes in total. The route conveniently connects Sakuragicho Station, on JR’s Negishi and Yokohama lines, with Yokohama’s bayside leisure area, full of green parks and scenic shopping facilities. Alighting from the air cabin, the famous Red Brick Warehouse is just steps away.

A Landscape with Unusual Harmony

Yokohama is a jumble of wide highways, grey highrises, broad green swathes of grass by the bay, and promenades along the water, with a uniquely international history as a major Japanese port. The city is rich with interesting contradictions, from top to bottom, so perhaps the logical next step was to build this unexpected new attraction to cut right through the middle! The Yokohama Air Cabin has an air of retro-futurism that fits right in with Japan’s own mix of old and new, and if you’re willing to pay for 20 minutes of transport, it offers a brand-new view worth seeing.

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