Yokohama World Porters
Yokohama World Porters
By Paul Mcinnes - OCT 31, 2017
The Sakuragicho area of Yokohama has an abundance of shopping centers such as recent additions Colette Mare, CIAL and MARK IS Minatomirai. However, for most Yokohama lovers the area plays host to the holy trinity of retail spaces – Landmark Tower, Queens Square and World Porters. Situated across from Cosmo World and the Cup Ramen Museum, and a hop, skip and jump from Aka-Renga Soko (Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse) and Yokohama’s beautiful pier, Word Porters has been a firm favorite for nearly 20 years.
With approximately 200 stores spanning eight floors and an expansive roof area, the complex has everything from restaurants, cutting-edge fashion, games arcades, interior furnishing, a cinema and a go-cart course and mini-golf course on its roof.
A Hawaiian-themed food court and souvenir stalls have recently been added to the ground floor after a major supermarket vacated the premises. Manager Shingu Junji explains that “Yokohama and Hawaii have a long-standing relationship. Yokohama has to be an exciting destination, and because World Porters represents all over the world, we decided to start with and focus on Hawaii right now. We even built facilities in order to do Hawaiian-themed events.”
World Porters, in a similar vein to local shōtengai communities, also works closely with their neighbors: “As we are so close to Cosmo World and the Cup Ramen Museum we sometimes do tie-up events together although we don’t belong to the same company,” says Mr. Junji. “We’ve participated in events such as Halloween, Christmas and so on. But to add to that, although there are many shopping locations near here, what distinguishes World Porters from the others is that while they usually focus purely on retail shopping, we are more related to entertainment and amusements facilities.”
The 100,354 square meter complex, built in the last year of last century, has stood the test of time. Visitor numbers reached 105 million last year and projections look favorable for the future. Japan is dealing with a huge influx of tourism right now and the government and local authorities all over the country are vying for overseas visitors’ attention. One of the common themes around the shopping streets and malls of Yokohama is the awareness of foreign language education in order to deal with and serve foreign tourists. The staff at World Porters takes foreign language hospitality courses twice a year and welcome foreigners with open arms.
Mr. Junji says, “Many cruise ships arrive at the pier in Yokohama and because of this (and other aspects), we have tried to make multilingual guidebooks and websites. I think the reason Yokohama is popular is because there are so many well-known landmarks and tourist attractions so that’s one of the biggest reasons people come to this area.”
Indeed the complex has recently added a prayer room for Muslim visitors. This is a practice that has been seen globally for a while now but it’s pretty much ground breaking for Yokohama and second-tier cities in Japan. Visitors from Islamic countries such as Indonesia and the Middle East are rising dramatically so the city is trying its best to accommodate with an increase in halal restaurants and prayer rooms. Japan has long been known as an insular nation dating back to the days of sakoku in the Edo era (1603-1867). Modern Japan, however, is the antithesis of this and is openly accepting of multilingual, multicultural and multifaith tourists.
World Porters is earmarked for renewal in 2019, which marks its 20th anniversary. 2019 is going to be a huge year for the city as it will also host the Rugby World Cup final. In the same year there will be a new boat terminal located minutes away from the shopping center. The terminal, Hammerhead Park, will welcome international cruise ships so there is expected to be a significant rise in international tourism around that time.
Yokohama, and World Porters shopping mall in particular, is such an institution around the country that often TV dramas film in and around the area, which serves to highlight the popularity and iconic standing it has in the hearts of Japanese people. Mr. Junji recommends that visitors take in the stunning night view from the rooftop terrace and stresses that World Porters is “very much part of this very special area which has so many other attractions and malls situated in the same area. I think it’s quite rare to have so many famous tourist attractions within walking distance from each other. We aren’t just about shopping and attractions. I think we provide a unique kind of experience too.”
World Porters, then, ostensibly encapsulates the magic and excitement of this commercial area of the city. With attractions, movies, shopping, food and drink and entertainment, it is a paradise for fun-seekers and visitors looking for a taste of the city. Yokohama is close to Tokyo and there are many train lines, expressways and bus routes linking both cities. Yokohama and World Porters, for many Tokyoites and other visitors, is a relaxing getaway from the stresses of the Japanese metropolis. Yokohama is by the sea, there seems to be an abundance of space and nature, and it’s a city that likes to shop, drink and have fun. World Porters, with its iconic building and proximity to other attractions, is essentially a microcosm of the city as a whole.
Shopping & Dining Recommendations
Events & Festivals
Throughout the year
Happy Every Birthday (You can get the privileges on the previous day, the day and the next dat of your birthday.)
Throughout the year
World Porters Application (Free download. You can get many privileges.)
Throughout the year
TickeToku (Get Discounts with Tickets of AEON CINEMA minatomirai, CUPNOODLES MUSEUM or SKYDUCK Yokohama.)
10min. walk from "Sakuragicho Station" : JR Keihin-Tohoku Line, Yokohama municipal Subway Blue Line
15min. walk from "Kannai Station" : JR Keihin-Tohoku Line, Yokohama municipal Subway Blue Line
5min. walk from "Minato-Mirai Station" : Minato-Mirai Line
5min. walk from "Bashamichi Station" : Minato-Mirai Line