Rugby 36 Hours in Yokohama

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Rugby World Cup. And during the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, the city will host spillover sporting events, including baseball, softball and soccer. Beyond the stadiums, visitors will find much to praise around town, from traditional gardens and temples to only-in-Japan night life and Chinatown cuisine worth a weekend detour from the capital.

Begin a visit to this bayside city with a walk along the waterfront, where hulking cruise ships, fishing vessels and industrial tankers glide in from Tokyo Bay. Start in the waterside Rinko Park, with lawns backed by towering high-rises, and try to spot fish jumping in the water offshore. Continue south past skyscrapers and a 369-foot-tall Ferris wheel, to the Red Brick Warehouse, a pair of former customs buildings constructed in the late 19th century that have been transformed into a popular shopping complex. Keep strolling south through Yamashita Park, home to blooming flowers and curious statues, and then loop back toward Osanbashi Pier, an international cruise terminal where the futuristic design — all undulating wood with plots of grass — is as impressive as the view of Yokohama’s Bay Bridge and glittering skyline.

Join the local after-work crowd at Hanamichi, a boisterous standing bar on the B2 level of the Pio City building. Expect cheap sake — 200 yen a glass (about $1.85) from the decades-old self-serve dispensers on the counter — and snacks like tuna sashimi or piping-hot ebi (shrimp) tempura. Then continue into the neighboring Noge district, a traditional night-life area that has skirted recent waves of urban redevelopment. The lively streets are packed with dining options, but for dinner, duck inside Suehiro, a delightfully dated yakitori joint slinging grilled skewers of kawa (chicken skin), ginnan (ginkgo nuts), shishito peppers and chicken wings. Dinner for two, about 4,000 yen.

Step back in time at Chigusa, an enduring jazz cafe that first opened in Noge in 1933. After surviving war, earthquakes, a fire and the death of its founder, this beloved institution was forced to close in 2007, but reopened on a nearby corner a few years later, thanks to support from an official Chigusa fan association. Live jazz shows are regularly staged inside the cozy space, but most nights, customers take turns choosing from the extensive collection of rare vinyl. While waiting your turn, sip a gin and tonic and respect the reverent atmosphere — this is a place for listening, not socializing.

The calm waters of Yokohama’s canals offer ideal conditions for stand-up paddle-boarding. For a rare perspective of this built-up city, glide past soaring office buildings and along tree-lined canals during a beginner’s course run by Mizube-so, an organization founded to promot

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