Originally the Red Brick Warehouse in Yokohama port was built for trade and commerce back in 1911. At the time, it was one of Japan’s most advanced buildings, containing its first cargo elevator and earthquake reinforced steal beams. After surviving a great earthquake in 1923 and the Second World War, the City of Yokohama rebought the Warehouse from America and reinvented it for the twenty-first century. It was reopened in 2002, and has since been a trendy hangout location for all ages alike.
Being one of the main attractions in Yokohama, the Red Brick Warehouse also hosts its share of events and festivals around the year. To compliment the European style architecture, they host a German Oktoberfest and a German Christmas Market. Both are extremely popular and are worth seeing. You’ll find information on them below.
During mid to late August there is also a random horde of people dressed as Pickachu, which march around this area. It always attracts hundreds of tourists and participants alike, and can be a real marvel to see them move in unison. You may have already seen it on Youtube or somewhere else before.
Other events include an Aloha Hawaiian themed popup restaurant in July, and an ice skating rink available during the winter months. Every year the warehouse hosts new events as well as the old. This year saw the first ever food festival in August, where 15 Michelin approved eateries sold their food to queuing customers. Japan surprisingly has the most Michelin star awarded city in the world, ahead of those in France and Italy, with 227 Michelin star restaurants in Tokyo alone! The events you’ll find every year, though, are the Oktoberfest and the Christmas Market.
Oktoberfest (300 yen entry)
Oktoberfestis held for 4 weeks over October and attracts thousands of guests. The festival itself isn’t in the warehouse, but the tents erected around the outside. Along with the locally brewed Yokohama beers, several dozen beers are imported on tap from Germany. These gloriously crisp beverages include Lowenbrau, Erdinger, and so on.After purchasing your beer, you can sit and relax while you enjoy it outside. Bratwurst and the traditional 1-litre mass of beer are also on sale, however, pints are usually sold for over 1000 yen ($US10), plus another 1000 yen deposit for the real German beer glass which you’ll get back upon returning it. It’s all part of the festivities, though!
This event is held from the end of November right up until Christmas Day (which itself isn’t actually a big thing in Japan, with Christmas Eve being reserved for couples). At the market you can find a couple of rows of stalls selling both cute knick-knacks and German style food and beer. It’s just like a real German Christmas market, only very small. It’s better to experience it at night due to the illuminations adding to the Christmas vibe. Another feature here is an ice skating rink, which during weekdays is only open from evenings. It costs about 1500yen ($US15) to enter the rink with skate hire. This event is by no means to the same scale as Oktoberfest, but it can be a good one to enjoy in addition to other plans.
If you’re interested in these festivals, or any other events that they hold, then head over to their website. You can access the Red Brick Warehouse via train. It’s about a 15-minute walk from the JR Sakuragicho station or a 6-minute walk from the Bashamichi station on the Minato Mirai Line. Even with nothing on, the warehouse has several great restaurants and cafes inside, along with a micro brewery. Go see for yourself!