Yokohama Chinatown is good for
- Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
Image copyrights belong to authors
Why Yokohama Chinatown is special ?
Yokohama Chinatown is located southwest of Yamashita park in Kan'nai area. The area is about 500-700 meters square, and there are more than 500 shops in the area. In this area, about 2,000 Chinese people are living now. It is the largest chinatown in Japan and in the East Asia. (In Japan, chinatowns are also in Kobe and Nagasaki cities.) After opening Yokohama port in 1859, Chinese trading merchants had come and settled here. Then this town has repeated its development and declination by Sino-Japanese War (1894), Great Kanto Earthquake (1923) and Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). After World War II, it began to develop again. And since normalizing Japan-China diplomatic relations in 1972, this town became a popular sightseeing spots for Japanese people. Now many Japanese visitors come here every day.
Most of the shops in this town are Chinese restaurants, cafes, groceries and antique shops. There are four main gates at the entrance of the town in four directions. Every gate has different colors based on "feng shui", which is an ancient Chinese thought that the position of things defines the future. And other six gates are in the town. In the center of the town, there is "Zenrin-mon" gate. Between Zenrin-mon and Choyo-mon (the east gate), the main street "Chukagai Odori" runs, and many visitors gather there.
What to explore at Yokohama Chinatown?
Today, a large number of Chinese stores and restaurants can be found in the narrow and colorful streets of Chinatown, while the number of actual residents has been decreasing.
Four colorful gates stand at the entrances to Chinatown, and five more gates can be found within. The Kanteibyo is a gaudily colored temple in the center of Chinatown. Constructed in 1873 by Chinese residents, it is dedicated to the Chinese god of good business and prosperity.
The main attraction of the Yokohama Chinatown, however, is the cuisine offered at its many restaurants and food stands. Popular favorites include steamed buns (manju), ramen noodles and a wide array of other Chinese dishes, many of which have been Japanized to a certain degree.
Various events and festivals are held in Yokohama Chinatown, such as Chinese New Year around the beginning of February.
How to get to Yokohama Chinatown?
About 5 minutes walk from Ishikawacho station on Negishi Line.
About 15 minutes walk from Kan'nai station on Negishi Line.
By Minatomirai Line
About 2 minutes walk from Motomachi-Chukagai station.
- Amazing in the night
- A Chinatown standing on its own
- Plenty of Places to Eat
- A lot to see and places to eat
- Enjoy Chinese Culture in Yokohama Chinatown
Japan 〒231-0023 神奈川県横浜市 中区山下町118−2
Tips for you
I don't get here as often as I'd like, but it is always a breath of fresh air. Well worth the 50 minute train ride from Tokyo station to Ishikawacho station on the JR Negishi line. Chukagai is well laid out and pretty easy to maneuver. There are maps periodically on the street to guide you, so walk around aimlessly, taking in the ambiance, buy a hot nikuman (meat-filled bun), shop for moon cakes or other delicious sweets that make great gfts, visit a Chinese temple or eat at one of the many buffet restaurants. Count on an hour or two. If the busy atmosphere gets to you, then visit the old foreign cemetery area to the south, up the hill next to Motomachi park. Very quiet (naturally!) and a calming place to visit. Then walk back to Ishikawacho station via Motomachi street, the "Rodeo Drive" of Yokohama to window shop or to see and be seen. Count on 3-4 hours to make this loop, taking in three very different areas of Yokohama that make the city unique in Japan. Or, for shopping and a view of the pier, from Chinatown, walk the 2km to Minato Mirai and the Landmark Tower via Yamashita Park, the renga (red brick) warehouses and World Porters. Including Chinatown, this also makes a nice half day in Yokohama.
This has to be one of the coolest Chinatowns you'll ever experience. Go down the side streets.
Yokohama Chinatown, a.k.a. Yokohama Chūkagai, is cheesy and overrated and over-the-top all around. That's what makes it Chūkagai. Don't come expecting anything like Chinatown in Toronto or San Francisco or Sydney and you (perhaps) won't be disappointed. Do be careful about what restaurant(s) you choose and avoid the chestnut vendors since their M.O. is pushing you into buying overpriced, out-of-season chestnuts. (But be nice! They're people too.) But otherwise, just enjoy the gaudiness of it all. PS It's better at night. PPS If you can time a visit for when there's a festival (parade!) or at least lion dancing going on, definitely do