Jam-packed with over 250 Chinese-themed shops and restaurants, Yokohamachuukagai (横浜中華街), or Yokohama Chinatown is the largest, not only in Japan, but in Asia. Narrow streets draped in endless cords of softly glowing lanterns and fairy lights extend like the fingers of a spider’s web, splattered with sesame oil and enfumed in light incense.
A lit alleyway in Chinatown.
Only a 5 minute walk from Motomachichukagai station on the Minatomirai Line (which in turn is only 8 minutes by train from Yokohama Station), Yokohama Chinatown is a must, particularly for those with an appetite for Chinese food! Restaurants with all-you-can-eat deals scream choice! from either side of every road, and dazzling displays of dishes filled with mushroom rice and crab dumplings, seeded vegetables and crispy sprout rolls reflect the hungry eyes of the locals and tourists traipsing up and down the alleyways. 2000 yen will buy you more food, in over 150 varieties, than you can fathom.
Restaurant billboards show off all-you-can-eat deals.
Four vibrant mounted Chinese gates lead into a labyrinthine mess of sights and scents. Not only is there food here, but rows upon rows of shops selling oriental fabrics, perfumes, souvenirs, toys, books, clothes… Chinese, Nepalese, Taiwanese… the list is endless.
Plastic pandas spill lucky coins and jade bracelets from their mouths into the hands of excited children. Glass jars brimming with tea leaves and herbs are stacked against clouded bottles of rice wine and vinegar. Neon signs flicker and flash, pale and struggling against the white sun in the day and branding logos into the dark sky at night in this Chinese decorated town.
Yokohama Chinatown also boasts a generous selection of Chinese supermarkets, where you can buy the ingredients to even the most elusive of sino-culinary desires. Although vendors screech their bargains, any purchase is met with a friendly smile and a wave of the hand.
A Chinese supermarket.
Leave some space after dinner, for you must be sure to sample the deep-fried sweet dumplings, peach-shaped pork buns and steaming roasted chestnuts and peanuts sold along any of the many streets in Yokohama Chinatown, washed down with iced sour lemonade sold by the plastic cup.
On your way out, drop by one (or both!) of the two big temples in the area – Mazu Miao Temple (for the Goddess of the Sea) or Kwan Tai Temple (for a divine General of the Imperial Army in 200AD).
Mazu Miao Temple. (Source: Clickinmoms)
You will leave Yokohama Chinatown with your ears ringing with bells, eyes burning with lights and stomach bursting with Chinese food.
From Shinjuku JR Station, take the Shonan-Shinjuku Line to Yokohama (30 min, 550 yen)
From Yokohama, swap to the Minatomirai Line and travel to Motomachichukagai Station, from where plenty of signs will lead to Chinatown (8 min train, 10 min walk)
|Name||Yokohama Chinatown, Motomachichukagai|
|Address||Yamashitacho, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture 231-0023|
Yamashitacho, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture 231-0023
|Price Range||2000-2500 yen|