Yokohama Chinatown, also known as Yokohama Chukagai, is Japan’s largest Chinatown. An enclave of Chinese shops and restaurants has stood in this section of Yokohama since the port city was opened to international trade in 1859.
The entrance to Chinatown is marked by four intricate and colorful gates, which represent the four directions in Chinese tradition. Each gate is associated with a different mythological animal an additional five gates stand within the neighborhood’s boundaries.
More impressive architecture can be found at the Kanteibyo temple (also known as the Guan Gong Temple), which is dedicated to the Chinese god of successful business and prosperity. Built in 1873 by the neighborhood’s residents, it remains popular among the faithful and also welcomes visitors with its serene evening lantern displays. Nearby Masobyo Temple is newer and smaller, but this Taoist temple still impresses with its decorative touches.
Chinatown is noted for its cuisine, from humble street stalls to gourmet feasts. Pork or mustard green steamed buns, egg tarts and goma-dango (sesame seed dumplings) all make for popular pick-me-up streets to grab on the go. In the many eateries that line the neighborhood streets, it’s possible to dine on any number of authentic Chinese dishes – spicy mapo tofu, duck, and dozens of dim sum options are just a few of the popular menu items on offer.
Several stores in the area offer a unique shopping experience not often found in other Japanese cities. Pick out the perfect good luck charm or try your luck at a fortune teller. Browse the selection of one-of-a-kind “qipao”, a type of traditional Chinese dress. Or, stock your cabinet with a range of Chinese teas.
Yokohama Chukagai sees its greatest influx of visitors every winter during the fifteen-day-long Chinese New Year festivities. The neighborhood is justifiably famous for its lavish celebrations, with lion dances, parades and numerous other activities. The streets are often decked out in lanterns and paper dragons; night visits are extremely atmospheric during this season.
Yokohama Chinatown is located in the center of Yokohama City and is easily reached from both Motomachi Chukagai station (on the Minato Mirai line) and Ishikawacho station (on the JR Negishi line). The neighborhood is also within walking distance of the historical Motomachi area and the seaside Yamashita Park.
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