Yokohama Chinatown

Have your fill of genuine delicious Chinese cuisine in Yokohama
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There are more than 6000 Chinese residents and more than 500 shops in the this area. Chinatown is a place where you can experience the food culture, events, and history of China whilst being in Japan.
Address
Yokohama China Town, Yamashitacho, Naka-ku Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa

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Enjoy the food culture of China

When it comes to enjoying Chinatown, it’s the sampling of the various types of Chinese dishes. But even in Chinese cuisine, depending on the areas in the vast country of China, the seasonings, ingredients and flavorings will differ. There is Cantonese cuisine with its heavy use of seafood due to the region’s warmth and proximity to the ocean, the spectacular Beijing cuisine based on the palace cuisine which included Peking Duck, the famed Shanghai cuisine with dishes like Shanghai Crab and soup dumplings, and the exciting Szechuan cuisine which makes use of various spices in dishes like Mabo Dofu. You can only experience this wide spectrum of Chinese cuisine in Chinatown. Plus, there is dim sum from its birthplaces of Hong Kong and Macau which is also extremely popular among the Japanese. Called tenshin, it’s a style of dining where you can enjoy drinking tea while eating light dishes such as noodles, congee and dumplings.It’s of course fun to enjoy a restaurant meal, but you can also enjoy eating on the run in Chinatown with foods like the popular meat buns and dumplings.

For people who are not satisfied enough with just eating, there is also a hands-on course in making meat buns and gyoza dumplings. At the Yoshu Hanten group of restaurants located in Yokohama Chinatown, you can make and eat your own meat buns and gyoza. Perhaps you can go back home and start making your own Chinese food?! After enjoying the food, you will want to go shopping in Chinatown. From Chinese ingredients that have been used since ancient times, there are many stores that deal in Chinese tea and liquor. Head on over to the stores dealing in products such as traditional Chinese clothing and antiques.

Learn about Chinese culture while strolling through Chinatown

In Chinatown, there are 10 gates that have been built in the traditional Chinese style. Back in ancient China, these were constructed so that the Emperor would not bring in any evil spirits when he entered his own palace. The gates were built in consideration of feng shui that is particular to the Chinese people who lived in tandem with nature. The Zenrinmon Gate on the main avenue is especially famous. As well, the Chinatown Kanteibyo and the Yokohama Mazu Temple are also must-see tourist spots. The Kanteibyo is a temple which is dedicated to the god of business prosperity and is also very popular as a power spot. Yokohama Mazu Temple is dedicated to the god of easy childbirth and matchmaking, and is also a power spot.

There are events all throughout the year in Chinatown, and you can learn about Chinese culture through these events. Among these, the regular New Year’s Day of January 1st and the Lunar New Year are both celebrated. The Spring Festival to celebrate the Lunar New Year is a famous event. The whole neighborhood gets into the spirit of the festival and a lot of tourists congregate in Chinatown. The festival lasts from mid-February to early March. On the eve of the festival on February 19th, a countdown takes place at both Chinatown Kanteibyo and Yokohama Mazu Temple. On the day of the festival itself amid the sound of firecrackers, the traditional lion dance enlivens the streets of Chinatown. It’s a precious experience that makes you wonder whether you have actually taken a trip to China. On February 28th, in addition to the lion dances, there is a parade featuring people wearing Imperial clothing, and on the final day, there is the Lantern Festival to close the festivities in which the written wishes of people are placed in shining lanterns among the lion dances. If coming to Japan in February and March, by all means, come to Yokohama Chinatown. You can check the homepage for information on every event. (To select language, go to the lower-right corner of the page)

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Reviews

a year ago
Lively town
It's known also as Motomachi Chukagai. A very lively town. So many interesting shops and lots of good food! There are a few temples in Yokohama Chinatown as well.
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3 years ago
Chinese New Year
With so much history in the area, Yokohama features many foreign buildings and places, and is heavily influenced by various different Cultures. It is one such culture that brings me here today, the Chinese. Today is of course Chinese New Year, so I thought the ideal place to celebrate would be in a city with its very own Chinatown. Marking the entrance to Chinatown hangs a brightly coloured gate. The first thing I notice is that beyond the gate, the rows of Chinese restaurants and shops no longer resemble Japan. Tucked between two such restaurants sits a branch of Starbucks Coffee, instantly shattering the illusion that I might actually be in China. I make my way through the crowds, and arrive at a temple. Yokohama Kanteibyo is a Taoist temple, dedicated to Chinese general Guan Yu. He is recognised today as the god of war and victory. Built in 1871 by Chinese migrants, the temple has since been destroyed four times, but always rebuilt. A common theme in Japan regarding temples. The temple these days symbolises good luck and good fortune in business, and is packed full of Chinese residents and tourists here to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Inside the temple, people are queueing up to pay ¥1000 for a piece of scented wood. The incense here is lit, then placed into a pot. It is said that burning the first incense of the New Year is especially important in Chinese Culture, and that those that take part in this ritual, are said to have a prosperous year ahead. After the incense, people take their fortune in a way similar to that of Japanese temples and shrines. I find common themes between the two countries, especially the way that they each celebrate their own New Year. Visiting a temple or shrine, the first prayer or burning of incense, eating traditional food. The only thing that really stands out as different today, is the impending Lion Dance. I leave Yokohama Kanteibyo, and head out into the lantern lined streets. Twenty-one million visitors come to Yokohama Chinatown each year, and it is the largest such town in Japan; with over six hundred shops and restaurants compacted into this small area. It feels like the twenty-one million visitors have all chosen to come here today, as both sides of the streets are packed full with people. My confinement makes it difficult for me to move. I find a decent spot in the crowd, and wait. Even though the Lion Dance will parade through here shortly, for whatever reason, the road is still open for vehicles. A traditional Chinese vehicle displaying the name ‘Family Mart’ sails through the crowd, getting dangerously close to running someone over. Every time a vehicle cruises through, a man with a megaphone shouts for everyone to step back. It is carnage. A problem with the head of the lion costume causes further delays, and the Lion Dance ends up running very late. The event finally starts at half four, one hour after the scheduled time. Firecrackers louder than the Big Bang consume the silence. The shock of noise startles me, and children around me cry in fear. Eventually, a man dressed as a lion appears, and the crowd roars. Drums start, and the lion begins to dance. I watch the lion dancing for about four seconds, before it disappears into a Chinese restaurant; presumably continuing to dance around inside. After the lion re-emerges from the restaurant, his head is removed, and the drums stop. This is what I came all this way to see, effectively nothing. I stick around to see if anything else is about to happen, but the crowd has all but dispersed. The firecrackers sound again, the air filled with a gloomy white smoke, before the lion begins to dance into the next Chinese restaurant.
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