Yokohama’s Chinatown

Yokohama is a great city. Only a short train ride from Tokyo, in Kanagawa Prefecture, it offers no shortage of things to do and see. It’s also a city where you’re much more likely to run into westerners, thanks to the US naval base at Yokosuka, but I’m going to talk a little bit about a different sort of foreign influence: Chinatown.

Yokohama Chinatown

Approaching one of the gates.

Yokohama has what’s probably the most famous Chinatown in Japan. In fact, every year in Matsuyama venders from Yokohama come and set up a Chinese market for a few days. Much like American Chinatowns, the actual number of Chinese residents has been decreasing, as people move out of what was essentially an ethnic ghetto, but you’ll still find plenty of shops and restaurants. There are also brightly colored Chinese Buddhist temples that you can visit, if you’re looking for something a little more cultural than just shopping and food.

Chinatown Temple

A temple in Chinatown.

Most people, of course, go to Chinatown for the food. You can find all sorts of Chinese cuisine, such as manju (steamed buns) and ramen, most of which has been slightly Japanized, but is nonetheless very tasty. The food ranges from very inexpensive, just a step above fast food, to fancy restaurants that are less than ideal for the budget traveler. I can guarantee you’ll find something, though, even if you’re trying to keep costs low.

Chinatown Gate

One of the gates.

If you’re in Tokyo and have enough time to venture out a little farther, definitely take a day trip to Yokohama and check out Chinatown. It isn’t a big time or monetary commitment and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

Chinatown Temple Lanters

Lantern decorations at the temple.

Access: Take the JR Negishi Line from Yokohama Station to Ishikawacho Station. From there it’s just a short walk.

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