I think most of you already know what Chinatown is. Chinatown is a district outside of China with predominantly Chinese population. Chinatown can always be an interesting area with it’s Chinese traditional architecture, Chinese ornaments, always a lot of Chinese food, Chinese souvenirs and sometimes Chinese cultural exhibits and festivals. Chinatowns can be found in every part of the world including America, Australia, Asia, Europe and Africa. Yes, Chinatown can always be found in almost any country and offers plenty of interesting things.
Chinatowns also exist in some areas in Japan. The most popular and the biggest one is in Yokohama. This Chinatown is also considered to be the oldest one in the country. In Yokohama Chinatown, you can find many Chinese stores and restaurants serving Chinese foods in the narrow and colorful streets. The popular Chinese foods such as buns, noodles and other can be found there, although many of the products are quite “Japanized”. Those foods are mainly Cantonese but some are also from other areas in China such as Szechwan, Shanghai and Beijing. On the other hand, you can also find traditional Chinese cuisine ingredients here.
You will see the Chinese colorful gates at the entrance that can be translated as ‘goodwill gates’ in English, within the area that was constructed during 1870s. The gates are built based on Feng Shui principles. The other part of the complex is Chinese theme park called Yokohama Daisekai where you can enjoy dining, shopping and trick art. This area is merrier in the beginning of February due to Chinese new year celebration. In the summer, people also celebrate ‘Kanteitan Festival’, and ‘Kokkeisetsu Festival” in fall season. Other events also take place sometimes, such as lion dance on the new year and traditional Chinese costume parade.
If you want to go to Yokohama Chinatown, it is highly recommended to try as many foods as you can, take the pictures of the gates (with a beautiful Chinese design), take the pictures of the temples, and buy some gifts. This place is a good option for you to spend the weekend in, as you can be walking and seeing around for a whole day.
If you go from Tokyo
Tokyo station – Motomachi Chugakai (42 minutes)
Tokyo station – Ishikawacho (38 minutes)