Exploring Japan’s Largest Chinatown In Yokohama


Yokohama Chinatown is one of the most vibrant and exciting commercial areas near Tokyo City.  It takes only a few minutes to travel to Japan’s portside city.

The portside city of Yokohama, Japan, has many different types of Chinese cuisine, which makes it a popular place for people to visit. Despite not having as many Chinese residents left in this area as it once did, people continue to visit this area because of the fine cuisine and other shopping areas

Yokohama Chinatown

Everything in Yokohama Chinatown is typically within walking distance. Most tourists are capable of walking from most areas within the district to another with ease.

Exploring Yokohama’s Chinatown

Yokohama Chinatown in the Yokohama district is considered Japan’s largest Chinatown. It is a large area of over 20,000 square feet, only a few minutes from Tokyo, and is one of the most active cities for Chinese cuisine culture. There are also many festivals and cultural events held for people whose families immigrated from China.

There are over five hundred shops, including hundreds of authentic Chinese restaurants. Because of its delicious, authentic Chinese cuisine, it is one of the most visited places in Yokohama. 

Yokohama’s Chinatown Official Website

Chinese Shop In Yokohama’s Chinatown

Although there are many other locations to eat Chinese cuisine, this concentrated area allows people to try multiple dishes during their visit to the neighborhood. 

For instance, they can try the tasty flavors of Beijing before trying recipes that are exclusive to the region of Shanghai.  Tourists come from across the world to get a taste of the many varieties of delicious foods in this neighborhood.

The history of Yokohama Chinatown

Yokohama Chinatown was officially established by several thousand Chinese immigrants at the end of the Edo Period. Japan attracted these immigrants to Yokohama after opening a Trade Port along the coast in 1859.

At this time, Trade Ports were exclusive ports inside China and Japan, which allowed open foreign trade between the two nations.

After Japan opened this port city, allowing trade between the two countries, many Chinese citizens from Canton and Hong Kong soon immigrated to the Japanese port city.

Chinese Restaurant In Yokohama’s Chinatown District

Trading possibilities, land availability, and accessible resources in Yokohama, Japan, attracted Chinese immigrants. Since Yokohama is a port city, Chinese immigrants had easy and open travel to China while still living in Japan.

Yokohama Chinatown saw positive development from the Edo Period until the Meiji Period. Most citizens in this port city were Chinese immigrants, which is why it developed the name Chinatown.

By this time, the integration of merchant trade stalls, shops, and other buildings had evolved the portside town into a bustling area.

In 1923, Chinatown suffered a catastrophic earthquake as did most of Tokyo called the Great Kantō earthquake. This devastating earthquake destroyed many homes, which drove many people from the city. The people who stayed after the earthquake rebuilt the town.

Currently, there are only a few thousand Chinese residents in the area. Since the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, the population has been on the decline. More people choose to move away from Chinatown than those choosing to move there.

Today, more shops and businesses occupy the busy city than residential homes. Despite the extensive population decline, Yokohama Chinatown is still one of the most active shopping destinations near Tokyo. It is one of the few places in Japan that serves authentic Chinese cuisine. 

Cuisine in Yokohama Chinatown, Japan

Yokohama Chinatown is one of the places that serves authentic Chinese cuisine. There are over three hundred and fifty Chinese restaurants in Chinatown, many focusing on different varieties of delicious Chinese cuisine. 

Some of the most popular types of Chinese cuisine include Beijing, Shanghai, Sichuan, and Guangdong. There are several other kinds of cuisine offered in Yokohama, Japan’s Chinatown.

Yokohama Chinatown Shops, Restaurants, and Various Establishments

Chinatown is a praised location because it provides dozens of Chinese cuisine in one location. The chance to dine on fine cuisine such as Beijing-style dumplings is a delight for people in Tokyo.

Beijing Cuisine

Beijing cuisine is one of the most popular Chinese cuisine offered in Chinatown. It is also known as Jing, Mandarin, or Peking cuisine. 

This cuisine is influenced by several regions in Japan, although it is one of the most flavorful and hearty. Most of the dishes in Beijing cuisine are made from some type of meat, like duck or chicken.

Roasted Peking duck in a Shop window in Yokohama’s Chinatown

They are well-recognized street foods, often served in curbside stalls throughout Chinatown, because of how quickly these foods can be created and served.

Whole-roasted ducks, steamed buns, and boiled dumplings are common examples of Beijing-style dishes. Sesame paste and fermented tofu are frequently used in Beijing cuisine.

Shanghai Cuisine

Shanghai cuisine is Chinese cuisine that uses Yangtze River fish in its dishes as its main ingredient. In the Shanghai region, the Yangtze River is a great provider of protein, which means it is the center of most dishes.

Although pork is sometimes in Shanghai cuisine, it is uncommon to see proteins aside from fish as the main ingredient.

Steamed Pork Buns Yokohama’s Chinatown

Seasonings like soy sauce, wine, and vinegar create a sweet contrast with most River fish.

The steamed pork bun is the most recognizable dish from the Shanghai region.

Sichuan Cuisine

Sichuan cuisine has a great balance of hot and spicy in its dishes. Many of the dishes include spicy chili and Sichuan peppers. Other notable ingredients include garlic, which has an intense and notable flavor.

Every ingredient in Sichuan cuisine is added in excess with an intention to make the dish extra flavorful.

Chinese Restaurant tucked away on the back-streets of Yokohama s Chinatown

Generally, the most recognizable Sichuan dishes include Kung Pao Chicken. Visitors of Yokohama can find this famous dish in Japan’s largest Chinatown at nearly any Sichuan-style stall or restaurant.

Guangdong Cuisine

Guangdong cuisine has some of the largest variety out of all the Chinese dishes. The flavor is a major factor for Guangdong cuisine, with common ingredients including chives, vinegar, soy, salt, sesame oil, and much more.

There is a large variety of ingredients in Guangdong cuisine. Unfortunately, the ingredients in Guangdong cuisine can be so intense that they can produce unpleasant odors.

The odor is strong, but the taste is great. Ingredients such as ginger or chili peppers will produce a sharp and precise taste. Guangdong cuisine also experiments with unique ingredients.

Chinatown Food Vendor

Two of the most popular dishes from Guangdong cuisine are shark fin soup and chop suey. The practice of eating shark fin soup has become somewhat outdated, with many people considering it an inhumane practice.

People sometimes call this Chinese cuisine Cantonese or Yue cuisine, although there are subtle differences in the ingredients. Generally, Guangdong is the most formal way to recognize this cooking style because of its style. 

Transportation to Yokohama Chinatown

You can travel to Yokohama Chinatown in several ways, like using the highway, bus, or train. JR Railway passes are accepted by railways and busses so visitors can travel covered by the JR Pass.

Guide To The JR Pass

The large and bustling city is generally small enough to travel around by foot. If you would prefer to travel by bus, several busses are available in the area to help you travel through the city more quickly.

Train

There are four railway lines that you may use to travel to Yokohama Chinatown, including two bullet trains. These railway lines run from Tokyo, Omiya, and several other locations. You can use a JR Railway pass or purchase a ticket at any train station.

Ishikawacho Station

Accessible railways include:

  • Motomachi-Chukagai Station
  • Ishikawacho Station

Both of these railways are less than ten minutes from Chinatown. 

Bus

Several bus routes can lead you to Yokohama, Japan. Depending on the bus you take, the time it takes to travel by bus can vary.

In addition to the busses that take you to Japan’s famous Yokohama Chinatown, many busses may also transport you around the small city.

Yokohama Bus Terminal

Ferry or Seabus

Traveling to Yokohama, Japan, by ferry, formally called the “seabass”, is a great way to see the unique Chinatown from the seaside. As a portside city, there are many great views to see as you pull up along the shores of the water.

There are only two seabass services, which vary in price from 440 yen to 700 yen, depending on how many stops you are willing to take.

Getting Around Yokohama Via Official Visitors Guide

Yokohama Ferry Terminal

Getting To Yokohama Via Car

Traveling by highway is one way of traveling to Yokohama Chinatown that can take longer than the other modes of travel.

Car Rentals In Yokohama Via KAYAK.COM

However, it can be the cheapest method of travel, and it can potentially get patrons closest to Chinatown. A few nearby parking lots help with accessibility and cut down on walking distance.

To drive a motor vehicle in Japan, you will require a valid international driver’s license.

Yokohama’s Chinatown Via Tripadvisor

Virtual Walk Thru Yokohama’s Chinatown

MT Lee

My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.

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