I have many choices for my entertainment when I’m in Yokohama.
Today, we take a look at two more attractions that Yokohama has to offer you.
Motomachi Shopping street & Yokohama Chinatown
or better known as:
Motomachi Shopping Street
Motomachi shopping street, runs parallel to the Nakamura River. The street served the needs of the first foreign residents of Yokohama, and introduced many products to Japan. Nowadays the street does not differ drastically from other shopping streets, but it still has a certain European feel.
There’s a large number of high end fashion shops, as well as cafes and restaurants.
Motomachi Shopping Street, on the east side of Ishikawacho station is a traditional shopping district and style trendsetter for ‘classic’ and ‘traditional’ Yokohama fashion.
Historically, Motomachi Shopping Street is also known as one of the most famous shopping streets throughout Japan.
Originally situated directly behind the Yokohama portside; The Nakamura River, this area was the residence of the thousands of foreign people who were living and working here for the export and import business.
Naturally, a marketplace for foreigners eventually emerged, who provided imported items as well as daily necessities.
A few international schools were also established here and still do exist.
The feeling you get here is something different; a cultural mishmash. Certainly I’m in Yokohama, Japan but feel’s like something else, something western and oriental as well.
All cultures from both the east and west are mixed together here. Independent sellers who have their own shops, styles and brands dominate this traditional commercial district.
Since then, it has been the home of other trends and styles for fashion and life.
Motomachi shopping street is a slightly winding road, which somehow makes you walk slowly and take in sights and atmosphere. The windows of the shops and the items decorating the shops are displayed immaculately.
This slow, leisurely pace will likely tempt you to want to step in and buy something, so beware, or be happy if you’re rich!
I also recommend that you explore some of the back streets after going around the main street, as new shops and restaurants are opening all the time.
These back streets give Motomachi new waves, which harmonize with its traditional feeling. When you walk along these backstreets, you can come closer to that interesting mishmash of cultures I described above
Yokohama Chinatown is Japan’s largest Chinatown, located in central Yokohama.
Yokohama Chinatown quickly developed, after the port of Yokohama had been one of the first Japanese ports to be opened to foreign trade in 1859.
It became the residence of the many Chinese traders who settled down in the city.
Chinatown which is on the west side of Ishikawa-cho station obviously has a lot of Chinese restaurants, Chinese stores can also be found in the narrow and colorful streets of Yokohama Chinatown.
The main attraction of the Yokohama Chinatown, however, is the cuisine offered at its many restaurants and food stands.
Popular favorites include steamed buns – “Manju”, Ramen noodles and a wide array of other Chinese dishes, many of which have been Japan-ized to a certain degree.
This is the most popular (most expensive), and best restaurant in Yokohama Chinatown.
There are 8 gates (but 4 main gates) in Yokohama Chinatown.
4 colorful gates stand at the entrances to Chinatown, and 4 more gates can be found within.
If you take a map of Chinatown and draw two straight lines linking the West gate: “延平門” to the East gate: “朝陽門”, and then by linking the North gate: “玄武門” to the South gate: “朱雀門” …
Q: Where and what do you think the intersecting point of the two lines are?
A:The answer is: Kantei-byo Shrine.
This is one manifestation of the energy focus of Feng Shui. Kantei-byo is the ultimate point of airflow focus and power in Yokohama Chinatown.
Although i mentioned earlier that there were a total of 8 gates in Yokohama Chinatown,
There is actually a 9th gate, and that gate is the entrance to:
The Kantei-byo is a gaudily colored temple in the center of Chinatown.
Kantei-byo is the energy center of Chinatown. And so, its four main gates and their respective Gods, guard it.
Constructed in 1873 by Chinese residents, it is dedicated to the Chinese god of good business and prosperity.
Various events and festivals are often held in Yokohama Chinatown, such as Chinese New Year which is usually around the beginning of February.
These are the three main festivals that’re held in Chinatown.
The first & most significant, being Chinese New Year.
The Kanteitan festival is basically held to honor the birthday of “Kan’u” – the shrine’s deity;
in July .
KokkeiSetsu is a festival held here in Fall, to celebrate China’s National Foundation Day.
Kantei-byo is a Chinese shrine dedicated to “Kanwu” who was famous as a general of the well-known Chinese historical novel, “The Romance of Three Kingdoms.” “Kan’u” excelled in his use of power, bravery, justice, loyalty, and also business.
For all these reasons the people of Chinatown have enshrined “Kan’u” as their “God of Business”.
Over the next 100 years, the Great Kanto Earthquake, WWII and numerous fires gave the shrine repeated crushing blows.
But each time, the tough-minded, pious and dedicated people of Chinatown rebuilt it.
Take a look at the gate to the shrine. Four glass-art dragons are protecting the shrine from the roof of the gate. White stone dragons climbing up to heaven decorate the steps.
Very impressive indeed!
There’re also stone statues: Guardian dogs; they usually come in pairs and are alert, in front of the sanctuary.
The stones were carried from Taiwan and carved by masons in Kamakura, Japan.
To check out my post on Kamakura, feel free to click this link.
Look up at the ceiling. Tremendous numbers of ornaments and other colorful decorations might even make you feel giddy as it is richly detailed.
To be honest, it did not feel like i was in a usual Shrine.
The feeling was really different.
More on Yokohama Chinatown
As mentioned above, Chinese immigrants arrived at the seaport. The Chinese were under strict rules in the early days restricting them to a designated area.
Over the years there have been many highs and lows with the Chinese in Yokohama especially during the China – Japan war which started in 1937. But things started to become more harmonious after 1955 and as a jester of goodwill a friendship gate was built and the town was officially recognised as Chukagai or Chinatown.
Yokohama Chinatown is one of Yokohama’s major attractions and is jam packed with some of the best Chinese restaurants in Japan.
There are dining options of all sizes and all pockets from the most expensive and exquisite seafood to the simple dumplings.
All regions of China are represented with dishes including a wide variety of Chinese dishes such as, Cantonese, Beijing, Shanghai and Szechwan.
People will wait in line for hours to have the chance at eating at some of the best restaurants.
Yokohama Chinatown is a perfect place for shopping with so many things you will not find anywhere else in Japan.
For example, China inspired clothing, toys, handcrafts, grocery and other foods and the like.
I think by now, most of you already know how us Japanese are crazy over soft toys.
[ Mainly the Females, mind you! 😉 ]
We Japanese would definitely end up buying a cute little stuffed animal or two, the people here in Yokohama Chinatown are sure aware of that!
Thus, is is well stocked stuffed with Panda bears.
Dumplings, Ramen noodles and small bite size treats are sold in dozens of small stands and windows throughout the precinct and are just delicious.
Even some of the more mysterious looking ones can often be quiet tasty.
The area is a thriving and bustling area during the day but nothing will prepare you for the spectacular of night when the lanterns and neon comes on.
It is a truly spectacular experience just to soak up the atmosphere, of the amazing sights and smells.
Yokohama Chinatown is truly beautiful at night!
You might really feel as though you’re in China!
I told you so! =D
We went for drinks here, after dinner.
The finger food was really good!
And I ended up spending the night in Yokohama as I missed the last train!
Thank god i had a nice friend staying here and he borrowed me his clothes!!
This is tomorrow’s OOTD , and that’s gonna be another post for another day!!
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