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2022.01 East meets West—Comparing Yokohama’s Most Vibrant Areas [PR]

Yokohama is a port city only 30 minutes by train from Tokyo. Since the port opened to international trade in 1859, a variety of cultures have developed through exchanges with the international community. In Yokohama Chinatown and Yokohama Motomachi Shopping Street, you can feel this blend of cultures firsthand. Both areas are easily accessible on foot Yamashita Park , making them ideal additions to your Yokohama itinerary. Discover the charms of these very different parts of Yokohama.

 

Yokohama Chinatown

 

With about 600 Chinese stores and restaurants in the area, this is one of the largest Chinatowns in the world. Traditional features such as the ornate pailou (gates) built on the concepts of Feng Shui, and the beautiful Kuan Ti Miao Temple, allow you to get a taste of Chinese culture as well.

 

Yokohama Chinatown is one of the largest Chinatowns in the world.

 

The elaborate Kuan Ti Miao Temple, established in 1886, is a must-visit.

 

Taste the Four Great Cuisines of China

 

Yokohama Chinatown is lined with famous restaurants serving the four major cuisines of China: Beijing, Shanghai, Sichuan, and Guangdong (Canton). Countless yum cha restaurants offer a wide variety of dim sum, making it a fun area to compare different types of food. With so many popular restaurants, often with long lines, it pays to do some research beforehand, to avoid feeling overwhelmed by choice.

 

Jukei Hanten (Chungking Chinese Szechwan Restaurant ) has been celebrated for its Sichuan cuisine since 1959 (image courtesy of Jukei Hanten).

 

Enjoy a variety of authentic Sichuan dishes at Jukei Hanten (Chungking Chinese Szechwan Restaurant) (Image courtesy of Jukei Hanten. This image is for illustration purposes only).

 

White tantanmen (dandan noodles) at Jukei Sarou (Chungking Dim Sum House) look mild, but are surprisingly spicy.

 

Chinese Tea & Sweets

 

The streets of Yokohama Chinatown are lined with restaurants, and also with shops selling snacks and souvenirs. Bamboo steamers packed with soft, steaming hot pork buns entice hungry visitors to buy some gourmet foods perfect for takeout. Goma dango (sesame balls), sweets such as mooncakes, and fragrant Chinese tea are also popular. 

 

Mooncakes and egg tarts are ideal to eat on the spot or take home as souvenirs (image courtesy of Douhatsu Shinkan. This image is for illustration purposes only).

 

Experience Chinese Culture

 

A stroll through Chinatown is a fun way to experience the variety of Chinese culture. You can visit the Kuan Ti Miao Temple to marvel at the ornate decorations, or see traditional Chinese art forms such as hana moji (flower pictograms) and henmen shows (mask transformation performances), believed to bring good luck. If you get tired feet from exploring, try one of the many foot massage services in the area.

 

The art of hana moji (flower pictograms) has a tradition of over 2000 years. You can choose words or characters that have a meaning, such as happiness, and have them drawn for you (Yokohama Daisekai).

 

You can have your pictogram framed. Hanging it in your home is believed to bring good luck (Yokohama Daisekai).

 

Yokohama Motomachi Shopping Street

 

This elegant shopping area developed in the nineteenth century when the port of Yokohama opened and foreign residents from nearby Yamate came here to shop. There were numerous shops that focused on handcrafted products. In the 1970s, these artisanal accessories and traditional styles gave rise to a fashion trend known as “hamatora” (similar to “preppy” fashion) that became a nationwide phenomenon. A number of well-established shops have remained popular through the years.

 

Yokohama Motomachi Shopping Street

 

Brands Born in Yokohama

 

The 600-meter-long street is dotted with boutiques that sparked the hamatora boom such as fashion brand Fukuzo, shoe maker Mihama, and original handbag brand Kitamura. These brands are characterized by their high quality and timeless designs, and remain popular today.

 

Hamatora style is distinguished by its quality and durability, and timeless designs (Fukuzo).

 

Clothes are made by hand in the atelier inside the Fukuzo store.

 

Kitamura is a popular store that sells handbags, leather accessories, and order-made suits.

 

Kitamura accessories include the ever popular hamatora styles along with playful designs.

 

Motomachi Cuisine

 

The area around Motomachi Shopping Street is dotted with unique gourmet spots such as Yokohama Motomachi Mutekiro, a French restaurant that advocates “Yokohama-French" cuisine, seasonal dishes with French tradition and Japanese flair, and Shoyu Cafe Motomachi, a popular cafe known for its nama (raw) custard pudding and soy sauce bread. Take your time, and savor dishes that you can only eat in Motomachi.

 

The tatami room with table, chairs, and stained glass creates an elegant atmosphere at Mutekiro (image courtesy of Mutekiro).

 

Dishes are made with fresh ingredients, and incorporate the mentality of local production for local consumption. The tableware is also a Yokohama brand, and complements the food (image courtesy of Mutekiro. This image is for illustration purposes only).

 

The innovative nama or raw pudding at Shoyu Cafe Motomachi: mix the milk mousse, raw egg yolks, and caramel yourself, to create a completed pudding in your mouth (This image is for illustration purposes only).

 

Soy sauce bread, made with unrefined soy sauce, is one of the specialties of Shoyu Cafe Motomachi. The shirasu (whitebait) sandwich, where you grate and add fresh wasabi yourself, is also popular (This image is for illustration purposes only).

 

Motomachi’s Charming Sale

 

The “Charming Sale" is a very popular sales event held every February and September on Motomachi Shopping Street. About 230 establishments offer generous discounts, including apparel and jewelery stores, and even restaurants. In recent years, special sales have been held in June as well, so check the sales schedule before you visit.

 

Popular items at Kitamura. Pick up some luxury bargains during the Charming Sale.

 

Yokohama is easy to access from Tokyo but to make the most of the beautiful port city, it is better to stay at least one night. Take the time to enjoy the shopping and gourmet options, and read about other popular destinations and unique experiences in the bay area.

 

Related Links

 

Seven Unique Ways to Experience Yokohama [PR]

WEB:https://www.japan.travel/en/japan-magazine/seven-unique-ways-experience-yokohama/

YOKOHAMA OFFICIAL VISTORS’ GUIDE

WEB:https://www.yokohamajapan.com/

Facebook【Yokohama Visitors Guide】

WEB:https://www.facebook.com/DISCOVERYOKOHAMA.JAPAN

Yokohama Chinatown

WEB:https://www.chinatown.or.jp/

Select a language from the Japanese page

Kuan Ti Miao

WEB:https://yokohama-kanteibyo.com/en/ 

Jukei Hanten (Chungking Chinese Szechwan Restaurant)

WEB:ttps://www.jukeihanten.com/ (Japanese)

Jukei Sarou (Chungking Dim Sum House)

WEB:https://www.jukeihanten.com/sarou_honten/ (Japanese)

Douhatsu Shinkan

WEB:http://www.douhatsu.co.jp/sinkan/ (Japanese)

Yokohama Daisekai (Hana Emoji: Flower Pictograms)

WEB:https://www.daska.jp/about

Select a language from the Japanese page

Yokohama Motomachi Shopping Street

WEB:https://www.motomachi.or.jp/en/

Fukuzo

WEB:https://fukuzo.com/ (Japanese)

Kitamura

WEB:https://www.motomachi-kitamura.com/en/ 

Mutekiro

WEB:https://www.mutekiro.com/ (Japanese)

Syouyucafe Motomachi Cafe Elysee-Hikaru

WEB:https://elysee-hikaru.com/motomachi/ (Japanese)

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