Eat & Drink
A criss-cross of shop and restaurant-filled lanes stretching over a block in downtown Nagasaki, Japan's oldest Chinatown provides a riveting insight into one of the country's earliest immigrant cultures.
Get off at Tsukimachi on the Nagasaki green and blue tram lines. From here you should be able to see the Shinchi Chinatown entrance.
Along with the Dutch, the Chinese were the only traders allowed to settle in Nagasaki during Japan's long period of isolation from the 17th to the end of the 19th century. With over 10,000 residents living in the city at the peak of trade, Chinese culture has done nothing but enrich Nagasaki, its influences permeating and carrying through to the modern day.
A wonderful example is the Nagasaki Lantern Festival, started by settlers to celebrate Chinese New Year. A not-to-be-missed event and famous for vividly colored illuminations that transform the city's landscape, the festival is the largest Chinese New Year Celebration in Japan.
When approaching Shinchi China Town, the first thing you will see are the large red gates. Markers from which to explore the tranquil neighborhood within, wander the atmospheric lanes and keep your eye out for Chinese-style temples and other buildings.
Constructed by Chinese craftsmen with materials from Fuzhou, China, the gates boast their own guardian of the four directions. Look out for an azure dragon in the east; to the west, a white tiger; to the south, a vermillion bird; and to the north, a black tortoise.
Famed for the Chinese-influenced dishes of chanpon and sara udon, Nagasaki's Chinatown is the best place to sample these unique foods. Other notable delicacies to look out for are yori-yori, a bread-like sweet that is beautifully twisted before it is baked. For something more familiar, don't miss kakuni manju, steamed buns with Chinese braised pork inside.