Yokohama is a port city located in Kanagawa prefecture, which is south of the capital of Japan, Tokyo. Being a port city, it has historically attracted both Japanese and international tourists and has developed into one of the most international cities in Japan. Yokohama is where you will find the biggest Chinatown in Japan, and has also recently attracted other Asian cultures where you can see the influences of those cultures around Chinatown today.
Visit Yokohama Chinatown
In Japanese, “Chukagai” means “Chinatown”, and when people visit Yokohama, this is one of the most popular destinations to visit. In order to go to Yokohama Chinatown, you can take the Minatomirai Line to Motomachi Chukagai Station, or the JR Kyoku Tohoku Line to Ishikawacho Station and walk to Yokohama Chinatown. From Motomachi Chukagai Station, Chinatown is right in front of the station, but from Ishikawacho Station, it takes less than 10 minutes to walk to Chinatown, from either of the stations. Whichever the direction you approach Chinatown, you will be greeted by impressive gates that are colored in different shades of blue and red. With the Chinese New Year taking place in February, it is a fun and attractive place to visit for any traveler. This is where you find China in Japan!
Yummy Chinese street food
The best and the easiest way to experience a new culture is through food. When you are in Chinatown, it is impossible to resist the food being brought in by yummy smells from all directions. You can perhaps go into a nice restaurant, but if you like to try different things, you can certainly try eating some street food.
One of the most popular items you can find on the streets of Yokohama Chinatown is Chinese buns. When you see steam coming out from the store front, more than likely they will be making Chinese buns. The most traditional ones have pork meat fillings, but you can also find unique buns with red bean fillings and custards that are sweet. On a cold winter day, get a hot Chinese bun and hold it in your hands, it will act as a source of heat to warm up your hands and stomach.
Warm up with spicy Asian food at Chai Tea Café
Yokohama’s main attraction is Chinatown, but if you walk around here, you can also find cuisines from other parts of Asia. Of course, most people go to Yokohama Chinatown for the delicious Chinese food, but if you are an expert on the area, why not try something else?
At Chai Tea Café, within few minutes from Motomachi Chukagai station, you can find Vietnamese, Thai, and Indian food with various chai teas for brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner time. During the winter, you can warm up with a little spicy Vietnamese pho or try an Indian curry. The menu indicates the level of spiciness, so if you like spicy food, you can try Indian shrimp and vegetable green curry that has the maximum spiciness at this café, or if you can’t eat a lot of spicy food, try a little of the spicy beef pho.
The lunch menu is available between 11:00 ~ 15:00 for 850 JPY (7 USD), which comes with a salad, a main, and a drink. This is indeed a chai tea café, so definitely choose chai tea to finish off your meal!
Decorate your house in Asian style
Something special about Chai Tea Café is that its third and fourth floors are boutiques that carry Asian goods. From colorful Bali clocks to comfy chairs, you can find many different unique home decors that will brighten your house. Many of these items are imported from other Asian countries or inspired by them, thus designed by Japanese designers.
As well as Chai Tea Café, you find Cayhane stores all around Yokohama Chinatown. Cayhane stores are popular among people who enjoy fashionable ethnic styles. For many people around the world, Japan is an exotic country, but for many Japanese, other Asian countries are exotic countries and home decors, fashion, and small miscellaneous goods imported or inspired by ethnic Asian styles are popular. As indicated, some goods are imported, but at Cayhane, you also find many original items that you can only find at these stores. So if you like various Asian ethnic styles, you might be able to find something unique at these stores.
How many Asia can you find in Yokohama?
With the recent growth of tourism in Japan, you start seeing more tourists in Japan from a broader range of countries. Having said that, the majority of the population is still strongly Japanese, and you do not find a lot of other cultural influences on the streets of Japan. Yokohama, though, is little different. Being a historical port city, it has attracted many international settlers and the most successful ones are Chinese people who have created Yokohama Chinatown. Visiting Yokohama Chinatown is popular among both Japanese and international tourists, and this is where you’ll discover a gateway to other exotic Asian countries.
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