Last week, I went for a walk through Yokohama Chinatown, which is actually the largest Chinatown in Japan. It started to develop around Yokohama port when Japan opened their ports to foreign trade in 1859. Next to many Chinese, Hong Kong and Taiwanese restaurants and shops, you can also find one beautiful Chinese temple as well as ten gaudy Chinese style gates.

Gaudy gate at one entrance of Yokohama Chinatown.
Gaudy gate at one entrance of Yokohama Chinatown.
Gaudy gate at one entrance of Yokohama Chinatown.
Another gaudy gate at one entrance of Yokohama Chinatown.

Colorful temple Kanteibyo 関帝廟
The temple was founded in 1862, and while it was destroyed a few times by fires, earthquakes and war over the last decades, it was finally rebuild in 1990 as you can see it now.

Colorful temple Kanteibyo 関帝廟 in the center of Yokohama Chinatown
Colorful temple Kanteibyo 関帝廟 in the center of Yokohama Chinatown

If you want to pray inside, you actually have to pay 500 Yen (~3.50 Euro, ~5 US Dollars), burning incense is 100 Yen.

The inside of Kanteibyo 関帝廟, where an employee helps you to pray correctly.
The inside of Kanteibyo 関帝廟, where an employee helps you to pray correctly.

As my last (forced) Buddhist praying session already dated back to 2013 and I already forgot how to do it, I saved these 600 Yen and went on a hunt for some snacks…
… and found egg tarts! The shop assistant lady was so nice to heat it up for me so I could eat it right away. Thank you!

 

Pandas everywhere!
I spotted a few shops around which sell lots of goods with Panda designs. If you want to stop by one to shop… they are quite hard to miss.

Highly visible store which sells Panda style stuff in Chinatown
Highly visible store which sells Panda style stuff in Chinatown
Another obvious panda store.
Another obvious panda store. With the obvious name “Panda Store” (ぱんだや).

Many streets are decorated with red lanterns and Chinese signs, as well was importunate puffers which will call a foreign girl like me “Missy” all the time. Well, that’s not a good tactic to make me buy something from you. Although, these decorations look more like they were placed to attract more visitors, or like they wanted to build a small China like how dreamy Japanese imagine it to be. Not like I remember China on my trips, but maybe I just did not visit the correct places?

Anyway, just take a walk at the narrow streets, you can find one or another interesting shop, like I did. But more about my talk with a strange but nice lady from Hong Kong later.

A street with lantern decoration and gaudy gate in Yokohama Chinatown
A street with lantern decoration and gaudy gate in Yokohama Chinatown

Have you ever been to any Chinatown before? Do you think it shares any similarities to the real China or have they just become a tourist attraction?

Visiting Yokohama Chinatown 横浜中華街
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