Yokohama, Tokyo’s neighboring major city, offers a blend and many cultures. With deep rooted ties to the West, its colonial architecture and red brick pathways transports visitors from hustle and bustle of Japanese cities to a quaint European town.
In the midst of these neighborhoods, though, there is also an area known as Yokohama Chukagai (Yokohama Chinatown) where visitors are yet again transported into another world.
Setting the Scene: Yokohama Chinatown
Yokohama Chinatown is not only the largest Chinatown in Japan, but in all of Asia. Here, Chinese can be heard just as often or more than Japanese. Some 3,000 to 4,000 Chinese and their families live and work in the 300 square meter town. The community delivers heightened ways for visitors to experience and enjoy Chinese culture, goods, and food all without having to fly to its nearby country.
Enter through its beautiful and colorful gates to indulge in a day of exploring with traditional drinks and food in hand in the form called: Tabearuki (食べ歩き). This translates to “the act of walking and eating” (or "snackwalking") - something that is often frowned upon in Japan, but considered acceptable only when there are certain vendors and event where it’s designated as allowed. This includes outdoor festivals and Chinatown.
Check out the list below for the best - and some of the cutest - eats in Chinatown that you can savor without losing any time to explore. The order you savor them in is all up to you!
Stop #1: Xiaolongbao (Steam Bun) @ Wángfǔjǐng
These little steamed buns have taken over as craze all over the world with the rise of one famous chain from Taiwan. But there are places to enjoy them without having to wait in long lines to sit down, or having to travel far away. The xiaolongbao at Wángfǔjǐng are made right in front of your eyes, and you can enjoy freshly handmade and steamed green, yellow, and orange buns while walking or watching the chefs make more. These thick and chewy buns come piping hot, so beware when you take your first bite. It’ll be packed with warm and rich flavors created by vegetables, pork, and a Chinese favorite: fukahire shark fin. Add a little vinegar or soy sauce to change up the flavors and make sure to watch the TV segment playing on loop inside the shop to see how to eat them properly without making a mess.
- Address 〒231-0023 神奈川県横浜市中区山下町191-24 / 191-24 Yamashita-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, 231-0023
Price: Mix Xiaolongbao (vegetables x2, pork x2, and shark fin x2) ¥850
Hours: 10:00 – 21:00
Stop #2: Egg Tart @ Douhatsu
Right across the street from the xiaolongbao is another famous delicacy, sweet egg tarts. These petite pie-like tarts have a buttery flakey outer layer, and creamy sweet inner layer that tastes more like a cake than egg. While the original egg tart is the most popular, there are also coconut and milk tarts that can be enjoyed. Devour them as is (a bit cooled down) or take them away and heat up for a creamier taste.
- Address 〒231-0023 神奈川県横浜市中区山下町148 / 148 Yamashita-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, 231-0023
Price: ¥180 for one
Hours: 11:00 - 21:30
Stop #3: Peking Duck @ Chinese Restaurant
The window to purchase the Peking duck wrap can be found right outside of this famous Peking duck restaurant. A famous Chinese restaurant specializing in, of course, Peking duck, the side shop offers a glimpse of its famed dish on a budget and on a whim. The slice of Peking duck is paired with Asian radish, topped with sweet glaze sauce, all wrapped up in a Chinese-type tortilla. Enjoy the wrap while wandering through nearby shops and temples.
- Address 〒231-0023 神奈川県横浜市中区山下町202-8 / 202-8 Yamashita-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, 231-0023
Hours: 11:00 – 23:00
Stop #4: Bubble Tea @ Chai Tea Cafe
Take a break from all the eating and strolling at the cute Chai Tea Café with its oriental atmosphere. The inside of this tea shop is reminiscent of a peaceful oasis. Occupying the first and second floors, there are hammocks for swings or tables and couches equipped with colorful cushions for maximum comfort. A great place to chat with friends, people-watch out the window, and to plan your next moves. The most popular drink here is the Japanese-style sweet kinako (roasted soybean flour) and whipped cream topped bubble tea, but there are dozens to choose from. Chai Tea Cafe’s teas can also be made with soymilk! With Eastern-Asian influences all around, don’t miss checking out the ethnic shops that surround the cafe. Many Indian and Nepalese-influenced goods can be found at these shops.
Chai Tea CafeChai Tea Cafe
- Address 〒231-0023 神奈川県横浜市中区山下町80 / 80 Yamashita-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, 231-0023
Price: ¥480 ~
Hours: 11:30 - 20:00 (open until 21:00 on Saturdays and the day before public holidays)
Stop #5: Panda Steam Bun @ Rouishin
After a little break and satisfying your sweet-tooth, get back on the streets to check out one of Chinatown’s most famous and picture-worthy treats: the panda steam bun. No, the meat inside isn’t made from panda, but the decoration on the outside is a reminder of the cute animal precious to China. One of the oldest establishments in Chinatown, Rouishin sells colorful panda steam buns in various flavors from the classic pork bun to matcha-filled buns. Step around the corner from the food vendor to find its store filled solely with panda-themed goods likes stickers, stationery goods, kitchenware, toys, and clothing.
- Address 〒231-0023 神奈川県横浜市中区山下町145 / 145 Yamashita-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, 231-0023
Price: Panda Steamed Pork Buns ¥300, Pig Steamed Pork Buns ¥350
Hours: 10:30 - 20:45 (open until 21:45 on Saturdays and holidays)
Stop #6: Mooncakes @ Jukei Hanten
The best way to finish off a day of walking and eating is with a little gift to take home. Mooncakes from Jukei Hanten come wrapped, so you can take them home to savour later, or still choose to eat them right then. A sweet cake enjoyed mainly around the Chinese holidays, mooncakes come with a vast variety of designs and flavors that represent different types of fortunes. Have a little chat with the lively staff of the shop while picking out a few cakes to take home.
- Address 〒231-0023 神奈川県横浜市中区山下町164 / 164 Yamashita-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, 231-0023
Price: Mooncakes \248~
Hours: 11:30 – 21:00
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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