A stroll in Japan’s little China in Yokohama
The city of Yokohama is like Tokyo’s little brother. The second largest and most populous city after Tokyo. Yokohama is located on Tokyo Bay in the south and is a major commercial hub due to the presence of ports and resultantly heavy trade activity. When Japan opened its ports to the world after a long period of isolation, accelerated trade activity started and the city of Yokohama became the city of foreigners as people from all over the world travelled to this newly born trade market. This caused a lot of exchange of cultures, new religions, traditions, food and other goods started to become part of the Japanese market. Thus began the incarnation of Asia’s biggest Chinatown in the heart of Yokohama city, with its roots dating back to 1859.
Covering 300 meters only, this small place is loaded with Chinese restaurants, souvenir shops and cafes, many of them located in narrow streets. The smell of noodles in a nearby restaurant can easily lure you to try the exquisite Chinese cuisines that evoke your gustatory so much that you beg for more and more. As you walk further into the street, nothing not even a severe OCD can stop you from trying the street food sold on carts, the famous dish called Mangu (steamed buns). The famous chowmein and Peking duck are highly recommended.
After a luxurious lunch, the TenRen’s tea is highly advised and you will feel lighter after the meal. Most tourists get palm readings done just out of fun. Women are usually interested in buying souvenirs and beautiful scarves and fabric from china.
China town has two temples; the Kanteibyo temple is in the centre and was built in honor of a famous Chinese military general. The secong and bigger temple Mazu Miao was built in honor of the Goddess of healing who rescued and healed many fisherman according to Chinese legends.
In 1859, when this city of Yokohama opened its arms to the world, Commodre Matthew Perry created separate districts for the foreign to dwell in and the Chinese immigrants swarmed the city. This district system ended in 1899 and the foreigners were allowed to settle where they wanted as Japanese government cut the slack for foreigners. And so this little China town owes its existence to the early immigrants from China.