Yokohama China town
Shopping/Entertainment | Avg price: ¥2500 | English Available: None (Unknown)
Great town, disappointing Chinatown
I grew up in New York City, so it was always going to be really difficult to find a Chinatown that really felt like Chinatown. Yet when I first came to Japan, I was willing to make some concessions for Yokohama's Chinatown as long as it delievered. It definitely did not. If I were writing this at that time here's where I would stop give 1 star and move on. There is a pretty big Xiao Long Bao (soup dumpling) place which brings a little bit of authenticity and flavor. However for the most part, all the buffet restaurants are the same and severely bland, the street food isn't all that different from what you can get elsewhere in Japan and there's two or three Chinese looking parks you could see within a half hour. I haven't really found much Szechuan, no hotpot, absolutely no Xian, and not really any dim sum. There was a short lived Hong Kong jerky place, and I've never been able to find a single baked pork bun. So variety is low and not so different from any Japanese chain so why bother? Well, recently Chinatown's had a few interesting spots pop up, among them is the amazing cafe Tsukikoya Coffee, a cafe/roaster that usually has around 12-14 coffee beans from all over the coffee belt for sale or drink. You can choose your beans and even have them as an espresso or cappuccino. There's also Yokohama Chocolate Factory which I'd say is so far the best chocolate you can get in Yokohama for a reasonable price. There's even a halal malayasian restaurant that's opened up and countless bars on the outskirts of the area. I've been to Chinatown countless times in the past year, but it's almost never been for the "china town."
A relatively boring Chinatown
Before moving to Yokohama, I lived in Hyogo prefecture--about 15 minutes from Kobe. Now, Kobe has a huge and very interesting Chinatown. So, moving to Yokohama, I was excited to check out one of the most famous Chinatowns in Japan. (I have two of the three "big ones" crossed off... Only one to go!) I was a bit disappointed when I came for the first time. It was tinier than I thought it would be and felt kind of unauthentic. Walking up and down the main street, it was the same type of shop over and over again. The back streets were a bit more interesting, as the shops got less polished and a bit sleazier. I recommend checking those out first. Most places are either snacks or all you can eat courses. The restaurants all have slightly varying menus and different prices. I'd recommend checking out a few before making your decision, so you can make sure that your place has what you want to eat for dim sum. Overall, it's an okay place to visit. I generally take friends and family there when they're in town, but I'm never craving Chinese food enough to head over there all by myself. That's what regular Chinese restaurants are for!
Not worth visiting if you don't plan to eat
I used to live near the street so I took it quite a lot on my way to the docks. On my first few visits, I couldn't understand the hype about the place. I have been to other China Towns around the world and visually Yokohama is dismal in comparison. However, when I finally went there to eat, I understood the popularity. And it turns out that the food is known to be the best of all the Chinatown around the world. It is a great place to enjoy some Chinese food and Chinese style restaurants. There is quite a good choice of restaurants, so I would advise researching in advance if you are stuck for time. Otherwise you can walk around leisurely and check out the menus and decor of the various eateries before you settle on a place. On the weekend there are often queues around lunch time, so that is something else you might want to take into consideration. The area is much smaller than I had expected and there are very few Chinese actually living in the area. But there is a buzz there at the weekend and the food will please connoisseurs of any age.
Food and shopping in Chinatown
I have visited Yokohama Chinatown many times. This Chinatown is known as one of the largest Chinatown in asia. The most important purpose of my visit is eating tasty and delicious Chinese food. Another reason of my visit is looking the lively crowd of people. Since I am a crowd lover and food lover, Chinatown is good place for me to visit. There are lots and lots of Chinese restaurants and shops in this street. The average price of eat and drink will be around 3000 yen. If you love Chinese food and Chinese shopping, this is a place to visit. But sometimes you have to wait for a long crowd to get your turn to buy foods. If you are not a crowd lover, please avoid the weekends or Japanese calendar holidays. Access: Motomachi-chukagai station on Minatomirai line ( approx. 8 minutes from Yokohama station, 210 yen) or Ishikawacho station on JR Negishi line (approx. 7 minutes from Yokohama station, 160 yen)
Motomachi chukagai or Ishikawacho