If Nagasaki’s Chinatown is Japan’s oldest and most historic, Yokohama’s Chinatown, also known as Chukagai 中華街, is the nation’s largest and most bustling. Located within the former foreign settlement of Kannai, alongside its European sibling, Bashamichi, the Chinese settlement was opened for business in 1859, almost immediately after Yokohama was opened up as a treaty port.
The most historic edifice in the Chinese district is the Temple to Guan Yu, or the Kanteibyo 關帝廟 in Japanese. Guan Yu 關羽 was a historic character that lived during the Three Kingdoms Period (220 – 280 A.D.) in China, and who has been canonised in the Chinese pantheon of deities as the God of War as well as of Brotherhood. The temple was first built in 1873, though it has been successfully ravaged by earthquakes and the present incarnation is a reconstruction completed in 2000.
Otherwise, the area’s attraction lies in its many streets dedicated to Chinese food, snacks, tea and souvenirs. While there aren’t many Chinese living in the area today, it still retains a very authentic atmosphere, no doubt due to the many new Chinese immigrants who have somehow made their way here and who man the storefronts of the many buildings.
All in all, a visit to Yokohama is incomplete without a short mosey into Chinatown.