Chinatown's center square is marked by a small lantern pavilion with a Chinese boy and girl in front. The square is surrounded by twelve carved statures representing the zodiac signs imported from China. Each says something about not climbing on sitting on them. The square is surrounded by some of the most popular restaurants in Chinatown, including one that had at least 50 people in line as early as 1100 in the morning.
The eastern gate in Chinatown is called Changan Gate. It is named after the ancient city of Changan, China, now known as Xian. Xian is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. Xian marks the start of the Silk Road and it houses the famous Terracotta Army.
Xian Gate marks the west side of Kobe's Chinatown. The gate is named after Xian China, one of the oldest cities in China and one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. Xian marks the start of the Silk Road and it houses the famous Terracotta Army.
Nanluo Gate is the southern gate in Kobe's Chinatown. I believe the gate is named after Nanluoguxiang, an ancient town that is now part of Beijing. The town was established in the late 13th or early 14th Century during the Yuan Dynasty.
Chinatown, located just south of Motomachi Station, is one of Kobe's more interesting sites. One of only three official Chinatowns in Japan, this one is a compact four city blocks, with just two main streets that form a cross. The Chinese settled here, on the Western side of the city's foreigners' area, after Japan opened to international trade in 1868.
Kobe is home to one of Japan's three most famous Chinatowns (Yokohama and Nagasaki being the other two), so when the Chinese New Year arrives (setsubun), the Chinatowns are great places to visit, and Kobe is no exception!
Although the Chinatown in Kobe is relatively small, during the Chinese New Year, the performances and festivities are plentiful and occur from morning on through the evening. The actual day of the Lunar New Year is the best time to go, because they offer the most activities, some of which are only performed on that day however, the performances and celebrations last the entire week, and the final days also have more festivities! The performances are well-put together and the crowds are honestly not that bad. If you can't visit during the New Years, the Chinatown is still a nice place to go for good food and shopping!
(Because this holiday is based on the Lunar Calendar, the date changes every year, so check the day of the Chinese New Year for the year that you will be here. It always occurs around late January or early February.)
Kobe is home to a large Chinese community. However, it is nowhere near the Chinatowns in North America. Nankinmachi is a pedestrian-only lane about 1 km long guarded on both ends by Chinese arches. It is a good place to stroll in the evenings when the street is illuminated gaudily in shades of red. However, the food served at the restaurants are not the best of Chinese food. There are some side lanes off the main street where you can find small family-run Japanese restaurants, some of which serve Kobe beef.
Unfortunately, we didn't have much time in Kobe, but we did get the chance to wander around Nanjing-machi.
I was surprised at the name, given the history of what happened in Nanjing during WW2, but it was fun to have a look around.
Check out China Town, the food is cheap and maybe some of the best real chinese food you can get in Japan. The rammen and gyoza comes highly recommended. But be prepared to wait in line for up to 45 minutes for a bowl of rammen, but its worth it. The locals here are also quite friendly, be prepared to get attention like a rock star if you're a foreigner.
nankinmachi is the busy china town of kobe :)) it has a cozy & warm ambience even on the coldest winter days....the crowds that block the streets of japan are present here as well, however, if u don`t wanna be a part of the hussle, u can just sit back in a cafe & watch the people traffic :))
there are numerous restaurants, gift shops with everything from chinese food stuffs to china dresses and plastic toys made in taiwan :D
For those who have visited Chinatowns in different countries, you`ll find this one a little unique. There are food stalls lining the main street selling fried chicken, pork and chicken buns, gyoza, noodle dishes, sesame balls, & other small dishes and finger foods. People are lined up to buy the food & you can see people standing in corners eating their food.
Kobe`s Chinatown has the same aroma as other Chinatown`s (delicious Chinese food smells!!) but a little cleaner than most.
Also, most of the people who work here DON`T speak Chinese! Most of the establishments are Japanese owned, not Chinese owned like in other Chinatowns.
But still, come here for the great food! Beware the weekends when it gets really crowded & you can hardly walk without bumping into someone!!