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Photo By: PIXTA/ まちゃー
Region
Kyushu
Island
Kyushu
Largest City
Nagasaki
Population
1,516,536

Nagasaki Chinatown

Come walk the streets of Japan’s oldest Chinatown

By Elizabeth Sok

  • Feb. 9 - 25, 2024
Out of the three main Chinatowns in Japan, the Nagasaki Chinatown is the oldest. With the closing of Japan to most foreign trade from the 17th to 19th centuries, Chinese merchants were forced to trade with their Japanese counterparts from Tojin Yashiki, an area that would later develop into today’s Chinatown. While the city’s Dejima district is famous for facilitating Dutch trade during Japan’s era of seclusion, the historical Chinese Quarters had both a larger population and a greater volume of trade.

Chinatown covers about 250 square meters of the downtown core and contains roughly 40 shops and restaurants.

There are four primary entrances and each is marked by a massive gate and an accompanying guardian figure. On the north end resides a black tortoise, an azure dragon to the east, a vermillion bird on the south side and a white tiger at the western gate.

Sampling Nagasaki’s Specialty Foods

Nagasaki Chinatown

Photo by: PIXTA/ K321 A town brimming with local flavor, literally!

As you make your way around Chinatown, why not explore the restaurants for some local specialties that blend Chinese and Japanese influences? In the early 20th century, a Chinese restaurant owner created a dish drawing on Fujian cuisine that was cheap for Chinese students studying abroad in Nagasaki.

The result was chanpon, a noodle dish combining seafood, pork and vegetables in lard before being joined with thick noodles and a pork-based broth. Check out the famous main branch of Kozanro to try the popular dish!

Sara udon, another Nagasaki specialty dish, has fried vegetables, such as bean sprouts, Chinese cabbage and other vegetables accompanying pork and seafood on a bed of fried noodles. Pop into the Taiwanese restaurant Lao Lee to taste the rich flavors of this nostalgic dish.

Nagasaki Lantern Festival

Nagasaki Chinatown

Photo by: PIXTA/ TOMO Expect to over 15,000 different types of lanterns light up the night.

While shopping, food and history are great reasons to visit Nagasaki’s Chinatown, you should also check out the Lantern Festival if you’re lucky enough to visit the city in February. In celebration of the Chinese New Year which follows the lunar calendar, the Nagasaki Lantern Festival is the largest of its kind in Japan.

With over 15,000 illuminated lanterns filling the streets of Chinatown and the surrounding area, this festival is not to be missed. In addition to the beautiful lights, visitors can catch Chinese acrobat shows, parades and a Chinese Lion Dance. Also remember to confirm what days the festival will be held as they can differ slightly year to year.

How To Get There

Address

By train

Take Tram Line 1 or 5 and get off at the Shinchi Chinatown stop. Nagasaki Chinatown is a short walk away.

Where To Stay

Casa Blanca Guesthouse
  • 7-16 Dozamachi, Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki, 850-0841 Japan
  • ¥3,449 - ¥62,824
  • 0.0 km
Dormy Inn Nagasaki Shinchi Chukagai
  • 7-24 Dozamachi, Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki, 850-0841 Japan
  • ¥7,315 - ¥43,120
  • 4.36/5 (3,643 reviews)
  • 0.0 km
Candeo Hotels Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown
  • 3-12 Dozamachi, Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki, 850-0841 Japan
  • ¥11,800 - ¥47,400
  • 4.42/5 (1,027 reviews)
  • 0.1 km
Hotel JAL City Nagasaki
  • 13-10 Shinchimachi, Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki, 850-0842 Japan
  • ¥7,600 - ¥30,590
  • 4.49/5 (2,389 reviews)
  • 0.1 km
Nagasaki Bus Terminal Hotel
  • 1-14 Shinchimachi, Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki, 850-0842 Japan
  • ¥7,410 - ¥11,590
  • 3.82/5 (1,754 reviews)
  • 0.2 km

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