Nankinmachi is a small area in Kobe’s Motomachi District. It is one of the only three designated Chinatowns in Japan, along with the Yokohama Chinatown and Nagasaki Chinatown.
Nankinmachi originated in 1868, when Kobe's port was opened to foreigners including Chinese immigrants, and today thrives as a center of Chinese culture and activity throughout the Kansai region.
Like other Chinatowns in Japan, Nankinmachi is not only an area for the Chinese community, but also a popular tourist attraction and shopping and dining district.
The area has over a hundred Chinese restaurants, shops, and a Chinese temple dedicated to Guan Yu.
Along the streets of Nankinmachi are restaurants and stalls that serve popular items such as Chinese pastries, Ramen, Steamed Buns "Manju", and various other Chinese dishes, many of which have been Japanized to a certain degree.
If you’d like to avoid the crowd you’d better go there on a weekday if you can, as the weekends are often manic; the crowded streets are packed with Japanese visitors as well as local Chinese residents looking for a taste of home.
Festivals and performances are held in the central square throughout the year including the mid-autumn festival in September and of course Chinese New Year in late January/early February, during which New Year's delicacies and Moon Cakes appear. Nankinmachi itself is pretty small and you can probably see everything it has to offer within an hour or two.
So you may want to combine a visit to Nankinmachi with a trip to Kobe Harbourland, which is just about 10 minutes’ walk from Nankinmachi and offers attractions like the Mosaic Shopping Mall, Kobe Port Tower and the Kobe Maritime Museum.
Nankinmachi is five minutes’ walk north of Meriken Park, and also five minutes’ walk from JR and Hanshin Motomachi Stations. Motomachi Train Station is 3 minutes from Sannomiya Station, 25 min from Osaka Station on the JR Kobe Line, and 30 min from Umeda Station on the Hanshin Main Line.
From Kyoto you can reach Sannomiya Station in about 50 minutes. Visit Tourist Information Center for maps.
Kobe Chinatown "Nankinmachi" - Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo Prefecture