Nankin-machi (China Town)
One of Japan's top three Chinatowns, alongside Yokohama and Nagasaki, you mustn't miss its traditional events, not to mention its diverse array of Chinese cuisine
Nankinmachi is Kobe's leading Chinese gourmet and shopping area, and is counted among Japan's top three Chinatowns. At the eastern end of Nankinmachi stands Changan Gate, with Xian Gate to the west and Nanluo Gate to the south of the district; when you set foot through any of these gates, you enter an exotic world that stretches 270 m from east to west and 110 m from north to south. Boasting more than 100 Chinese restaurants, the district offers visitors the chance to enjoy the authentic flavor of cuisine from an array of Chinese regions, including Guangdong, Beijing, Shanghai, and Sichuan. In addition, there are also shops selling dim sum, sweets, and a variety of general merchandise, so the area is always bustling on weekends and holidays.
Its annual events are another attraction, including the Chinese New Year celebrations, the Mid-autumn Festival, the Lantern Fair, and the Koryu-shunpusai Festival. Of particular note are the Chinese New Year celebrations, which are based on the Chinese festival celebrating the lunar New Year and feature traditional Chinese performing arts, such as the lion dance and the dragon dance, as well as a parade by festival organizers and general participants, in which people dress up as historical figures including Yang Guifei, Kongming (Zhuge Liang), and Liu Bei. The Chinese New Year celebrations have been designated a local intangible folk-cultural asset by the city of Kobe. At night, visitors can enjoy the beautiful lighting in Nankinmachi Square, at the heart of the district. You'll undoubtedly be bewitched by the fantastical setting, in which a three-meter-high pavilion seems to float in the night sky.
Address: From Motomachi-Dori to Sakaemachi-Dori, Chuo-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo
Phone: 078-332-2896 (Nankinmachi Shopping District Promotion Association)
Directions: 5 minutes on foot from Motomachi Station on the JR Kobe Line or Hanshin Railway (30 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station). (Car) 3 minutes from Kyobashi Interchange on Hanshin Expressway Route 3 (Kobe Line).