One of the three largest Chinatowns in Japan, along with Yokohama and Kobe
Nagasaki Chinatown, located in Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture, is one of the three largest Chinatowns in Japan, along with the Chinatowns in Yokohama and Kobe. Even during the Edo Period (1603-1868), when national isolation was the basic national policy, Nagasaki was opened as an exception for trade with China. At its peak, it is said that there were about 10,000 Chinese residents in Nagasaki City, mainly those from Fujian. However, Chinese houses thereafter became confined to the hills for a long time. After the Chinese houses were abandoned with the opening of Japan to foreign countries in 1859, the Chinese residents in Nagasaki transferred to Shinchi Town. Thus, a Chinatown was formed, gradually developing into the current unique sightseeing spot with about 40 stores, including Chinese restaurants, confectionery stores, and China-made souvenir stores.
The vermilion-lacquered Chinese gates in each of the four sides of Chinatown were constructed by craftsmen and materials from Fuzhou, China, with a wish to develop into a Chinatown comparable to those of Yokohama and Kobe. The notable characteristic of the gates is that they carry the sculpture of the god of the four directions, that is, Azure Dragon for the east gate, White Tiger for the west gate, Vermilion Bird for the south gate, and Black Tortoise for the north gate. The Nagasaki Lantern Festival is held in the town every February. Although it had originally been a festival for the residents of the Chinatown celebrating the Chinese New Year, the colorful lantern decorations gradually gained a reputation and spread to regions outside of Chinatown as well. Now there are as many as 15,000 Chinese lanterns decorating the streets, attracting tourists from throughout the country.
- Shinchi-machi, Nagasaki City, Nagasaki