It is said that Chinese population is large enough to create a little community in every single country all around the world during the process of cultural, economic and political exchange. The story of Chinatown in Japan can be told from the moment some first Chinese appeared in Japan to start business then attracting other relatives and merchants from the mainland, to how they have protected fully and originally their beautiful culture in the middle of Japan. Nowadays, three Chinatowns are recorded to take shape inside Japan. Along with Yokohama and Nagasaki, Nankinmachi, the Chinatown in Kobe city is a remarkably different color on the whole picture of Japanese culture. Being the only one in the region of tourism Kansai, Nankinmachi has become not only a top community for Chinese but also a leading gourmet and shopping area in the region.


The birth of Nankinmachi is believed to be given in 1868 when Kobe city was opened for Chinese immigrants and they chose the western end of the foreign district to live. At that time, Japanese called these Chinese Nanking people, leading to the name of Nanking town or Nankinmachi. Attracting more and more Chinese businessmen, the town had its flourishing time in 1920s. Unfortunately, Nankinmachi had affected so much from the wars, contributing to the collapse under the allied bombings in the World War II. The remaining community of Chinese here together rebuilt the town and they even did it again after the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995. Overcoming heart breaking, Nankinmachi once again becomes crowded and lively town, gathering about more than 10000 people to live.



Visitors coming to Nankinmachi will be impressed by the eye catching structure of 4 streets and a large performance area in the centre. The fief of Nankinmachi is defined by a system of three gates including Changan Gate in the east, Xian Gate in the west,and Nanlou Gate in the south. They are greatly impressive architectures with pairs of lions guarding a pavilion with stone carvings of the 12 Chinese zodiac, some sort of familiar images seen around China. That is why they say what moving to Kobe is not only Chinese but also their culture. But the valuable things are waiting for you behind the gates, inside the world stretching about 270 meters from east to west and 110 meters from north to south.


Nothing better than Nankinmachi when you are around Kobe and want some Chinese food. More than 100 Chinese restaurants are ready to give you the authentic flavor of Chinese cuisine including specialities from Guangdong, Beijing, Shanghai, and Sichuan. The Chinese aroma is full inside the little dim sum, dumplings, buns, and Chinese pastries. The sweets are made to be lovely faces of panda, pig and other animals, sold side by side with skewers of chicken and fried tofu. Not only Chinese food, restaurants in Nankinmachi serve also Japanese and Western food, especially the speciality beef of Kobe. Some mahjong clubs and souvenir shops appear to break the endless chain of restaurants.

Nankinmachi will be amazingly crowded in some occasions of Chinese festivals or holidays such as Chinese New Year celebrations, the Mid-autumn Festival, the Lantern Fair, and the Koryu-shunpusai Festival with traditional Chinese performing arts of bustling lion and dragon dance in music and light.

Open time: 

Vary by shop or restaurant, mainly from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm and closed on Sunday.


Vary by shop or restaurant

How to access: 

-Take a 5 minute walk south from JR and Hanshin Motomachi Stations.

-Take a 10 minute walk southwest from Hankyu Sannomiya Station.