Nankinmachi is a good place for wandering from one shop to another, sampling your favorites and trying all kinds of foods.
Nankinmachi is one of the most popular tourist spots in Kobe, located on the south-side close to Motomachi Shopping Street, and easy to access during your shopping trip.
There are more than 100 shops in this area of 270m from east to west, and 110m from north to south.
Various kinds of Chinese snacks are sold at the stands in front of the shops.
Xiaolongbao, Gua bao (a.k.a. “Kakuni burger”), and manju sweets depicting the faces of chicks and pandas (these sweets are almost too cute to eat!) are very popular.
At an old-established shop, the queue for buying buta-man (a steamed bun with minced pork filling) reaches to the center of Chinatown, Nankinmachi Square, even on weekdays.
You can taste the deliciousness of freshly cooked Peking duck in Nankinmachi.
You will find Peking ducks here and there in shop windows on the street.
Isn’t it wonderful that you can taste Peking duck, which is made right in front of you, like a crepe in Harajuku?
If you are longing for some sweets, then have some hot Chinese potatoes.
3 people are making these potato snacks at this stand.
A woman spreads potatoes with thick syrup out on the table, a man fans the potatoes to let them cool, and another man puts potatoes in packs with a loud shout.
Maybe you cannot take your eyes off their smooth division of labor.
The interesting aspect of walk-and-eat at Nankinmachi are the close distances between shop staff and the customers: you can eat delicious freshly-made food while communicating with people.
Kobe Beef at Chinatown? Yes, of course there is.
Nankinmachi is one of the three famous Chinatowns in Japan (The other two are Yokohama Chinatown and Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown), but there are not only Chinese restaurants in this district.
For example, you may want to try Kobe Beef if you are in Kobe, right?
Then, come to Nankinmachi.
You can order Kobe Beef – even a small portion for a bite.
Just put a piece into your mouth right after it’s grilled on a hot plate in front of you, so you do not even have to take a seat there.
We also recommend trying the strawberry candy (strawberry coated with candy) from a fruit shop.
And it is worth seeing how it is made by a jaunty talking man with nimble hands.
Go to Nankinmachi on a rainy day.
Most people think that a rainy day is not good for walking and eating all kinds of foods.
But actually, I recommend that you to go there on a rainy day.
There are 2 reasons.
One is the scenery. The light from the lanterns reflects on the wet road, making it very beautiful and romantic.
The other one is very practical reason. Not so many people come to Nankinmachi in the rain.
So you might not have to stand in a queue to buy the famous buta-man, depending on your timing.
You can also take shelter from the rain at Azumaya (a hexagonal pavilion) in Nankinmachi Square.
Nankinmachi has a long history including the opening of the port of Kobe in 1867, recovering from the war, the changing of its surroundings, and the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake.
Walk-and-eat food from the stands is the first step in exploring Nankinmachi. The next step will be the experience of “genuine” tastes, found by opening the doors of various restaurants and Chinese
*“南京町 (Nankinmachi)” is a registered trademark maintained by Nankinmachi Shopping District Promotion Association.
Nankinmachi Shopping District
Address／1-3-18, Sakaemachi-dori, Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo
Phone／078-332-2896 (Nankinmachi Shopping District Promotion Association Office)
Nearest stations／Kyukyoryuchi-Daimarumae Station on Kobe City Subway Kaigan Line, Motomachi Station on JR and Hanshin Lines, Kencho-mae Station on Kobe City Subway Yamate Line, and Kobe-Sannomiya Station on Hankyu Line.
Parking lot／Please use the coin-operated parking around
Open／Differs depending on the shop
Closed／Differs depending on the shop
Photographs and text by Madoka Hori
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Madoka Hori / Photo-writer Entrepreneurial translator/writer living in Hyogo. As a licensed English tour guide, she occasionally takes tourists to beautiful destinations such as Kobe, Himeji, Okayama, Kyoto, and Osaka and her clients have never got lost so far. On Setouchi Finder, as one of the original team members, she enjoys taking photos and sharing her favorite hidden gems. Private Photo Blog http://riderv328.tumblr.com Twitter https://twitter.com/Riderv328
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