Yokohama is home to the biggest Chinatown in Asia. (I’m not entirely sure how significant that is, considering that China is also in Asia. But still, impressive.) I decided to check it out with another Techer who’s doing research at Tokyo Tech this summer. We met up at Ishikawacho Station, about five minutes away from the actual Chinatown.

I’m not sure if it’s an official mascot or just a result of a stereotype, but there were panda-related goods everywhere. We passed by at least three panda-themed shops selling everything from panda stationery and panda socks to panda band-aids, as well as various panda-shaped foods. Speaking of which, Yokohama’s Chinatown is said to have some pretty good Chinese food, and we saw tons of stalls selling primarily buns and roasted chestnuts. I’d just started to regret having eaten lunch, so I wasn’t in the mood for anything substantial, but I couldn’t resist grabbing this adorable panda bun.

There was also a stand on one street corner selling xiaolongbao, basically Shanghainese steamed buns. I was too full to try them, but judging from the line wrapping around the corner, I’m sure they were delicious. (There are also a couple of restaurants near Caltech that serve excellent xiaolongbao–ask around if you ever end up in Pasadena!) In addition to the endless food and pandas, there were occasionally small stalls selling traditional Chinese decorations and toys.

In the middle of Chinatown, we found a small temple dedicated to Kanwu, a Chinese god of business and prosperity (though neither of us knew this at the time; most of this information I had to look up afterwards). There were a few other groups of people like us just walking around the temple, but I could imagine the place being a lively and exciting place to be during festivals celebrating major Chinese holidays. Overall, strolling through the streets of Chinatown was pretty relaxing, and it kind of reminded me of previous summers that I spent visiting family in China.

Also, Kanwu’s got some pretty… interesting guardian lions.