15. Motomachi Shopping Street (Nankinmachi Mae)

After getting off the bus here, you can go to Kobe’s Chinatown Nankinmachi, and Motomachi Shopping Street which are close by.

Motomachi Shopping Street is actually a 1.2 kilometer-long arcade, which has long been a shopping area ever since the Port of Kobe was opened to foreign trade in 1868. As the birthplace of Kobe’s sophistication and fashionable atmosphere, all sorts of food, clothing, and accessory shops line both sides of the central walkway.

Kobe’s Chinatown, Nankinmachi, was first established as an area for Western settlers in 1868, when the Port of Kobe was opened to foreign trade. The area is located on the west side of what is now Kobe’s City Hall. Kobe Chinese people also began settling in the area, and after a while, they began to open up a variety of Chinese general-goods stores and eating and drinking establishments. As a result, the area eventually developed into Kobe’s Chinatown.

Nankinmachi, which has over 100 commercial establishments such as Chinese restaurants, variety stores, and grocery stores, is famous as one of the big three Chinatowns in Japan. (The other two are in Yokohama and Nagasaki.)

Every year during Chinese New Year, the Spring Festival (or Chinese New Year Festival) is held, offering visitors a taste of Chinese culture such as the Lion Dance and Dragon Dance. This lively festival which signals the beginning of spring in Kobe, is City of Kobe’s “Intangible Folk Cultural Properties of Japan” and attracts huge crowds every year.



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