We’re off to experience a little taste of China in Japan now as we head to Kobe for a day trip.
Nankinmachi is a small but perfectly formed chinatown in central Kobe and is the centre of the Chinese community in the Kansai Region.
The area was built up by Chinese merchants who settled near Kobe Port after it was opened to foreign trade in 1868.
As the chinatown developed, it became known as Nankinmachi after Nanjing, the former Chinese capital.
The two main streets are full of shops, restaurants and food stands selling popular items such as steamed buns (manju), ramen, tapioca drinks and various other Chinese dishes
I love love love the little animal steamed buns that come in a wide variety of shapes from piglets to baby chicks! Super kawaii!!
The area is a delightful explosion of colour, smells and tastes.
The carp fish is a commonly seen good luck symbol as the Chinese character for carp (li 鲤) is pronounced the same as both the character (li 利) for “profit” and the character (li 力) for “strength” or “power”.
Another colourful little charm is the monkey, the ninth of 12 animals in the recurring 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle.
When we visited Japan, it was 2016 which happened to be the year of the monkey.
Finally let’s give some love for this super cute vending machine complete with reclining panda bear! Nothing is too mundane to be made cuter in Japan.