A taste of Korea in Kawasaki

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Okinawa

Situated between JR Kawasaki Station and the costal industrial zone, Korea Town has been developed with Korean immigrants between 1920s and 1940s. Many of their descendants run Korean barbecue restaurants and grocery shops in the district.

After getting off the bus at the Yotsukado stop and walking through a quiet residential area for three minutes, I reached Korea Town. The tall gate with dolls of musicians in Korean attire and gold lettering of “Korea Town” told me I was there.

While strolling along a half mile street, I saw a few Korean restaurants and grocery shops. The street was quiet and most of restaurants were closed, likely because it was a weekday afternoon.

According to staffer at a restaurant in town, there were more than 100 Korean shops and restaurants on the street.

“Our parents introduced the culture of sampling barbecued offal here in Japan,” the staffer said. “It was cheap and nutritious, and become popular among labors in Kawasaki factories.”

The population of Kawasaki peaked in 1973. Since then, about 100,000 residents have moved out due to the drop in the number of factories. The number of shops and restaurants has also decreased over the years.

If you want to sample Korean dishes for reasonable price, however, this town can’t be missed, as most of the restaurants have a strong reputation. You can pick up some authentic kimchi and other Korean foods at the grocery stores in the town, as well.

In middle of April, Korea Town hosts “Korea Town Yakiniku Fest,” and most of the restaurants offer 30 to 50 percent discounts to their menu items.

Korea Town (Cement Street)

Location: 3-4 Chome, Hamacho, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture (3-minute from Yotsukado Bus Stop of Kawasaki Rinko Bus)

URL: www.yakinikutengoku.com/korea_town/index.html

Tel: 044-322-7102 (Kawasaki Yakiniku Restaurant Association)

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