Those curious about Japanese culture and gastronomy but unable to afford a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun are highly recommended to visit Little Japan, an area surrounded by Le Thanh Ton, Ngo Van Nam, Thai Van Lung, Thi Sach, and Hai Ba Trung streets in HCMC’s District 1. There are more than 70 restaurants, spas and other businesses of the Japanese community there.
Foreign tourists are seen strolling around Little Japan in HCMC’s District 1
Unlike other quarters for foreign communities in town like the backpackers’ area surrounded by Pham Ngu Lao, Bui Vien and De Tham streets and the South Korean area on Pham Van Hai Street in Tan Binh District, Little Japan captivates first-time comers by its tranquility and cleanliness.
The small and quiet alley at 15B Le Thanh Ton is packed with Japanese-style restaurants and stores located close together with signs in both Japanese and Vietnamese and red lanterns hung in front of the restaurants. Diners can find many Japanese specialties such as sushi, noodles and cakes, Daichan Ramen, Bento, Sakura and Vanilla & Butter with original ingredients and recipes as well as experience business culture and daily lives of Japanese people.
There is a map featuring the whole area at the entrance of the alley. Security guards are on hand to show where people can park their vehicles. Tourists can feel more secure to tour the place thanks to surveillance cameras.
Visitors are in front of a Japanese-style spa at the 15B alley of Le Thanh Ton Street
Some university students, especially those majoring in Japanese studies, can work part-time at restaurants there to earn a living, improve their Japanese language skills and learn more about the Japanese culture and way of life.
A 24-year-old Japanese who is attending a Vietnamese studies and language program at the HCMC University of Social Sciences and Humanities says he stays at a rented room in this area at a fairly high charge but the peaceful and civilized lifestyle of the Japanese community there is indeed worth it. The location is quite convenient for him to catch a bus to the university.
The farther tourists get inside, the more Japanese-style spas, tourism firms, galleries and rooms for rent they can find.
Located in the alley at 8 Le Thanh Ton, Utopia Café is a must-visit place as it is considered an information center for Japanese strangers in the city as well as a relaxation place for Japanese expats to read books, newspapers, magazines, novels and even mangas. The café was created in 2000 by two Japanese men, Ebuchi Shinya and Sasaki Hideki.
Via : Sapa Luxury Travel