Incheon Chinatown

Incheon Chinatown: What to See and Do

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Incheon Chinatown is Korea’s only official Chinatown – and the perfect place for a fun day trip! Dive into the interesting history of Chinese-Korean relations in this more than 120-year-old part of Incheon. Explore Chinese street food, traditional Chinese architecture, the birthplace of the Jajjang Noodles, and visit the only Chinese temple in Korea.

Here’s what you can see and do at Incheon Chinatown.

Incheon Chinatown History

Incheon’s Chinatown is the only official Chinatown in Korea. After signing the China–Korea Treaty of 1882 at the end of the Joseon Dynasty, a large Chinese population settled in the Jemulpo area of Incheon as part of an extraterritorial area of ​​the Qing Dynasty of China. Since then, the history and culture of its ethnic Chinese inhabitants have been preserved here.

Incheon Chinatown Sign
Incheon Chinatown Street

How to get to Incheon Chinatown

Address: 20, Chinatown-ro 59beon-gil, Jung-gu, Incheon
인천광역시 중구 차이나타운로59번길 20

Getting to Incheon Chinatown is super easy. The neighborhood is located in Incheon’s Jung-gu area, close to the subway station Incheon.

Head to Incheon station on line 1 of Seoul’s subway system and take exit 1 and you’ll see the 11-meter high Chinese-style gateway, or paifang. This is where you start your exploration of Incheon Chinatown.

 

Where to Stay in Incheon Chinatown

When staying overnight in the area, you will have the opportunity to fully explore Incheon Chinatown. In the morning, there are significantly fewer tourists here, giving you a more relaxed time for exploring. At night, you won’t have far after trying your way through the many Chinese restaurants and charming bars in the area.

If you want to stay overnight in the area, I recommend the following hotels.

Best Western Harbor Park Hotel

This lovely 4-star hotel is located near the entrance of Chinatown Incheon. The air-conditioned rooms with sea views have a seating area, heating, and a flat-screen sat TV. Harbor Park Hotel is a 20-minute drive from Incheon Port and Incheon Terminal.

Check out this hotel.

Diamond Tourist Hotel

Great if you’re on a budget, Diamond Tourist Hotel is another great option near Chinatown Incheon. The hotel is closer to Wolmido Island, which is a popular tourist destination in Incheon. Incheon Port International Passenger Terminal is around  10km away.

Check out this hotel.

What to do in Incheon Chinatown

Naturally, Incheon Chinatown is a great place for Chinese food. There is a great variety of pretty authentic Chinese restaurants but you can also find quirky street food stalls selling steamed buns and moon cakes, for example. Souvenir and antique shops are also worth checking out, as well as the mural street, Korea and China Cultural Center, and Uiseondang, a Chinese temple.

This map was made with Wanderlog, for making itineraries on iOS and Android

Junghwaga 중화가

Incheon Chinatown has a total of four of these gates each on one end of the area: Junghwaga, Seollinmun, Inhwamun, and Hanjungmun.

Junghwaga is the main entrance gate into Incheon Chinatown, located right across from Incheon subway station. You will see this 11-meter-tall gate as soon as you come out of exit 1.

This is a great starting point for your exploration of the area. 

This Chinese-style gateway is also referred to as paifang. This term stems from the Indian subcontinent’s torana, which made its way to China and other nations in Asia through Buddhism.

Paifang is a collective title for the structure of ancient Chinese cities. A fang was the largest division inside a city in ancient China, similar to a modern-day ward.

Every fang was surrounded by walls or fences, and the gates were locked and guarded every night. Each fang was then subdivided into multiple pai, which are roughly equal to today’s communities. Each pai has its own territory with multiple hutongs (alleyways).

인천 차이나타운 중화가

> Address: 12-18 Bukseong-dong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Incheon

Junghwaga 중화가

Uiseondang Chinese Temple

Uiseondang (義善堂) literally translates to “to retain justice and live well.” The entrance to this shrine is quite inconspicuous and many people walk right past it unaware of that the only Chinese-style temple in Korea lies behind the walls.

It is a Chinese-style shrine built when the number of Chinese inhabitants in Incheon expanded after Incheon Port opened to traders. Chinese residents would come here to pray for their unity and edification and the ships that travel to and from China. 

Korean name: 의선당

> Address: 9-16 Gaho-dong, Jung-gu, Incheon

Uiseondang Chinese Temple
Uiseondang Chinese Temple
Uiseondang Chinese Temple

Chinatown Main Street

This is the main street in the Chinatown area with many souvenir shops, restaurants and street food stalls. 

You’ll find many Chinese-style buildings here and beautiful lanterns line the sides of the street. Most of the main attractions will be connected to this street, like Uiseondang Temple or the Sky Hill Stairs, leading up to the elevated Seollinmun Gate.

Check the map below to see the exact location of Chinatown-ro.

Korean name: 차이나타운로

> Address: 11-1 Gaho-dong, Jung-gu, Incheon

chinatown main street
Chinatown Main Street is indicated in orange

Three Kingdoms Mural Street

Another must-see in Incheon Chinatown is the Three Kingdoms Mural Street with 160 murals depicting classic scenes from the Three Kingdoms period. This time period describes a trio of warring states between 220 and 280.

This period was too short to make a significant contribution to the arts in any conventional sense, however, it is significant in terms of topic matter in the arts in many East Asian nations.

This brief and terrible period of conflict and political intrigue was one of China’s most fascinating periods, and it has remained a popular topic of historical fiction and other types of art ever since.

There is another mural street called Chohanji (Legend of Chu and Han) Mural Street with historic scenes ranging from the end of the Qin Dynasty to the founding of the Han Dynasty.

Korean name: 삼국지 벽화거리

> Address: China town-ro 51beon-gil, Jung-gu, Incheon

Three Kingdoms Mural Street

Jajangmyeon Museum

If you’re familiar with Korean food, you’ve probably come across jajangmyeon. These are noodles topped with a thick brown sauce, diced pork, and vegetables.

An immigrant from the Shandong province of China invented this dish as a spin on the Chinese dish zhájiàngmiàn (炸酱面). The two dishes, however, vary in many ways.

The Jajangmyeon Museum in Incheon Chinatown is housed in the old building, where the noodle dish was first sold.

Inside the museum, you can learn about the history of jajangmyeon and the different developments over the years.

Korean name: 짜장면 박물관

> Address: 56-14 China town-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon

Jajangmyeon Museum

Korean-Chinese Cultural Center

The Korean-Chinese Cultural Center was established in this area to reinvigorate Chinatown and foster cordial connections between Korea and China.

Korean and Chinese cultural exchanges take place here and you can learn about the histories, cultures, economies, and societies of the two countries. Permanent weekend performances, free movie screenings, and special exhibitions are often held here as well.

Korean name: 한중문화관

> Address: 1-2 Hang-dong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Incheon

Korean-Chinese Cultural Center

Come and visit Incheon Chinatown!

As you can see, there’s a lot to see, eat and do in Incheon Chinatown and you shouldn’t miss out. It is the perfect destination for a day trip from Seoul, for example as there are so many things to do that you can easily spend a whole day in the area.

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DK Eyewitness Top 10 Seoul

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Lonely Planet Korea

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Linda

Linda has been living in Asia since 2012 and loves sharing her travel and life experiences on her website. She currently works remotely in Online Marketing and also teaches various English classes in South Korea.

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