The guides to visit Little Japan Saigon

In Ho Chi Minh City, there are many entertainment places to come. But, when you do not like the crowded streets and luxury shopping centers, you can visit a peaceful place right in the city center, Little Japan Saigon or Little Tokyo Ho Chi Minh. That typical quarter locates at the alleys of Le Thanh Ton and Thai Van Lung Streets right in the heart of bustling District 1, called the Saigon Japanese Street.

Little Japan Saigon
Little Japan Saigon | @hades_arsenal

Little Tokyo Ho Chi Minh City

The correct location of the Little Japan Saigon is on the road less than 2 km in District 1, from alley 15A, 15B Le Thanh Ton through to Thai Van Lung, and nearby streets such as Ngo Van Nam, Thi Sach… Here you can easily find Japanese restaurants, bars, and cakes with closed wooden doors and bilingual signs. Many Japanese people choose to work and live on these streets.

To get into this town, you can go from many directions besides on Le Thanh Ton Street because the alleys are connected with each other. But the most convenient way, please park the car in Thi Sach Street and walk in this area from the lanes 15B Le Thanh Ton or alley No. 8 Thai Van Lung Street.

Some people tell that a Japanese trader was coming to Saigon and felt in love with a local girl. Then, he lived here and established the Little Japan Saigon. That is an untrue story, but the people want to tell a lovely thing about its establishment. Indeed, many Japanese people and tourists have come to Vietnam to work and visit. Some of them have lived for a long time in Saigon. To supply their needs, the Japanese businessmen open the shops. And, the Japanese town becomes a part of Ho Chi Minh City.

A town with Japanese culture

As its name Little Japan Town, this place gives visitors the feeling of being in the corner of Japan. The whole area has a sign made of wood, red-white-yellow cloth lanterns, and a typical rolling door. If there are not the address lines in Vietnamese, you will surely think you are standing in the heart of a corner in Tokyo.

Japanese Town in Saigon
Japanese Town in Saigon | @hana_byo

In addition to being business stores and restaurants, it is also home to 300 Japanese households. Therefore, it still retains many typical cultural features, such as clean, civilized, and not noisy.

The difference of the Japanese Quarter in Saigon compared to other foreign streets, such as Bui Vien Walking Street, is that this place is not vibrant. The guests will feel warming feelings like Japanese culture.

The closed wooden frames, lanterns, and door curtains clearly show a typical lifestyle at this site. It is this quiet space that makes this place even more attractive, especially at night.

Visit the Japanese restaurants in Saigon

When telling about Japan, people are impressed not only by the beautiful scenery but also by the typical cuisine.

Since the establishment of Little Tokyo Ho Chi Minh, the popular dishes of the Japanese have come to enrich the life in this area, including takoyaki, okonomiyaki, sushi, ramen… 

The food taste may not be as perfect as where they were originated. But, the cookers still try their best to blow the soul of Japanese cuisine in those dishes, which helps the Japanese living in Ho Chi Minh City ease their homesickness.

Little Japan Town HCMC
A retaurant in Little Japan Town |

What is indispensable in the store is Tkoyak octopus cake. This is a portion of popular Japanese street food. The takoyaki here has a very affordable price, only from 20,000 VND for three balls. This dish attracts both the Japanese and Vietnamese diners.

For the cakes with Japanese style, Sakura Takoyaki is one of the highlights. You will see the red-yellow lanterns hanging in front of the doors and the curtains fluttering in the breeze of restaurants, creating a little Japanese culture for the guests when entering these alleys.

Opposite Sakura restaurant is a ramen shop with brown painted wooden doors. This is one of the favorite shops for many young people. Stepping inside to enjoy the bowl of ramen noodles, you will feel as if you have traveled thousands of miles straight to the land of cherry blossoms.

When looking at the workers of the restaurants, you will see their hands in hurry skills to make noodles. And when you want to take a picture, they are happy to smile with you, that looks like an invitation to a greeting.

The impressive point of this town is all stores are decorated with a warm color, cloth curtains, and Japanese-style lanterns in front of the house. All activities happen behind the doors, not outside like other streets in Saigon. Thus, all the town seems quiet and gentle, escaping from the busy life of this bustling city.

A beautiful place to take pictures

Besides enjoy the unique atmosphere, the Little Japan Saigon is absolutely a suitable place to take pictures. Every corner here is pretty with a Japanese style. So, the town attracts many photographers, both amateurs and professional ones.

Japanese Town in Saigon
Japanese Town in Saigon | @hana_byo

You can find cool graffiti walls as the background. For the last few years, these walls looked old and dirty, but since the graffiti painters created paintings, the streets have become more attractive.

Also, you see red – yellow round lanterns written in Japanese hanging from the beginning to the end of the alleys.

At night, the town lights up, and plenty of guests come in and go out shops, all like a mini corner of Tokyo. That attracts a lot of people to take pictures, and you need a better and more professional camera because it is dark. Also, be careful when you take pictures at nighttime to avoid facing some girls because some of them work at the spa and massage shops here.

>>> You may like to see the 4 little foreign towns in Saigon.

The best time to visit Japanese Town in Saigon

For looking at the views and amateur photographers, it is the best time to visit between 8:00 am – 4:00 pm because this is the time for the most beautiful sunlight. The alleys here are quiet, narrow, quite dark for the rest of time.

For diners, most of the restaurants open from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm for lunchtime. And, they will open it again from 6:00 pm.

For the “night owls” who like to explore the nightlife in Saigon and Japanese town, you can visit here after 7:00 pm and onwards. It is the time when the bars, massage places, and other stores lighting up. Many people come in and out of the stores at night, so you should be careful about your belongings.

Little Japan Saigon is one of the typical town in Ho Chi Minh City that no other places in Vietnam have. The Japanese community brings a new breeze into the hustle life in HCMC, creating a lovely area for the visitors who want to find a tranquil place to come. You come here once to see Saigon has a diverse culture and a different destination to visit.

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    About the author

    The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.