Discover history and food in Incheon Chinatown
Stuck in Incheon (인천) and not sure where to go? We have found a place that has a little bit of everything, including authentic food, local history, and splendid Chinese architecture. I think you might have already guessed it from the title – It’s Incheon Chinatown!
Incheon Chinatown Guidebook:
Check out our guide to hitting up all those interesting spots, delicious eateries, and the four traditional gates positioned throughout the town.
- Discover history and food in Incheon Chinatown
- How to get to Incheon Chinatown
- How to get to Incheon Chinatown from Incheon Airport
- A Brief History of Chinatown in Korea
- Where to go in Incheon Chinatown
- Where To Eat in Incheon Chinatown
- Where to Shop In Incheon Chinatown
- Final Verdict
How to get to Incheon Chinatown
269 Jemullyang-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon (인천광역시 중구 제물량로 269 (북성동1가)
You can copy and paste this address into Naver or Kakao maps to find Chinatown.
Alternatively, If you don’t have access to an online map, hop on the subway line one and ride it to the very end, until you reach Incheon Subway station.
How to get to Incheon Chinatown from Incheon Airport
From Incheon International Airport 1st passenger Terminal board:
- Bus: 306 -You can get this bus on the first-floor location 13-B. Ride this bus for 38 minutes (17 stops)
- Get off at Bangchuk Samgeori.
- At Bangchuk Samgeori board Bus: 15.
- Ride this for 10 stops or 11 minutes until you reach Incheon Chinatown.
A Brief History of Chinatown in Korea
Established in 1884 alongside the creation of Incheon’s port, Chinatown serves as a direct reminder of the historical ties between Korea and China.
Their history stems back centuries. Hangeul (한글) is now Korea’s official language. But, before Sejong the Great, Koreans used Chinese symbols-Hanja- as a way to communicate.
The creation of Chinatown Korea dates back over one-hundred years when Chinese immigrants made the short voyage across the Yellow Sea in search of work.
As with many immigrant stories, the Chinese immigrants turned the area into a bustling town brimming with shops and restaurants selling goods imported from China.
Today, Incheon Chinatown continues this tradition. There are lots to see, eat, and buy.
Where to go in Incheon Chinatown
Bring a camera
I had a lot of fun walking around taking photos of the surroundings, especially in Fairy Tale village. If you’re into street photography I think you will love it here.
In the late nineteenth century, Chinese migrants stood at the gate offering prayers and chants to ward off invading ghosts and spirits. Although you won’t find anyone chanting now, it’s fun to imagine people offering rituals when you stand next to the imposing structure.
There are four Paifangs in Chinatown. They are the Junghwamun, Seolinmun, Inhwamun, and Hanjungmun gates. If you wander the streets long enough, you could snap a picture of them all.
Incheon Chinatown: Uiseondang Shrine
In 1893 Chinese migrants who resided in China town built a small shrine to inherit the traditional culture of there homeland. Uiseondong was built for the people of Chinatown, with hopes of bringing prosperity and luck to the hundreds of Chinese already living in Incheon.
The shine has a yellow exterior and a large colorful mural that decorates the entrance.
Keep your eyes peeled when you see the bright yellow wall as this is what you’re looking for.
Besides the building, there is a little alleyway. Go through and you will come to a courtyard where you will see the opening to the building. Before you leave, try and find all the red dragons that are perched on the roof, they are there to guard the holy shrine.
Samgukji Mural Street
This has to be Chinatown’s most visited attraction-Samgukji Mural Street.
The 150-meter long road boasts a fantastic selection of colorful murals that tell the fictional tales of the: Three `Kingdoms.
As you can see from the pictures, it’s written in Korean and Chinese, but don’t let that stop you from admiring its beauty.
The Gonghwachun restaurant is said to have been built in 1876 from a craftsman hailing from Shandong- China.
The restaurant was originally an inn; providing meals and a safe place to sleep for traders. It was said that it was the best Jajangmyeon in Incheon and Seoul. As the inn gained in popularity, it turned into a bustling restaurant filling the bellies of hungry sailors and local residents.
Today the restaurant has moved locations, and the Gonghwachun restaurant is located at the top of Chinese street. However, the original building has turned into a modest noodle museum. Viewing the Museum is a great way to learn about the history of this little town.
Incheon Chinatown: Yishantang
As you walk around you will come across an attractive resting space to relax and sit down. It’s small, but the Chinese garden is tranquil and not a bad place to cool off and take a rest for ten minutes.
Incheon Fairy Tale Village
If you walk to the top of china street you should see the imposing Gonghwachun Restaurant. Turn left, and walk 300 meters. After walking down the hill you should come across Fairy Tale Village.
Welcome to fairy tale village where tales are told, and lots of pictures are taken. We suggest you take your camera. Without it, the village won’t be as fun. Here is a collection of murals, and statues for you to capture and have fun with.
On your way down to Fairy Tale Village, there are some entertaining VR shops you might want to try. The kids are having the best times of their lives!
Legend has it that when people collected water from the well, they would sometimes struggle and fall in. The unfortunate residents who fell down apparently come back as angry ghosts. So to keep them at bay, a lid was made to trap them below ground so they couldn’t terrorise the residents.
After taking a stroll through Fairy Tale Village, you can walk up the hill which passes Noah’s car park. At the top, try and spot the Zebra that’s slipped through Noah’s hands. It’s hiding in Freedoms park behind some overgrown bushes.
If you want to find some peace and quiet or some shade to escape the burning sun, we think you should check out Freedom Park.
If you walk to the top of the park you will also come across a statue of General McArthur. This 5-meter bronze statue was built in 1957 to commemorate McArthur’s leadership during the Incheon Amphibious Landing Operation.
The walk around the park can be a good way to unwind and breathe some fresh air.
If you stumble upon a stoned walkway full of water dip your feet in walk along.
This stoned foot bath will give your feet a delicate massage and a quick wash. Before you give it a go double-check the path. You don’t want to step on a broken soju bottle.
Where To Eat in Incheon Chinatown
Gonghwachun Restaurant 공화춘 (共和春 )
Locals say this restaurant was the first to make the famous jjajangmyeon. This is Chinatown’s most famous restaurant and has been feeding its residents with bowls of jjajangmyeon – black noodles since 1908!
인천광역시 중구 차이나타운로 43 공화춘 | 43 Chinatown-ro Jung-gu, Incheon
Guarded by a terracotta warrior and fitted with a bespoke balcony this is one of China towns more aesthetically pleasing restaurants.
With long queues on the weekend, be prepared to share a table; groups might have to wait a while longer. The menu is best suited to group dining but there are also a variety of noodle dishes such as white Jjajangmyeon. I wasn’t too impressed with the food, but your tastes might differ from mine.
911, Bukseongdong2-ga, Jung-gu, Incheon, South Korea (11am-10pm)
Simnihyang 십리향 (十里香 )
This is a dumpling restaurant and is famous for its mouth-watering dumplings that are baked in Chinese pottery. Filled with meat, sweet potatoes, red beans, these dumplings are baked to a crisp on the outside but somehow still stay moist on the inside. Yummy!
인천광역시 중구 차이나타운로 50-2 | 50-2 Chinatown-ro Jung-gu, Incheon
There is also a great selection of street food dotted around the town.
Where to Shop In Incheon Chinatown
Do you want to be Charlie Chaplin or Babe Ruth for the day?
Well in Chinatown Korea you can!
Just after you walk through the Paeru, there is a unique rental clothes shop on your right. For three hours, and only 30,000 won you can rent a 1920-30’s costume bringing the roaring 20’s to Incheon.
To have a look at what you can get, take a look at Jang’s Instagram:
Overall it’s not too bad. It’s not the best thing to see in Korea, not by a long shot, but it’s still a welcomed outing.
In some places, especially around Freedom park, it can be hilly, so be prepared to climb a few stairs. I would also recommend going in the summer when the weather is hot. It lacks the bustling atmosphere in the wintertime and during the week it’s not busy at all.
Have a great trip, and let me know how you got on in the comment section below. If you need some help, send me a message and I will try my best to assist you.