Discover history and food in Incheon’s Chinatown.
Stuck in Incheon (인천) and not sure where to go in Korea? We have a great idea. Where can you find some authentic food and history? You might guess it from the title!
Forget about it. It’s Chinatown!
Check out our guide to hitting up all those interesting spots, delicious eateries, and finding four traditional gates throughout town.
A Brief History
Established in 1884 alongside the creation of Incheon’s port, Chinatown serves as a reminder of the historical ties between Korea and China.
Their history stems back centuries. Hangeul (한글) is Korea’s official language and writing system. But, before Sejong the Great, Koreans used Chinese symbols. You can still see some for place names: 山 for mountain (산).
The creation of China town dates back over one-hundred years. Chinese immigrants made the short voyage across the Yellow Sea in search of work. As with many immigrant stories, the Chinese turned the area into a bustling town brimming with shops and restaurants. They sold many goods imported from China.
Today, Incheon Chinatown continues this tradition. There’s lots to see, eat, and buy.
Where to go:
As you approach Chinatown, an enormous entry gate will welcome you. Located just opposite the Incheon Station (Line 1; Exit 1), this traditional Paifang shimmers with the gold and red associated with China. Definitely worth a picture or two.
In the late nineteenth century, Chinese migrants stood at the gate. They offered prayers to ward off ghosts invading ghosts.
There are four Paifangs in Chinatown. They are the Junghwamun, Seolinmun, Inhwamun, and Hanjungmun gates. If you wander around the streets long enough, you could snap pictures of them all.
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 China town. To bring hope and prosperity to the hundreds of Chinese living in Incheon. It was hoped that the shrine would bring good fortune and luck for the people making the short passage across the yellow sea and also for the Chinese already living in Korea.
The shine has yellow exterior walls and large colorful mural decorating the entrance. A picture in front of the Mural would be great for your Instagram feed.
It’s easy to walk past and not realize that this is the shrine.
Beside the building there is a little alley way. Go through and you will come to a courtyard where you will see the shine The dragons perched on the roof are also great to see.
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 which tell the fictional tales of the three Kingdoms. As you can see from the pictures, it’s in Korean and Chinese, but don’t let that stop you from admiring its beauty.
The Gonghwachun restaurant was opened by a Chinese man after 1876 when Korea Opened it’s ported to foreign countries. The building is said to have been built from craftsmen hailing from Shandong China. The restaurant was originally an inn providing meals and a safe place to sleep for traders. As the dishes gained in popularity the inn turned into a bustling restaurant. Today the restaurant has moved locations, and the Gonghwachun is located at the top of Chinese street. However, the original building has turned into a noodle museum and It’s a great way to learn about China towns history.
As you walk around you will come across a lovely resting space to relax and sit down. It’s small but the Chinese garden is tranquil and would be great to relax in the pavilion while sipping some green tea.
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.
On your way down, there are some fun VR shops you might want to try. The kids looked like they were having a great time!
Welcome to fairy tale village were tales are told, and lots of pictures are taken. We suggest you take your camera. Without it, the village wont be as fun. Here are a collection of murals, and statues for you to capture and have fun with.
Legend has it, when people used to get the water from the well, sometimes they struggled and fell in. It is said that it is haunted by the ghosts of the fallen water carries To keep them at bay, a lid was made so they couldn’t terrorize 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 and ended up hiding in Freedoms parks bushes.
If you want to find some peace and quite or some shade to escape the burning sun we think you should check out Freedom park. The park which was designed by Sabatin, a Russian civil engineer in 1888 was Korea’s first western style modern park! Here you will get a beautiful view of the port city and the Ocean, which is a great photo opportunity.
If you walk to the top of the park you will also come across a statue of General McArthur. The 5-meter tall bronze statue was built in 1957 for leading the Incheon Amphibious Landing Operation during the Korean War.
The walk around the park is peaceful. What’s more if you stumble upon a stoned walkway full of water, make sure to put your feet in and walk along. The Chinese stoned foot-bath is great to cool off and get a full foot massage for free!
Where To Eat:
Gonghwachun Restaurant 공화춘 (共和春 )
It’s said that this restaurant was the first to make the famous jjajangmyeon. What’s more, the restaurant has been in China town feeding it’s residents with bowls of black noodles since 1908! The building that serves this belly busting dish has been replaced with a modern building.
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 if you’re on your own or with a partner. 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.
911, Bukseongdong2-ga, Jung-gu, Incheon, South Korea
Simnihyang 십리향 (十里香 )
This is a dumpling restaurant,and is Famous for it’s mouth watering dumplings that are baked in Chinese pottery. Filled with meat, sweet potatoes, white pumpkin or red beans, the dumplings are baked to a crisp on the outside but still stay moist on the inside. They will surely fill you up.
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
1920 Clothes Shop
Do you want to be Charlie Chaplin or Babe Ruth for the day?
Well in China town you can!
Just after you walk through the Paeru, this unique rental clothes shop is on your right. For three hours you can rent a 1920-30’s costume and strut around bringing the roaring 20’s to Incheon.