VietnamHo Chi MinhExplore the Japanese Towns in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)

Explore the Japanese Towns in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)

While the French Quarter was built in the colonial period and Cho Lon Chinatown has a long history dating back to the feudal era, Japanese Towns in Saigon only appeared in the 1990s after the Economic Reform. These days, there are two popular Japanese Towns: Little Tokyo in the heart of Saigon and the New Japanese Town in Binh Thanh District.

Thai Van Lung Street – Little Tokyo in the Heart of Saigon

Address: 15B Le Thanh Ton Street and 8A Thai Van Lung Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1.
Things to try: Japanese cuisine, massage service, café, hotel, bar and lounge
How to get there: From Ben Thanh Market, it takes 14 minutes to reach this place on foot and 10 minutes if you travel by car, taxi, or motorbike.

The 8A Thai Van Lung entrance
Of all the Japanese Towns in Saigon, Little Tokyo is the most famous one

Of all the Japanese Towns in Saigon, Little Tokyo is the most famous. You can go to either the entrance on Le Thanh Ton Street or Thai Van Lung Street to get into this town. From the outset, you already feel a Japanese vibe in the wooden doors, chôchin paper lanterns, and bilingual (Vietnamese and Japanese) publications. Being the connection of small alleys, Little Tokyo brings you a sense of discovery as each turn will lead you to another hidden gem. Some alleys focus on massage service while others offer Japanese cuisine or bar and lounge. If you are looking for the original taste of sushi or ramen, this is precisely where you should be.

What to Do in Little Tokyo – Thai Van Lung Street

The town seems quiet and lonely in the morning since there are only a few open restaurants. But the merchants start their workday when the sun goes down, and the lights go up. In every corner, you can see Japanese, Vietnamese, and Westerners enjoying various services. If you see many women wearing colorful ao dai, there is a high chance that they are massage ladies. Somehow, this town is also known as a red-light area comparable to the Kabukichô district in Japan.

If it is your first time visiting Little Tokyo, take a look at this map before you start
The directory of shops in the area

Your taste buds are in for a treat while scrolling down Thai Van Lung Street. You may argue that they are not authentic Japanese food, but the chefs here have brought their genuine flavors all the way from their hometown in Japan. The majority of customers here are Japanese and Korean expats, and that should be enough of a testament to the food quality.

Japanese ramen
Japanese rice bowl with teriyaki chicken

Hotels in the Japanese town of Saigon bear strong resemblance of Japanese architectural style.

Find hotels near the Thai Van Lung area:

Thai Van Lung Street at night

With a vide completely distinctive from the city’s atmosphere, the Japanese corners lights up with Japanese-style bars and izakaya (Japanese drinking restaurants).

Japanese grilled skewers
Japanese izakaya

The New Japanese Town in Binh Thanh District

Address: Pham Viet Chanh Street, Ward 19, Binh Thanh District
Things to try: Japanese cuisine, café, homestay
How to get there: If you travel by car, taxi, or motorbike from Ben Thanh Market, it takes 14 minutes to reach this place. However, using the mentioned vehicles only takes 8 minutes from Vinhomes Central Park.

Only established about five years ago, the Japanese neighborhood in Binh Thanh’s mysterious alleys has contributed to the cultural diversity in Saigon. It is called Little Japan 2 or The New Japanese Town. The entrance is not particularly noticeable since it is located behind apartments and high buildings. However, once you are there, you will be amazed at Japanese restaurant signs interspersed with Vietnamese shops.

Unlike Little Tokyo in District 1, home to hundreds of businesses, this new town only consists of 14 restaurants, eateries, and accompanying services for the local community. If you are traveling on a budget but still want to immerse yourself in this Japanese atmosphere, you are highly recommended to try this place. The price here is only half of that in Little Tokyo, but it is clear that the experience is still worthwhile.

Summary of Japanese Towns in Saigon

While Chinatown contributes to a major cultural sphere in Saigon, you will be pleasantly surprised to encounter Japanese culture. The local area embraces Japanese architecture, cuisine, and nightlife. So, while visiting Vietnam, make a little detour to explore the Japanese corner. Apart from these Japanese Towns in Saigon, you can consider Oishi Town in District 2 or visit places near Little Tokyo (such as Ngo Van Nam and Thi Sach Street).

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