OWL Magazine Korea

Incheon Open Port Street “Japanese-style Street”

Incheon Open Port Street, a district where Qing Dynasty and Japanese residents stayed, has preserved its historical charm. While various nationalities resided in this area, the proximity to China and Japan naturally led to a significant presence of people from these two countries, shaping Chinatown and creating a Japanese-style street adjacent to it.

“Japanese-style Street in Incheon Open Port Street”

The Japanese-style street in Incheon’s Open Port Street is a revitalization effort by Incheon Jung-gu and local residents to improve the city’s image. The transformation focused on the external walls of buildings, giving them a Japanese aesthetic.

The reason for adopting a Japanese landscape is straightforward. The area surrounding Jung-gu Office was once a Qing and Japanese concession area during the opening era in the 1880s, where Japanese residents freely lived and enjoyed extraterritorial rights. As a result, Japanese-style buildings naturally started appearing in this zone.

In the early days of the port opening, houses in Incheon were mainly two-story wooden homes with attached stores, embodying traditional Japanese urban houses called “Machiya” (townhouses with a height of two floors) and “Nagaya” (long houses, representing Japanese-style row houses). 

“While the street is short…”

The Japanese-style street in Open Port Street is not very long—just about the length of one street. However, despite its brevity, the vivid Japanese-style decoration makes it an excellent place for photography. The street’s advantage lies in its compact size, offering a charming array of unique shops.

“Bank Street of Japan”

Moreover, a short walk downward from the Japanese-style street leads to the Bank Street of Japan. This area got its name as Japanese banks were established one by one for Japanese residents. The banks received names in the order of approval from the Japanese government, such as “First Bank” and “Second Bank.”

Presently, the First Bank of Japan serves as the “Incheon Open Port Museum” and holds the designation of Cultural Heritage No. 7 in Incheon. The 18th Bank of Japan, established in 1890 in Incheon, has been transformed into the Modern Architecture Exhibition Hall, recognized as Cultural Heritage No. 50.

“Exploring Japanese-style Street”

While the Japanese-style street is relatively short, its intricacies and unique shops make it worth exploring. The area is filled with charming stores waiting to be discovered. During my visit, I stumbled upon a quaint bookstore and plan to share more about it in the following post.

“Incheon Open Port Street, Japanese-style Street”

  • Address: 24 Gwan-dong 1-ga, Jung-gu, Incheon