Bowl of chambon in Nagasaki.

Eating in Nagasaki

China's Influence

After the Tokugawa shōgun banned all Portuguese, the only foreign merchants allowed in Nagasaki were the Dutch and the Chinese.

China obviously had a huge geographic advantage, and they weren't as strictly controlled as the Dutch. At times the population of Nagasaki may have been as much as 30% Chinese.

Rāmen is a Chinese dish. It's very popular and commonly available throughout Japan. Places have their own local versions, like the tonkotsu rāmen in Fukuoka.

One of the specialties in Nagasaki is chambon, a more traditionally Chinese form of rāmen.

I'm in central Nagasaki. There's a chambon shop across the way. Let's get lunch!

Chambon shop in Nagasaki.


Champon is derived from some other language — Southern Min Chinese, or Malay or Indonesian. In Japanese the word must instead be chanpon, or チャンポン in the katakana used to phonetically spell foreign words. There it is, at the top right of the menu!

Chambon shop in Nagasaki.

I'm seated at a counter in a busy soup shop.

Chambon shop in Nagasaki.

Here it is!

Champon is made with a soup based on chicken and pig bones. The rāmen noodles are boiled in that broth. Then fried seafood, vegetables, and pork are added.

Chambon shop in Nagasaki.

On the Streetcar

On another day I'll take the streetcar from the train station to the center, then find a different chambon shop.

On the streetcar in Nagasaki.

Enter at the rear, pay as you leave at the front.

On the streetcar in Nagasaki.
On the streetcar in Nagasaki.
On the streetcar in Nagasaki.
Electrical power lines in Nagasaki.

More Chambon

Here's the ミハ or Mi-Ha soup shop. The menu lists:

ラーメハ rāmen
チャンポン chanpon
<kanji>うどん <kanji> udon
ぎょうざ gyoza
<kanji>そば <kanji> soba
<kanji>めし <kanji> meshi
Katakana &

Three noodle dishes, fried or steamed dumplings, another noodle dish, and something that is a complete mystery to me.

Arriving at the chambon shop in Nagasaki.

I'm seated at the counter, so I can watch the chambon chefs work their magic.

Chambon shop in Nagasaki.

I can add a raw egg, or hot peppers.

Chambon shop in Nagasaki.

Here's the Mi-Ha version of chambon.

Chambon shop in Nagasaki.
〇 = 0
一 = 1
二 = 2
三 = 3
四 = 4
五 = 5
六 = 6
七 = 7
八 = 8
九 = 9
円 = yen

This place is a combination of far enough southwest in Japan and non-touristic enough to use Chinese numerals in the posted menu of drinks and side orders.

コーラ     一六〇円
ko–ra ¥160

ジユース     一六〇円
ju–su ¥160

ビール     五五〇円
bi–ru ¥550

Menu at the chambon shop in Nagasaki.
Streets at night in Nagasaki.

In the Evening

Unryutei Gyoza Restaurant

Now for a late dinner.

I'm going to a great gyoza place I visited most of the evenings I was in Nagasaki.

Streets at night in Nagasaki.
Streets at night in Nagasaki.
Streets at night in Nagasaki.

The entrance is the frosted glass door behind the banners with the magic word spelled out phonetically in katakana: ギヨーザ — gyo–za.

Gyoza shop in Nagasaki.

Above is the super friendly staff.

Below, that's me on the right.

Gyoza shop in Nagasaki.
Gyoza shop in Nagasaki.
Gyoza shop in Nagasaki.

Some evenings I had gyoza, fried dumplings.

Gyoza shop in Nagasaki.

The little pitchers say ソース.
Gyoza sauce.

Gyoza shop in Nagasaki.

Other nights, オメル.

Or, gyoza and omeru.

Gyoza shop in Nagasaki.
Gyoza shop in Nagasaki.

The above is specific to Nagasaki. Or maybe you want to explore other places in Japan.

Prehistoric Yamato
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Fodors Japan
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Kyūshū — Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kagoshima and Sakurajima, Oita, Mount Aso
Inland Sea — Takamatsu, Naoshima and the art islands, Hiroshima
Kansai region, central Honshū — Kyōto, Nara, Kōya-san, Ise, and Ōsaka
Tōhoku region, northern Honshū — Nikkō, Aizu-Wakamatsu, Mount Bandai, Yamadera, Mount Haguro
Kantō region — Tōkyō and nearby
Background and Logistics

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