This area in southeast downtown is the japanese american cultural center in LA. It has a small but interesting museum which focuses on the internment of japanese americans during WWII. It also has tons of restaurants and shops.
Have some real-deal sushi and see a prettier part of Los Angeles- in Little Tokyo, established in 1942. Nestled just east of the hustle and bustle of downtown is the enclave that many Japanese-American immigrants, local artists and nouveau city dwellers of various ethnicities have come to adore.
What I marvel here the most is the physical beauty of the area, which featuring gardens in the tradition of Japanese landscape. LT's tranquility is also worth noting, with its lesser crowded street traffic and spiritual temples.
Main venues of the neighborhood include the Japanese American National Museum, the Little Tokyo Watchtower, other large scale public art pieces and several Buddhist temples, like the Jodo Shinshu. All are inclusive and family-friendly for event planning.
Several ipsters and trendwatchers are loving J-Town as an up-and-coming spot for dining, shopping and hanging. One of the trendy spots is PopKiller, where the young and hip are drawn to vintage clothing, and various knicks knacks of pop culture.
Come here in August for Nisei Week, the official LT tourist and Japanese-American business promotion week of the year.
Arrive here with convenience via Metro Gold Line rail (Little Tokyo/Arts District stop, just a stop away from the main Union Station stop).
If you have an interest in Japanese culture, cuisine or art, you want to check out Little Tokyo. If art is your thing, schmooze and gawk at an art gallery reception (Q-Pop and Hold Up Art are two of the areas many galleries). If you like to shop, Little Tokyo is jam packed with trendy stores carrying Japanese goods of all kinds: pick up some trendy street wear, a toy visage of your favorite Japanese anime character or a bento-box lunch. Those who like to ear are in luck, there are Sushi, Shabu Shabu and noodle joints galore. Little Tokyo is also home to the Japanese American National Museum (which contains important historical art exhibitions) and several Buddhist temples.
In Downtown Los Angeles ever since I can remember, there is Little Tokyo. My parents used to come every weekend to do their grocery shopping. My parents visited there doctors, travel agent and insurance agents here. Now, it's not necessary. There are Japanese grocery stores throughout Southern California now. Little Tokyo thrives and it's great to visit there when they have festivals going on.
Location of Visitor Center below:
This is a fun area to visit. The main reason I would say that is that I love sushi and there's no short amount of great restaurants to eat at. Then once you're done eating, you can walk around and soak in the Japanese culture. You can walk into a Japanese arts and crafts store and buy some cool Japanese... uh... arts and crafts things. Of you can walk into a furniture place and look at some of the beautiful Japanese... uh... furniture thingies. If you want a snack, there's a couple of cool little bakeries that have an assortment of pastries and drinks. There's also a Japanese Museum nearby where you can learn about the Japanese internment during WWII.
One of the places that adds character to Downtown Los Angeles is Little Tokyo. It is the cultural and commercial center of the city's Japanese American community.
DASH Route A shuttle buses go to Little Tokyo. The shops and restaurants there give us a fine sample of Japanese products and Japanese cuisine.
One of the attractions in Little Tokyo is the Japanese American National Museum. A good portion of their exhibits is related to the internment of Japanese Americans living in the West Coast during World War II. Beside the museum is the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) at the Geffen Contemporary.
Also nearby is the Go For Broke Monument honoring those who served during World War II in the 442nd Regiment, the much-decorated unit made up mostly of Japanese American soldiers.
I only scratched the surface of this fascinating place. I'll return often, however. One reason is that from time to time, I have a craving for ramen (rice noodles with soup).
I love Little Tokyo. It's probably one of my favorite places in downtown. There's a ton of little bakeries and markets and gift shops to spend money at. There's a bakery that sells bread crusted in sugar - healthy I know - probably not for all of you on the Atkins diet. The candies from the market are really good - especially the chocolate and the fruit flavored gum. And of course, there's sushi. I really just like walking around and window shopping. The book/magazine stores are fun too, even if I can't read any of it, I still like the pictures.
Little Tokyo is a really picturesque little community. There are dozens of great sushi restaurants, and fun shops to check out. It's a very safe area, even with its proximity to Skid Row. A great place to get out of the car & walk around a little.
A few non-Japanese things that are fun:
MOCA at the Geffen Contemporary is another campus of our Museum of Contemporary Art. This campus hosts more cutting-edge exhibitions than its sister on the Hill. On Thursdays in summer, they offer free admission & live jazz, which has turned into one of the hottest local singles scenes.
Senor Fish restaurant has an amazing lobster burrito.
The Japan America theatre hosts all kinds of events. I saw the movie "Real Women Have Curves" at a free community screening there.
This is LA:s Japanesetown.
In Little Tokyo you will find markets, clothing shops, gift-shops and a Hello Kitty shop =)
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