Little Tokyo Los Angeles – Things to Do

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Little Tokyo Los Angeles Japanese neighborhood.

The Little Tokyo neighborhood, also known as the Little Tokyo Historic District, is an ethnically Japanese American district in downtown Los Angeles that is home to North America’s largest Japanese American population. It is the largest and most populous of the United States’ only three official Japanese villages, all of which are in California (the other two being San Francisco Japanese Village and San Jose Japanese Village). It was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1995 after being established in the early twentieth century. At its peak, Little Tokyo housed approximately 30,000 Japanese Americans.

Little Tokyo remains a cultural hub for Los Angeles’ Japanese American community. It is primarily a commercial, industrial, cultural, religious, restaurant, and shopping district. Little Tokyo’s character is changing as a result of the recent downtown housing boom. The original Little Tokyo can be found in approximately five large city blocks.

It is bounded on the west by Los Angeles Street, on the east by Alameda Street, on the south by 3rd Street, and on the north by First Street, but it also includes a significant portion of the block north of First and west of Alameda, where the Japanese American National Museum, the Go For Broke monument, and a row of historic stores line the north side of First.

A bronze lettered timeline has been set in the cement in front of these stores, depicting the history of each store from the early twentieth century to the district’s renovation in the late 1980s. In general, Little Tokyo is bounded to the east by the Los Angeles River, to the west by Downtown Los Angeles, and to the north by Los Angeles City Hall and Parker Center.

Things to Do in Little Tokyo

The Japanese American National Museum and an extension of the Museum of Contemporary Art, formerly known as the Temporary Contemporary and now known as the Geffen Contemporary, are among the museums (named for film and music producer David Geffen).

Furthermore, the visual arts are represented by LAArtcore, a non-profit arts organization dedicated to raising awareness of the visual arts through 24 exhibitions and educational programming each year. A memorial to the eponymous astronaut, a Japanese-American from Hawaii who was a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Challenger when it disintegrated during liftoff in 1986, can be found inside a kiosk on Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Street.

Little Tokyo also has an interesting collection of public art, including a memorial statue of Chiune Sugihara, Japan’s consul in Lithuania prior to WWII.

There are also two lovely public Japanese gardens in the area: the James Irvine Garden at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center and a rooftop garden at the Kyoto Grand Hotel and Gardens, which is now the DoubleTree L.A. Downtown and part of the Hilton chain. The “Go For Broke” monument honors Japanese Americans who served in the United States Armed Forces during WWII.

The Nisei Week festival, held every August, is one of the highlights of Little Tokyo. It includes a grand parade, athletic events, Japanese art and cultural exhibits, a taiko drum festival, the Japanese Street Fair Festival, a car show, and other celebrations.

Little Tokyo shops and restaurants

Unsurprisingly, there are numerous Japanese restaurants in the area that cater to a wide range of customers. Many of them specialize in one type of Japanese cuisine, such as donburi, Japanese noodles (soba, ramen, and udon), shabu-shabu (which means “swish-swish” in Japanese, referring to the movement of dipping meat and vegetables in a common bowl of boiling water), Japanese curry, sushi, or yakitori. There are also a number of yakiniku restaurants, where the meat is frequently cooked on a small grill built into the center of the table. The world-famous California Roll was invented in Little Tokyo by a chef named Ichiro Mashita at the Tokyo sushi restaurant Kaikan.

Two wagashi (Japanese candy) stores in Little Tokyo are among the oldest restaurants in Los Angeles. Fugetsu-do, founded in 1903, is the city’s oldest food establishment and the first to celebrate a centennial; its best-known offerings include mochi and manj, and it claims to be the inventor of the fortune cookie. Mikawaya was founded in 1910, but is best known for introducing mochi ice cream to the United States in 1994.

Several stores in Little Tokyo specialize in Japanese language videos and DVDs, while others specialize in Japanese electronics and video games. These are great places to go if you’re looking for Japanese video games that were either never translated into English or were never released in the United States. There are also a number of stores that sell manga and anime-related merchandise.

There are several restaurants, karaoke clubs, and a Bubble Tea cafe in the Weller Court shopping center. There are several stores specializing in luxury brand products, such as Coach handbags, for Japanese tourists. A large bookstore, Kinokuniya, which is part of a well-known Japanese chain, is also nearby. They have a large selection of Japanese language books, magazines, music CDs, manga, and anime, as well as English language books on Japanese topics and translated manga and anime.

Little Tokyo Plaza

The Japanese Village Plaza, located roughly in the center of Little Tokyo, is perhaps the neighborhood’s most distinguishing feature. There are several restaurants and tourist-oriented shops in the square. Japanese Town Square is bounded by First and Second Streets.

Article Post By Gerimar

Image: wikipedia

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