- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Fodor's Southern California 2014
Little Tokyo Review
Originally the neighborhood of Los Angeles' Japanese community, this Downtown spot has been deserted by many of its founding immigrants, although it still remains only one of three official Japantowns in the country, all of which are in California. The area has recently begun to blossom again thanks to the next generation of Japanese-Americans setting up small businesses here mixed with an influx of foot traffic coming in from neighboring redevelopment projects and newly built condos. Aside from the restaurants and shops, there's a lovely garden at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, a good resource for ongoing local events. There's also the Japanese American National Museum, which maintains its original site, a renovated Buddhist temple from 1925 that has an ornately-designed entrance.
Little Tokyo has dozens of sushi bars, tempura restaurants, karaoke bars, and trinket shops selling electronic toys, lanterns, and Hello Kitty tchotchkes.
On 1st Street you'll find the only strip of intact buildings from the early 1900s. Look down when you get near San Pedro Street, to see the art installation "Omoide no Shotokyo" ("Remembering Old Little Tokyo").
Embedded in the sidewalk are brass inscriptions naming the original businesses, quoted reminiscences from Little Tokyo residents, and steel timelines of Japanese-American history up to World War II. Nisei Week (a nisei is a second-generation Japanese) is celebrated here every August with traditional drums, dancing, a carnival, and a huge parade.
The area tends to get a bit deserted at night, so it's best to come in the later part of the afternoon on weekdays.
Because of its location right near other top attractions Downtown—including the Geffen Contemporary—it's the perfect spot to stop for an inexpensive and interesting lunch. Grab some sushi and pick up a bag full of authentic Japanese sweets to keep you going while sightseeing.
- Address: Bounded by 1st, San Pedro, 3rd, and Central streets, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA
- Location: Downtown Los Angeles
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
Hello all! Read more
Long time lurker but only recently joined to get some advice about my up coming Canada trip so thought id share my USA experiance.
4 of us (21-25years old) flew in to LAX mid to late August, picked up Read more
Hello, we're spending spring break in San Diego in a condo on Mission Beach. Read more
· News & Features
This week, we covered top destinations for great family getaways—from Disney World to dinosaur spotting. ... Read more
Go on location in Görlitz, Germany, to the transporting set of director Wes Anderson's film... Read more
Kick off spring with some of this year's best events and hotel packages in Washington, D.C.... Read more