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2019 - 10th Annual Aki Matsuri Festival - Premier Japanese Culture and Food Festival (Japanese Food, Bon Odori, Performances, Taiko..) The Park Vegas
15th Annual 2019 Japanese Classic Car Show - America's 1st & Original Large Scale Japanese Car Show Dedicated to Old School Japanese Cars
2019 - 32nd Annual Southern California Japanese Surfing Contest
2020 Japanese New Year's Oshogatsu Festival in Little Tokyo (2 Locations) Live Entertainment, Food Booths, Taiko, Mochi Making..
2019 Annual Okinawa Bazaar (Entertainment, Tasty Food, Games, Raffle, Merchandise, Raffle)
Asian Cultural Bazaar 2019 (Ondo Dancing, Games, Crafts, Entertainment, Japanese Food, Auction, Produce..)
2020 - 131st Rose Parade Presented by Honda (The Magic of New Year's Day in an Unrivaled Celebration, Exclusive to the Streets of Pasadena)
Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution - January 30th
Japanese New Year - Shōgatsu
2019 - Annual JapanFest 2019 - 33rd Year - Experience Japanese Culture (2 Days) Japanese Food, Taiko, Performances, Games, etc..
2019 Annual Lantern Festival in the Spirit of Obon - Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens [Video] Japan's Summer Homage to Ancestors..
 The State of California's Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution - Jan 30th
 Valentine's Day - Top Tips & Ideas for Your Love Ones

2019 Little Tokyo Los Angeles, Best Things To Do & See Guide in LA

Japantown, Little Tokyo in Los Angeles
The Complete Guide to Little Tokyo, Los AngelesBeta
Japantown Little Tokyo Top Things To Do & See, LA | Japanese-City.com
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Historic Little Tokyo, LA Ultimate Guide to Explore

Little Tokyo Things To Do & See
In Los Angeles, Little Tokyo is the cultural center for Japanese Americans in Southern California. and was declared a National Historic Landmark District in 1995.

If you have ever visited Los Angeles for business or fun, you may have noticed how the place has evolved. What gets the attention of everyone that visits Los Angeles California, is the rich culture that Little Tokyo presents. It is hard to miss this beautiful place that takes center stage of development in Los Angeles. Exploring Little Tokyo will not only reveal a modern town but also by a rich culture that lies underneath. You will discover Japanese cultural landmarks, charming shops, excellent authentic Japanese restaurants, eye-catching Japanese gardens and museums you won't find anywhere else.

Where Are the Four Official Japantowns in the United States?

There are four official Japantowns in the United States.

 •  Little Tokyo Japantown, Los Angeles, California
 •  San Francisco Japantown, California
 •  San Jose Japantown, California
 •  Sawtelle Japantown, West Los Angeles, California

More Japantowns (Japanese Areas) to Visit in the United States.

 •  Seattle, Washington
 •  Seattle Japantown (Not Designated)
 •  Bainbridge Island, Seattle

What is the Address of Little Tokyo and Where is Little Tokyo Located on a Map?


Click - Little Tokyo Address and Map of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, Japantown


Where Do I Park in Little Tokyo

All around Little Tokyo are parking garages and lots. The prices will vary between lots, Weller Court is a great parking spot. The key: go early to avoid traffic. You can find cheaper lots further away but safetly could be a concern. It's better to pay more and park closer due to these suspect areas.

How to Find Parking in Little Tokyo on Google Maps:  Little Tokyo Parking Spots

Is it Safe to Walk in Little Tokyo?

Little Tokyo is safe to walk around during the daytime, but at night you need to be concerned about Skid Row (homeless) - very dangerous neighborhood at night to walk.

How Do I Get to Little Tokyo Using Metrolink Train or Bus Instead of Driving - Metro Gold Line Runs through Little Tokyo

Rather than drive downtown and park, take the MetroRail or MetroLink. The MetroRail Gold Line stops in Little Tokyo and connects with the Metro Red Line and MetroLink trains at Union Station. A number of the MetroRail stations have free parking, and the day pass is only $5 per person (less for seniors).

How to get to Little Tokyo Metro Links:

    MetroRail:  https://www.metro.net/around/ (Add Little Tokyo to "Destinations")

    MetroLink trains:  https://www.metrolinktrains.com/destinations/little-tokyo/

What Cultural Towns are Next to Little Tokyo, Los Angeles?

 •  Chinatown, Los Angeles
 •  Koreatown, Los Angeles
 •  Mexican Birthplace & marketplace. Olvera Street, Los Angeles

In Little Tokyo Who Can I Ask Questions, Get Brochures, Maps About Little Tokyo?

Your first stop should be "Little Tokyo Visitors Center" to answer any of your questions about Little Tokyo.

 •  Little Tokyo Visitor's Center (Authentic)

You Need A Few Days in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles

You will need time if you want to know the history of Little Tokyo, taste the Japanese food, shopping areas and everything else.

We have put together a comprehensive Little Tokyo Guide that will share the history of the town and everything that makes it unique.

What Are the Closet Hotels to Little Tokyo?

There are 3 hotels that are in the heart of Little Tokyo. All of these hotels are close to each other and two hotels are on historic first street.

 •  Miyako Hotel Los Angeles (On 1st Street) (Authentic)
 •  DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Los Angeles (Japanese Garden on the roof, walkway to Weller Court Mall!)
 •  Little Tokyo Hotel (On 1st Street, budget)

Don't Forget To Bring the Following if Traveling to Little Tokyo Los Angeles

 •  Bring your Metro FastTrak Transponder for Car:  Access to Freeway Lanes to bypass traffic (Los Angeles, San Francisco)
 •  Phone Holder for your car
 •  Phone Charger, extra phone cables
 •  Camera, batteries, video camera
 •  Clothing: Jacket & pants (Fall Weather), walking shoes
 •  Cash: some places only accept cash (Bridge tools in San Francisco, if you don't have FastTrak)
 •  Coins: street parking meters

13 of the Oldest Buildings Standing Since 1890s in Little Tokyo

Thirteen buildings on First Street were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 as a national landmark, this is significant in Japanese-American history.

Little Tokyo and Japanese Immigrants

Little Tokyo Historic District is a historic Japanese commercial district in downtown Los Angeles, California. Japanese immigrants settled the district in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Before World War II, Little Tokyo was the largest Japanese community in the United States. Today, the Little Tokyo Historic District represents the original commercial heart of the community.

Until the 1880s, the majority of immigrants from Asia to the U.S. were Chinese. This changed with the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which barred Chinese laborers from immigrating to the U.S. Because of this, Japanese laborers became increasingly sought after by American businesses and the number of Japanese immigrating to the U.S, particularly to the West Coast, increased rapidly.

The area in Los Angeles became known as Little Tokyo was first settled in 1885, when the first Japanese restaurant named "Kame" opened on East First Street. By the late 1800s, large numbers of Japanese immigrants, nearly all male, were beginning to concentrate in boarding houses in the areas around East First Street. Many had come for short-term stays to work in the local agricultural industry, but as Los Angeles entered a period of growth in the early 1900s, they chose to remain in the U.S. source: nps.gov

History of Little Tokyo, Los Angeles

Little Tokyo's development has been managed by the Little Tokyo Business Association (LTBA). LTBA is a non-profit organization that has been dedicated to the growth and development of Little Tokyo since 1959. The roots of this organization can be traced back to 1890 - the time when the Japanese were beginning to establish their presence in the US. A few immigrants from Japan formed a group they called "Japanese Association of Los Angeles." This group was responsible for the established of the over 40 businesses that were lined up in a two block of East First Street.

In 1904, a law was passed that restricted immigrants from Asia to America. But this Exclusion Act did not prevent Little Tokyo from thriving. The Town continued to witness more businesses coming up under the Japanese Association, which was the leading Japanese Organization at that time. The organization served as the local arm of the Japanese Consulate that was based in San Francisco until 1915.

As it is with any culture, modernity is always a threat. That is the reason that compelled the second generation English-speaking Japanese, Nisei, to come up with the idea of a festival that would focus on instilling and ensuring Japanese culture in the younger generation. Nisei brought this idea to the Japanese Association in 1934. Today, you will hear of the Nisei week, a result of that same initiative.

How the Japanese Entered the United States

Little Tokyo has over 131 years of history in Los Angeles with over 400 successful businesses operating here. The Meiji Restoration or 1868 was the beginning of the Japanese emigration into the US. In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed which triggered the replacement of Chinese laborers with those of the Japanese origin. In 1907, there was the "Gentleman Agreement" between the United States and Japan that close Japanese immigration, opening doors only for business persons. As is that was not enough, and another law-the Immigration Act of 1924 was enacted, further restricting Japanese immigrants.

Many Japanese went back to Japan during World War II in which most were displaced. But that was not the end of the Japanese in the US as there is Little Tokyo as one of the remaining Japanese towns in the country. The town holds all the information there is to know about the Japanese in the US.

Little Tokyo Los Angeles was taken over by the African Americans immigrants who came to the US during the Second World War. Since the Japanese abandoned the town, the empty homes provided convenient shelter. That is when the area became known as "Bronzeville."

The rebuilding of Little Tokyo begun in 1941. At this time, LTBA re-emerged alongside another organization, the Los Angeles Japanese American Association (1947).

The Japanese started returning in Los Angeles after World War II and moved into the area around downtown. And during the 1950s, many Japanese came and took a position near Boyle Heights.

The development of Little Tokyo become more apparent in the 1970s through the 80s when oversees corporations, including many Japanese banks, made their headquarters in America. This resulted in new restaurants, shopping centers and other businesses that are still a significant contribution to what we can see today.

LTBA continues to play an essential part in ensuring Little Tokyo thrives. Only that now there is another player making the thing move even faster-the Little Tokyo Business Improvement District (LTBID) established in 2003.

Future Changes in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles

Little Tokyo is slowly becoming less Japanese and more diverse. There is every reason for this to happen as development has made things to change. It is no longer a place only for the Japanese Americans but for the whole world. This situation was triggered by the African Americans' occupation go the empty houses in Little Tokyo.

Gentrification is a threat to all ethnic enslaves in the mission district of San Francisco. And that is why you will not fail to spot brand new condos after every line when you walk along the 1st street. Where local restaurants once thrived, you will find emptiness to pave the way for a new transit station.

But that is only as far as the development of the area is concerned. In 2012, the Sustainable Little Tokyo was formed to transform the community into an eco-friendly, small district business-driven district to protect the history of the community.

Today, little Tokyo is the best destination in Los Angeles if you are looking for beautiful restaurants and nice shops. There is an excellent harmony between the old and the new. New restaurants and stores are spouting up, but the authentic Japanese businesses and buildings are still there to visit and experience history.

There are different cultures in the area with the new generation bringing in the element of modernity. But that alone is not enough to change the cultural history and deep roots Little Tokyo has established already.

Why Did Japanese Businesses Leave Little Tokyo?

Every culture changes with time and Little Tokyo is no different. Little Tokyo is more than just a place for the Japanese, many of those who migrated to Los Angeles have left to start businesses in other cities. That is what everyone does when a place begins to develop, and now Japanese businesses are in every major city in America.

The Ultimate Best Tips for Visiting Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, California

Are you planning on visiting Little Tokyo in Los Angeles? We have the ultimate tips and secrets to save you time in what to eat and where to go. We have selected the top Little Tokyo tips to help you enjoy your time to the fullest.

Can You Find Top Authentic Japanese Food Restaurants in Little Tokyo?

Yes there are a lot of Japanese run restaurants in Little Tokyo with experienced Japanese chefs. Look for the word "Authentic" next to the Japanese Food Restaurants on this page.

We have listed the top Little Tokyo Food Restaurants for you to check out.

Little Tokyo Walking Tour in Los Angeles

Little Tokyo is one big area in downtown Los Angeles, California. To make it easier to understand, we create a personal walking tour for you and divided it into five walking areas of Little Tokyo.

1) First Street, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles
You can start your personal Little Tokyo walking tour along 1st Street. This is where the first Japanese restaurant was established in the late 1800s. It carries a great historic significance for Little Tokyo as it stands as the foundation stone of the city.

On 1st Street you can find the JANM Museum, Go For Broke Monument, Go For Boke Museum & MOCA (Art Museum). Visit the JANM (Japanese American National Museum) to learn the history of the Japanese people in America. All things Japanese Americans are found in this museum. Every Thursday is a free day. Check out their Litle Tokyo walking tour.

Visit the "Go for Broke" Museum and monument. It commemorates the heroism of the Japanese American Soldiers in World War II.

MOCA Geffen: The place is exclusively dedicated to contemporary art with three MOCA museums to enjoy. There have been challenging works of art created since 1940, some of the most intriguing pieces.

Make a stop at family owned Fugetsu-Do Manju for the finest manju since 1903.

If you are hungry visit Daikokuya ramen noodles for one of the best bowls of ramen in Los Angeles.


First Street, Los Angeles - See Map of 1st Street

 •  1st Street - 13 of the Oldest Buildings since 1890's (Authentic)
 •  Fugetsu-do - Over 100 Years Old, Since 1903 (Authentic)
 •  Japanese American National Museum - Museum (Authentic)
    •  Chado Tea Room at JANM Museum
 •  Go For Broke Monument (Authentic) - Hard to see this, left of Moca Building next to the parking lot.
 •  Go For Broke National Education Center (Authentic)
 •  Daikokuya - Ramen (Authentic)
 •  Hachioji Craft Ramen (Authentic)
 •  Koyasan Buddhist Temple (Authentic)
 •  MOCA - Geffen Contemporary Art Museum
 •  Miyako Hotel Los Angeles (Authentic)

2) Weller Court, Little Tokyo - Shopping, Restaurants
Weller Court Plaza: You will find restaurants, shopping, and the Japanese market. Nothing carries more weight than what you find in this place regarding culture and heritage.

Next to Weller Court Plaza, DoubleTree Hotel: It is called the Japanese Garden in the sky. Every meal that has a Japanese origin can be found in the Hotel. It is a fantastic place that represents both ancient and modern Japanese culture in the US.

Weller Court Highlights - Market, Shopping, Restaurants
 •  Marukai - Japanese Market, snacks.. (Authentic)
 •  Curry House Restaurant - Japanese Curry (Authentic)
 •  Kinokuniya Bookstore - Japanese books, supplies..

Note: Doubletree Hilton Hotel is walking distance from Weller Court and worth seeing the Japanese Garden.

 •  DoubleTree Hilton Hotel - Rooftop Kyoto Japanese Gardens Overlooking City (Amazing)

3) Japanese Village Plaza, Little Tokyo - Shopping, Restaurants
You will find shopping, bakery, coffee, restaurants, and a Japanese market.

Japanese Village Plaza Highlights
 •  Yamazaki Bakery - Drinks, coffee, breads.. (Authentic)
 •  Mikawaya - Mochi ice cream (Authentic)
 •  Mitsuru Cafe - Japanese Restaurant is known for Bean Cakes (Authentic)
 •  Little Tokyo Watchtower (Authentic)
 •  Little Tokyo Mural
 •  Nijiya Market - Japanese Market (Authentic)
 •  Shabu Shabu House (Authentic)

Note: Little Tokyo Mall is right next to Japanese Village Plaza and has Anime Shops hidden inside, you may miss this mall so ask.

Little Tokyo Mall, Little Tokyo, Little Toyo, LA - Anime
 •  Anime Jungle - Everything Anime

4) Honda Plaza Area, Little Tokyo - Food
There is a small strip mall on 2nd Street and South Central Ave.

Have you ever thought of trying authentic sushi? Go to Sushi Gen but expect a line.
 •  Sushi Gen - Sushi (Authentic)

Karayama is next to Starbucks in Office Depot lot across from Honda Plaza.
 •  Karayama - Fried Chicken (Authentic)
 •  Shin Sen Gumi Hakata Ramen (Authentic)

5) JACCC Building (Japanese American Cultural & Community Center)
The JACCC building is a hub for Japanese and Japanese American arts and culture and a community gathering place which includes the Aratani Theatre, James Irvine Japanese Garden, and Noguchi Plaza.

 •  JACCC Building (Authentic)
 •  JACCC Japanese Garden (Authentic)

6) Buddhist & Churches in Little Tokyo
Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Church founded in 1905, the current location since 1969, walk down 1st Street and N Vignes Street.

Higashi Honganji Buddhist temple presents the beautiful architecture of the Japanese people. The temple is located on East 3rd street in the town. Learn about the teaching of Jodo Shinshu.

 •  Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple - LA Betsuin (Authentic)
 •  Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple (Authentic)
 •  Koyasan Buddhist Temple (Authentic)
 •  Zenshuji Soto Mission (Authentic)

Christian Church in Little Tokyo

 •  Centenary United Methodist Church founded in June 1896 (Authentic)

Where are the Top Japanese Food Snacks, Candy, Chips in Little Tokyo?

There are two Japanese Markets that have every Japanese chips and candy you would want to try. You will be obsessed once you try them. Look for Marukai Market or Nijiya Market.

Is Little Tokyo Safe?

Little Tokyo is safe to walk around during the daytime, but at night you need to be concerned about Skid Row (homeless) - very dangerous neighborhood at night to walk.

Where are the Japanese Anime Shops?

Look for Little Tokyo Mall for the ultimate stores in Anime.

Where are the Japanese Magna Books in Little Tokyo?

Look for Kinokuniya Book Store in Weller Court or Anime Jungle in Little Tokyo Mall.

Where is the Largest Japanese American Museum in Little Tokyo?

JANM or Japanese American National Museum located on First Street, Los Angeles.

Where Can I Find the Oldest Buildings in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles?

13 of the Oldest Buildings Still Standing Since the 1890s on First Street, Los Angeles.

Where to Find Authentic Japanese Restaurants in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles?

There are many authentic Japanese restaurants that we list. Check our picks for tops places from the list.

What are the Hours of Little Tokyo, Los Angeles?

Hours are based on the shops and the area you are visiting.

Some Examples: JACCC: 8 am - 10 pm; JANM: 11 pm - 5 pm; Fugetsu-Do: 8 am - 7/8 pm

When is Nisei Week in Little Tokyo?

Nisei Week showcases the Japanese Cultural for two weeks in August. You can read up on the latest tips so you won't waste your time. Also find all the events during Nisei Week.

Nisei Week Events & Tips, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles

Little Tokyo Transportation Tips in Little Tokyo

How do you get to Little Tokyo with ease? Little Tokyo is just one of the great Japanese towns in the US, which makes it an excellent destination for any visitor. But the problem comes up when it comes to traveling.

With technology, however, you can get to Little Tokyo using the best means available. The best means would be to use a car to drive around the town. That will give you enough time to observe the town inside out. And if you prefer public transportation, there are several choices like the Metro Gold Line to make your traveling easy. Before you come to too little Tokyo, book an excellent place to stay in advance. Sometime the number of visitors may be too overwhelming for the town.

What is the Difference Between Issei, Nisei, Sansei, Yonsei, Gosei

The first generation of immigrants, born in Japan before moving to Canada or the United States, is called Issei. In the 1930s, the term Issei came into common use, replacing the term "immigrant" (ijusha). The term Issei represented the idea of beginning, a psychological transformation relating to being settled, having a distinctive community, and the idea of belonging to the new country. - wikipedia

• Issei ("1st Generation") - Generation of people born in Japan who later immigrated to another country.
• Nisei ("2nd Generation") - Generation of people born in North America, or any country outside
      Japan either to at least one Issei or one non-immigrant Japanese parent.
• Sansei ("3rd Generation") - Generation of people born to at least one Nisei parent.
• Yonsei ("4th Generation")- Generation of people born to at least one Sansei parent.
• Gosei ("5th Generation") - Generation of people born to at least one Yonsei parent.

Lost of Identification Being Japanese American-Finding Your Roots Again

Japanese Americans that are Sansei (3rd Generation Japanese) or Yonsei may have an identification crisis. One may feel they lost their Japanese heritage or they lost the identity behind it.

Little Tokyo has the opportunity for you to come back and learn the traditions of Japanese Culture. You will be exposed to all areas of the Japanese experience. Visiting the JACCC (Japanese American Cultural Community Center) one will learn about areas you identify with and areas you want to get more involved in.

The Japanese culture has so many aspects and traditions that are captivating. You can also visit other Japantowns, Cultural Centers, Festivals, Japanese Gardens, and YouTube to learn about the Japanese Culture. You can go to a Japanese Garden, take Japanese language classes and witness a tea ceremony. We are finding an increasing trend in people learning and experiencing the Japanese Culture and then going to Japan.

What Are the Most Popular Japanese Events in Little Tokyo?


January

Kick off the Japanese New Year's Oshogatsu Festival in downtown Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. The Annual Japanese New Year's Oshogatsu Festival held at downtown Weller Court Shopping Center and Japanese Village Plaza. Japanese art and entertainment will be center stage. The Japanese New Years or "Oshogatsu" is one of the most important celebration for the Japanese.

 •  Japanese New Year's Oshogatsu Festival in Little Tokyo (2 Locations) Live Entertainment, Food Booths, Taiko, Mochi Making..

August

Nisei Week has to be the most popular time in Little Tokyo. This occurs during August for 2 weeks. Here are 3 of the events that happen:

 •  Nisei Week Grand Parade on Sunday (4 pm) - Little Tokyo (One of the Largest & Most Exciting Events of the Year) Tips

The Nisei Week Grand Parade is one of the highlights during Nisei Week. Plan on waiting on curb along with everyone else, bring snacks and/or dinner to pass time. This event is usually one of the largest and most exciting events of the year. There are a lot of areas you can sit and watch the parade. The most popular areas are going to be the most crowded areas. Keep walking until you find a spot that you can sit and watch.

 •  Annual Los Angeles Tanabata Festival, Little Tokyo (Arts & Crafts, Food, Games, Entertainment..) [During Nisei Week] Los Angeles (3 Days)

The Nisei Week Grand Parade is one of the highlights during Nisei Week. Plan on waiting on curb along with everyone else, bring snacks and/or dinner to pass time. This event is usually one of the largest and most exciting events of the year. There are a lot of areas you can sit and watch the parade. The most popular areas are going to be the most crowded areas. Keep walking until you find a spot that you can sit and watch.

 •  Nisei Week Ondo (Community Dance Celebration with Minyo Station) & Closing Ceremony - Little Tokyo, LA (Sunday)

Nisei Week Ondo (Community Dance Celebration) & Closing Ceremony brings together dancers from temples throughout California. Final dance to close out the Summer Obon Festivals. This will be a beautiful event to particiate in and watch.

Walking Tour History of Little Tokyo, Los Angeles

You can take a personal walking tour of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles on your own. Browse through the list below this to see what you can do. If you want a more personal tour and history of Little Tokyo, you can contact the Japanese American Museum.

What Other Japan Towns Can You Visit and See

Apart from Little Tokyo, there are three other Japanese Towns in the US. They are San Francisco, San Jose, and Sawtelle. When you finish checking out Little Tokyo, these are two other places you may want to put on your list. Enjoy your visit. We will have complete guides tips to help you.

Top Things to Do in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles

There is a lot to do in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. We picked the top things to do in Little Tokyo to give you an easier time selecting where to begin and end.

Check out our growing list below, we will keep adding to it. There are a lot of other places but we are thinking about your time. If you want to explore you can, we are also focused on restaurants that are authentic Japanese restaurants.


2019 Little Tokyo Los Angeles - Top Things To See & Do Guide

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Little Tokyo, Los Angeles Japanese Events
Japanese Cultural Events To See

Looking for things to do and see in Little Tokyo? Here are a list of upcoming events you can check out.