The Best Japanese Festivals & Events On the Web

2024 - Annual Japan Day Parade & Japan Street Fair (Celebrates Japanese Culture, Art, Tradition & Japanese Food) FREE (See Video)
2024 - City of Torrance 49th Annual Bunka-Sai Japanese Cultural Festival (Japanese Food, Dance, Music, Calligraphy, Tea Ceremony..) (2 Days)
Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirror Rooms - Two of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms-On View at The Broad
2024 Annual Nisei Week Ondo Festival Event (Community Dance Celebration) & Closing Ceremony - Little Tokyo, LA (Sunday)
2024 The Samurai Collection (25 Year Collection Focused on Japanese Samurai Armor - Largest Collection Outside of Japan) Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Muller
2024 Japanese Heritage Night Event - Los Angeles Dodgers vs Arizona D-backs at Dodger Stadium (Use Only Dodger Link)
2024 Heart Mountain Pilgrimage (3 Days: Thu-Sat) Preserve and Memorialize the Heart Mountain World War II Japanese American Confinement Site
A Beautiful Japanese Rock Garden in Traditional Japanese Style, USC Campus (Video) Landscape Composed Arrangements of Rocks (Aid for Meditating)
2024 - 28th Annual ALL TOYOTAFEST Event - Biggest Toyota Family Reunion Car Show in Long Beach, Over 500 1960’s to 2023 Toyota & Lexus!
2024 Los Angeles Dodgers Schedule with New Japanese Superstars Shohei Ohtani & Yoshinobu Yamamoto (2024 Schedule) [Video]
2024 Yayoi Kusama's Longing for Eternity - On View at The Broad
2024 Samurai Splendor: Sword Fittings from Edo Japan (Must-See for Anyone Interested in Japanese Art, History, or Culture) Ongoing Exhibit
Legendary Japanese Animator Hayao Miyazaki Wins a Golden Globe for film “The Boy and the Heron”
Explore this Ancient Culture of Japan.
Explore Ancient Japan.

Sawtelle Japantown: Best Restaurants, Attractions & Shopping in West Los Angeles

Japantown Sawtelle Japantown Guide, West Los Angeles Japantown California |

2024 Historic Sawtelle Japantown, West Los Angeles Ultimate Tips and Secrets (Updated: 2024)

Welcome to Sawtelle Japantown in West Los Angeles

Explore Historic Sawtelle Japantown, California On One Page

The Japanese history can be seen through the four Japantowns found in California. The history of the Japanese in San Francisco begins in 1869 when the first Japanese immigrants arrived in San Francisco Bay. By the late 1890s, first generation Japanese settle in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles and West Los Angeles, near Sawtelle. Even though San Francisco is the largest of these towns, Sawtelle Japantown is considered the smallest with a mix of Japanese business and new modern businesses populating the area.

Sawtelle Japantown is a small Japanese-American community along a one mile stretch on Sawtelle Blvd in West Los Angeles. Sawtelle Boulevard is a north/south street in the Westside region of the city of Los Angeles. The street has important Japanese American cultural and historical significance as the Japanese migrated to this area in the 1890s. Hashimoto Nursery is the oldest and largest retail plant nursery in the historic Sawtelle neighborhood.

Where Are the Four Official Japantowns in the United States?

There are four official Japantowns in the United Sates.

 •  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
 •  New York's Best Japanese Restaurants, Attractions and Shopping
 •  Washington DC's Best Japanese Restaurants, Attractions and Shopping
 •  San Diego's Best Japanese Restaurants, Attractions and Shopping

Little Tokyo is Used to Reference Other Japanese Cities

 •  Little Tokyo in New York (United States)
 •  Little Tokyo in Hawaii (United States)
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Where is Sawtelle Japantown, West Los Angeles Located on a Map?

Sawtelle, West Los Angeles Map

Directions from Sawtelle Japantown to Little Tokyo Japantown

Little Tokyo Map Best 2024 Nisei Week Tips & EventsAug 2024

How Far is Sawtelle Japantown to Little Tokyo Japantown?

These 2 Japantowns (Sawtelle Japantown & Little Tokyo Japantown) located in Los Angeles.  Sawtelle Japantown is only 15 miles from Little Tokyo.

  1) 15 to 20 minutes if no traffic
  2) 30 to 90+ minutes in traffic

Directions from Sawtelle Blvd Japantown to Little Tokyo Japantown

Car Directions from Sawtelle Japantown to Little Tokyo    

Directions from Sawtelle Blvd Japantown to Santa Monica Pier

Car Directions from Sawtelle Japantown to Santa Monica Pier    

Directions from LAX - Los Angeles Airport to Sawtelle Blvd Japantown

Car Directions from LAX - Los Angeles Airport to Sawtelle Japantown    

Transportation Tips for Sawtelle Blvd Japantown

Sawtelle Japantown is a small town. However, you may want to find the best transport in and out of the town. Taking personal car can be great but quite costly. Hotels charge a lot for parking. Use public transport or get a cab. And if you must drive, hire a vehicle for a day or two.

Where Can You Park in Sawtelle Japantown?

You can park on the street, there is metered parking. Also you can park in residential parking which is still a close walk (Watch street parking signs). There are parking structures you can park at but it will be more costly.

Before You Visit Japantown - Don't Forget To Bring the Following

  1.   Metro FastTrak Transponder for Car - Access to Freeway Lanes (Los Angeles, San Francisco)
  2.   Phone Holder for your rental car for Google Maps
  3.   Phone Charger, bring extra phone cables
  4.   Camera, batteries, video camera
  5.   Clothing: Jacket & pants (Fall Weather), walking shoes
  6.   Cash: some places only accept cash
  7.   Coins: street parking meters

What is the Official Name of Sawtelle Japantown? Little Osaka Japantown? West LA Japantown? West Los Angeles Japantown?

The community has been officially named as Sawtelle Japantown. It is simply referred to as Sawtelle or Little Osaka. Sometimes this place (Sawtelle or Little Osaka) is confused with Little Tokyo, which is another historic Japanese community located in downtown Los Angeles in California. It is also different from the largest Japantown in San Francisco.

What Areas Makes Up Sawtelle Japantown?

The northern end of the Sawtelle Boulevard Street hosts the Dowden Drive in the Veterans administration complex. And on the south, lies the Overland Avenue, a few blocks to the east of Sepulveda Boulevard. The Sawtelle community views this street as a major thoroughfare.

Sawtelle is nearer to UCLA, Santa Monica, and Culver City. There are so many businesses found in this place that include major Japanese supermarket, Japanese fast food (curry and ramen) and upscale Sushi Bars. You will not fail to also notice holistic and medical office, hair salons, and neighborhoods with Japanese grocery stores.

The south portion of the Sawtelle Boulevard is solely occupied by the Japanese American population. There exhibits great home gardens and landscapes representing the true Japanese tradition.

When you leave the Olympic Boulevard, the Sawtelle Boulevard spits into four a four-lane boulevard. Here are parallel to the San Diego freeway and the Sepulveda Boulevard.

The Boulevard runs all the way to the Culver city but not before crossing the Sepulveda Boulevard. The origin of the Sawtelle Boulevard all the way to where it ends is very important to the Japanese American community. It is not only a landmark to the Japantown but also a historical street.

History of Japantown Sawtelle

The first Japanese to start occupying West Los Angeles came as a result of discrimination covenants against people of the Japanese Origin during the late 1890s. Like the left, they were forced to settle near Sawtelle, and area that then allowed them to buy real estate and other investments. Other areas in California were discriminative of the people of Japanese descent. As time went by, many Japanese Americans started owning businesses in this area. They formed cultural and religious organizations same as those in Little Tokyo and San Francisco, enabling them to thrive fast.

Informally, the area is known as Little Osaka for many years. Later, the Japanese Americans lobbied to name this section of West LA, as Sawtelle Japantown. This is the name it has been known forever since as it is meant to reflect the culture of the Japanese immigrant community.

Since 2012, Sawtelle has been thriving as a Japantown with more and more businesses coming up. It happened so until February 25th, 2015 when the Los Angeles City council unanimously approved the boundary. This boundary consists of Santa Monica Boulevard to the north and Pico Boulevard to the south. And to the west is the Cantilena Avenue while the 405 freeway borders the east. The whole local leader and community wholeheartedly supported the creation of the Sawtelle Japantown. Otherwise, they feared the area would lose its Japanese-identity.

When Did the Japanese Start Coming to Sawtelle Japantown?

The Meiji Restoration of 1868 saw the first wave of Japanese into America. It came with agricultural decline and different reforms in the society. This attracted many Japanese to leave their home, coming to fill the shortage of the laborers. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 put a moratorium on the labor that was initially offered by the Chinese, giving enough room for the Japanese.

As the immigrated into the country, many who relocated to California found themselves in the areas surrounding Sawtelle. It was impossible for them to buy land properties in other areas new UCLA, Bel Air, Brentwood, and other neighboring areas because of ethnic prejudice.

Ethnic enclaves were formed near industrial areas. These helped the new Japanese immigrants to become farmers, working in celery and bean fields.

In 1913, the Californian Alien Land Law was formed, which prohibited immigrants from getting citizenship. The Japanese Americans were unable to buy land. But they started buying land under their American-born children.

In 1941, during the period of World War II, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. This made President Franklin Roosevelt to pass the Executive Order 9066, forcing all Japanese into internment camps. However, more than 110,000 people were incarcerated of the crime because there was no evidence. These were mostly second-generation Japanese.

Many other Japanese immigrants then moved into other areas of the US after the war. In Sawtelle, a small community came to establish their homes, since the Japanese were allowed to buy land here. Many returned to live in their homes even after the war was over.

Future Changes for Sawtelle Japantown?

The same story as it happened with San Diego and Sacramento is repeated here. There are now big developments coming up in Japantown Sawtelle. In the past, you could not have failed to witness long-standing Japanese American businesses like the Yamaguchi Store and Safe Save market. But they are all gone and other developments have taken over.

There are many other businesses coming up that have no ties to the Japanese American heritage. They have nothing to do with the Japanese culture, yet they are moving into the area.

There is no doubt that the preservation of the Japanese culture in the US depend on Japantowns like Sawtelle. This is because many of the new generation Japanese are moving into the mainstream America. They are born into the country, and they assimilate to become Americans.

So, what will become of Sawtelle? Will it become just like any other American town? That would really be a sad moment for the Japanese Americans. They would hate to see their culture and heritage thrown away and forgotten. It is not good for the community to become homogenous and lose its identity. This is why the 2015 boundary amendment that was approved by the city council marked a very important period for the town. Chances of losing the identity of the town have been greatly reduced.

Sawtelle Japantown - Where Did All the Japanese Go?

As a new generation of Japanese is born, they seem to want to assimilate themselves to become Americans. Business opportunities are opening in and out of the town for different people. Therefore as other communities move in, the Japanese born here move out in search of greener pastures.

What is Sawtelle Travel Tips?

When coming to Sawtelle, consider the following tips. These will help you find your way better around the time and enjoy your vacation.

 • Check the Weather - The weather here is warm during summer, and can get cold during winter. on.

 • Identify the right accommodation - There are so many hotels in Los Angeles, but you don't need one visiting Sawtelle Japantown. Make a list of the main areas of your stay and take an Uber to Sawtelle Blvd.

 • Don't forget to eat great food - on Sawtelle Blvd, you can enjoy so many great Japanese foods: Tempura, Ramen, Udon, Sushi.. Browse the Japanese food lists below.

Where Are the Best Places to Shop and Eat on Sawtelle Japantown, West Los Angeles?

Are you planning on visiting Sawtelle Japantown in West 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 Sawtelle Japantown tips to help you enjoy your time to the fullest.

Sawtelle Japantown isn't as large as Little Tokyo's Japantown. There is one main street called Sawtelle Blvd., from Santa Monica Blvd To Olympic Blvd which has all the Japanese businesses and long history.

Sawtelle Japantown Tips with History

 •  West Los Angeles Buddhist Temple - Formed almost 90 years ago (Authentic)

Sawtelle Blvd. - Things to Eat and See

 •  Giant Robot - Japanese anime and pop culture shop (Authentic)
 •  Giant Robot 2 Gallery - Art Gallery Museum (Authentic)
 •  Sushi Tsujita - Japanese Sushi (Authentic)
 •  Tsujita Annex - Ramen (Authentic)
 •  Tatsu Ramen - Ramen (Authentic)
 •  Furaibo - Japanese Izakaya (Authentic)
 •  Kiriko Sushi - Japanese (Authentic)
 •  Hide Sushi - Japanese Food & Sushi (Authentic)
 •  Daikokuya - Japanese Ramen (Authentic)
 •  Kimukatsu - Japanese Tonkatsu (Authentic)
 •  Sushi Stop - Japanese Sushi (Authentic)
 •  Black Market - Store
 •  ROC Kitchen - Taiwanese Cuisine
 •  Menya Tigre - Japanese Curry

 •  Hashimoto Nursery (Since 1928) - Japanese Nursery (Authentic)
 •  Yamaguchi Bonsai Nursery (Since 1929) - Japanese Nursery (Authentic)

Sawtelle Place

 •  Curry House - Japanese Curry (Authentic)
 •  Max Karaoke Studio - Rent private room for yourself or friends.
 •  Nijiya Market, West LA - Japanese Market (Authentic)
 •  Beard Papa - Japanese Pastry (Add) (Authentic)
 •  Daiso Japan - Japanese Dollar Store (Add) (Authentic)

Not Japanese But Worth Checking Out

 •  Brian's Shave Ice

Top Places to Visit in Sawtelle Japantown

The following are places you should not miss on your list-Coffee Tomo. This is the perfect place to start your morning with house-roasted coffee and great snacks. The fresh an ambiance in this place is a real invite for all.

 • Alias books. Looking for a place to learn the history of Japantown Sawtelle? This is the best area in town.

 • BlackMarketLA. If you need the best gift for your friend, come to this place, and you will get it all. It is located across the street from Sushi Tsujita. Get your Sushi and get there.

 • Max Karaoke Studio. Love to sing? Get to Max Karaoke Studio, to the south of Sawtelle Japan town and sing to and extensive selection. You will get all the best songs from here.

Top Things To Do in Sawtelle Japantown?

The first thing you want to do in Sawtelle enjoys the traditional Japanese cuisine. There are several restaurants serving the best foods in the town. Start at the Sushi Tsujita who are famous for their latest Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle. It offers the perfect environment for enjoying Sushi as you sit at the table or a bar.

In the evening, get to Blockheads Shavery Co for a Taiwanese snow cream commonly known as shaved cream. You get to pick your own flavors and make sweet ice cream from there.

What is the Most Popular Japanese Event in Sawtelle, West LA?


West Los Angeles Buddhist Temple Obon & Bon Odori Dance Festival / WEST LA OBON - Obon or 'Festival of the Dead' is celebrated in Japanese-American communities all over the country in the middle of July or August. In America, obon has become a key event for both the Buddhist temples and the local community, as well as a celebration of the rich Japanese-American cultural heritage. Obon features bon odori folk dancing, live music and taiko, games, and lots of food. Location West Los Angeles.

 •  West Los Angeles Buddhist Temple Annual Summer Obon Festival - WLA (2 Days) Live Taiko, Japanese Food, Children Games..
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Top 20 Things To Do & See Around Downtown Los Angeles

Things that are not Japanese Related

  1. Visit the Hollywood Sign
  2. See a show at the Hollywood Bowl
  3. Visit Griffith Observatory
  4. See Hollywood Walk of Fame - Public Sidewalk
  5. Visit the TCL Chinese Theatre and see movie star handprints (Grauman's Chinese Theatre)
  6. Drive down Famous Sunset Blvd.
  7. Visit Universal City Walk & Universal Studios
  8. Have a picnic in Barnsdall Art Park
  9. Hike Runyon Canyon
  10. Visit the Grammy Museum
  11. Tour Warner Bros. Studios
  12. Walk along El Pueblo at Olvera Street, Los Angeles
  13. Visit Chinatown
  14. Explore the Walt Disney Concert Hall
  15. Eat at Grand Central Market
  16. Explore Fashion District in Los Angeles
  17. Vist Los Angeles Arts District in Downtown
  18. Take a train ride out of Union Station, Los Angeles
  19. Catch the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, Dodgers, Kings
  20. Visit California Science/iMax Center/Space Shuttle
  21. Eat at the Orginal Pantry Cafe (1924)
  22. Visit Griffith Park: Los Angeles Zoo, Horse Rides, Merry Go Round, Train Parkm Hiking..
  23. Ride Horses at Sunset Ranch
  24. Visit Petersen Automotive Museum

Top Attractions Outside of Downtown Los Angeles

  1. Disneyland and California Adventure
  2. Visit Santa Monica Pier and ride the Ferris wheel
  3. Visit Santa Monica Place & 3rd Street
  4. Visit The Getty Center
  5. Go for a walk or bike ride along the Venice Beach Boardwalk
  6. Ride a bike along Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach to Venice Beach
  7. Take a boat ride to Catalina Island
  8. Explore Venice Canals
  9. Visit The Queen Mary
  10. Catch the Los Angeles Rams
  11. See a Comedy Show at a club
  12. Shop on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills
  13. Visit the Grove in Los Angeles
  14. Eat at Lawry’s The Prime Rib on La Cienega Blvd.
  15. Eat at Pinks Hot Dogs (1939)
  16. Walk on Melrose Blvd (Shops and Dining)
  17. Visit a Theme Park: Knotts Berry Farm, Ragin Waters, Six Flags
  18. Eat at the Redondo Pier, Santa Monica Pier, Manhattan Pier, Hermosa Pier
  19. Catch the Los Angeles Angeles, Ducks
  20. Visit La Brea Tar Pits

What Other Japantowns Can You Visit and Learn About Japanese Culture

Sawtelle Japantown is the smallest and newest Japanese American community in California. There are three other offical Japantowns, San Francisco, Little Tokyo and San Jose. Go visit these Japantowns and learn about the Japanese Immgrants and their struggles and success in America.

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Sawtelle Japantown Authentic Japanese Restaurants, Attractions and Shopping in West Los Angeles

Plus Authentic Japanese Cuisines Outside of Sawtelle Blvd.

Click [Sawtelle Near Me] Button
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2024 Sawtelle Japantown Best Sushi Restaurants in Los Angeles

Best Sushi Bar and Freshest Sushi in West Los Angeles: Tuna, Spicy Tuna, Shrimp, Salmon, Sashimi..


Total: 5

2024 Sawtelle Japantown Best Ramen, Udon, Shabu Shabu Restaurants

1) Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup dish popular throughout the world.
2) Udon (うどん or 饂飩) is a thick noodle made from wheat flour.
3) Shabu-shabu is a Japanese hotpot dish of thinly sliced meat, vegetables boiled in water.


Total: 6

2024 Sawtelle Japantown Best Authentic Japanese Desserts

Where You Can Get Tasty Desserts


Total: 2

2024 Sawtelle Japantown Best Japanese Restaurants (Various Food Dishes)

More Delicious Japanese Food Choices: Izakaya, Tempura, Teriyaki, Sashimi, Vegetables, Miso Soup, Rice..


Total: 9

2024 Sawtelle Japantown Best Japanese Attractions

Walk Little Tokyo Historic Past


Total: 3

2024 Sawtelle Japantown Best Japanese Shopping

Sawtelle Japantown Has Cute Stores!


Total: 5

2024 Sawtelle Japantown Best Authentic Japanese Gardens

Visit the Oldest & Largest Retail Plant Nursey in West Los Angeles.


Total: 2

2024 Sawtelle Japantown Best Hotels & Stays

Closest Places Inside Sawtelle Japantown


2024 Sawtelle Japantown Japanese Buddhist Temples


Total: 1

2024 Los Angeles Things To Do & See (Not Japanese)

While in Los Angeles Don't Miss These Places


Total: 32

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2024 Sawtelle Japantown Help and Support

Questions About Sawtelle Japantown?


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Sawtelle Japantown Popular Japanese Festival Events in West Los Angeles

May Include Other West Los Angeles Events

Total: 4

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