2019 Seattle Japantown Tips
2019 Seattle Japantown Tips
Explore Seattle's Historic JapanTown
Seattle Things To See
Seattle and Historic Japantown
If you are going to Seattle and want to know more about Japanese history you will need a few days to see everything. Seattle is a
beautiful city and the weather is beautiful in July. If you don't go in Summer, check the weather when you book your trip.
Taking in the outdoor nature views and exploring this charming city is a nice escape. By September it will soon rain and get colder.
If you never been to Seattle, we have the tips that will save you time and make your trip memorable.
We have broken our list into 3 areas.
- Places to See & Food to Taste (culture, site-seeing, eating, pier)
Seattle Historic Japantown
(history, site-seeing, shopping, eating, hiking, walking)
Seattle Bainbridge Island
(Japanese Memorial, site-seeing, museum, eating, driving, scenery, ferry)
Keep in mine Seattle Japantown is small, you can't compare it to Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. What is unique is the original
buildings are still there since 1904, and you can actually go inside of them. You will get a sense of history here. The Panama Hotel
was designated a National Historic Landmark.
"The Panama Hotel and Tea House, at 605 1/2 S. Main St., anchors what was once the heart of Seattle's Nihonmachi, Japantown,
It was built in 1910 by the city's first Japanese architect, and for the next three decades, the lower floors of
the five-story workingman's hotel were home to a laundry, dentist, tailor, pool hall, book store, florist, sushi shop and sento, a Japanese-style public
bathhouse." -The Seattle Times
Where to stay in Seattle. If you stay in downtown it gets pricer than the outside cities like the Seattle Airport or in Renton.
If you stay in the outside cities you will drive about 15 minutes to get to downtown, but the drive allows you to see the
beautiful trees that surround this beautiful Seattle area.
Seattle Japantown History
Prior to World War II, the Japanese-American community resided in an area 15 blocks north of Jackson Street, known as Nihonmachi (or Japantown).
Their influence can be seen all the way back to the late 1800s, when Dearborn Street was named Mikado Street and Japanese-owned-and-operated businesses
flourished in the area. For half a century, Japantown thrived with bathhouses, dry goods stores, tailors and barber shops. This all changed, following the
attacks on Pearl Harbor, when Executive Order 9066 forced residents of Japanese descent to leave their homes, businesses and communities and enter ramshackle
internment camps. More than 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, including adults and children, immigrants and citizens alike, were incarcerated. This
compelling history has recently caught the public's imagination with the best-selling novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. The book features
the century-old Panama Hotel where, today, locals meet to sip fragrant teas.
Although Nihonmachi never returned to what it once was, its presence can still be felt today. The area is lined with other historic buildings, restored
by the descendants of some of the original property owners. Together with other community-minded business owners, they have spurred a revitalization effort
to continue its distinct cultural essence. Kobo has moved into the former Higo Variety Store, retaining the spirit of Nihonmachi through its shop and gallery,
which features artists of the Pacific Northwest and Japan. The NP Hotel was restored and the new Nihonmachi Terrace built to house families and elders. Restaurants
dot the area, featuring tatami rooms and sushi bars to enjoy traditional and contemporary Japanese cuisine.
List of Stores in Japantown, Seattle
1) Maneki Japanese Restaurant
304 6th Avenue South, Seattle WA 98104, (206) 622-2631
Maneki Restaurant is traditional Japanese cuisine and a landmark restaurant and building located in the International District, Seattle.
You have to call to make reservations, leave a message of time and party size. They will call you back or page.
You can order off the menu by dinner combinations or by individual items.
Established in 1904, the first sushi bar, tatami rooms (private matted rooms) and karaoke bar were created.
The original Maneki was built on the hill on 6th Ave. S and Main St in the heart of Nihonmachi or Japantown. The white building was 3 stories and looked just
like a Japanese castle. On weekends it served 500 plus customers in the "tatami rooms" or private matted rooms. It served the Japanese community with its many
theatrical plays, weddings and funerals. When World War II broke out everyone that was Japanese were interned in camps. The beautiful castle was ransacked and
became a ruin. A space in the NP Hotel was used for storage for all the internees that were forced into camps. It was after the war in 1946 and when the internees
returned and claimed their belongings that the space became available. The present Maneki has been operating and serving loyal regulars for over one hundred years.
We invite you to experience a little bit of Japan in a casual at home atmosphere.
For more than 100 years, people young and old have returned to Maneki for traditional family-style Japanese food served in a welcoming, neighborhood atmosphere.
We invite you to discover the magic for yourself, located in the heart of Japantown
It may be one of Seattle's oldest neighborhoods, with roots stretching back to the late 1800s, but Japantown is quickly becoming the city's newest art
destination. The vibrant, diverse spirit of the 'hood (which is anchored by the historic Panama Hotel and runs along Fifth and Sixth Streets between S Jackson and Main)
is the perfect inspiration for a host of new galleries, shops and restaurants.
2) Hotel NP
Location: Building on the right of Minakei Restaurant.
Currently the building is for low-income rentals. If you can get into the building lobby, you can see pictures and glass cases of the building from the past.
3) Panama Hotel
605 1/2 S Main St., Seattle, WA 98104 (Downtown)
The Panama Hotel in Seattle, Washington's International District was built in 1910. The hotel was built by the first Japanese-American architect in Seattle,
Sabro Ozasa, and contains the last remaining Japanese bathhouse in the United States.
The Panama Hotel and Tea House, anchors what was once the heart of Seattle's Nihonmachi, Japantown, one of the most thriving communities of its kind in the country.
It was built in 1910 by the city's first Japanese architect, and for the next three decades, the lower floors of the five-story workingman's hotel were home to a
laundry, dentist, tailor, pool hall, book store, florist, sushi shop and sento, a Japanese-style public bathhouse.
Of hundreds of such communal bathhouses in Japantowns across the country, this is the only one preserved intact, in place.
Maintaining the high standards set by previous owners Takashi and Lily Hori, Johnson is fastidious about the cleanliness of the white linens and comforters in the hotel rooms.
She is active in every aspect of running the hotel, from fixing plaster to making beds.
4) Panama Hotel Tea & Coffee House
607 S Main St., (between S 6th Ave & S Maynard Ave), Seattle, WA 98104, (206) 515-4000
I appreciate this place. It is a nice, classy tea and coffee house in the International District in Japantown. The prices aren't low but the quality of tea and coffee is good.
In the Tea & Coffee House, see historic photos of Japantown before the internment are framed on the wall of the tea house. Some of the old-timers from the neighborhood check
them closely for recognizable faces during a recent open house at the hotel.
Look for a glass panel that is installed in the floor of the Panama Hotel Tea House, you can see some of the items left in the basement.
To schedule a tour of the hotel basement and baths, call the hotel at 206-223-9242.
International District, 600 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA 98104 (206) 329-4736
Momo means peach in Japanese, a symbol of a long, healthy and happy life. At Momo boutique in Seattle's heart of the ID/ Japantown, is a hip & friendly 'hapa shop'
with Asian and European.
6) Kobo Shop & Gallery - Higo
604 S Jackson St, Seattle WA, 98104
7) Kobo Shop & Gallery - Capitol Hill
814 E. Roy, Seattle WA, 98102
Kobo which translates from Japanese as 'artist's workspace,' is an artisan gallery featuring Japanese and Northwest fine crafts. KOBO specializes in
both traditional and contemporary works, offering a selection of objects and functional forms in clay, fiber, metal, wood, bamboo, textile, and paper.
KOBO also exhibits the work of small studio artisans from the U.S. and abroad who share a similar affinity with Japanese folk arts and contemporary design.
8) Fuji Bakery
526 S King St, (206) 623-4050, fujibakeryinc.com
Gracious service augments bites of perfection at East-meets-West.
9) Kaname Izakaya
610 S Jackson St, (206) 682-1828, kaname-izakaya.com
For a sho-chu screwdriver and Japanese pub grub at one of Seattle's best happy hours.
Tsukushinbo, 515 S Main St, (206) 467-4004
Local sushi stop and neighborhood favorite Tsukushinbo only cooks up their famous, steaming hot ramen noodles on Fridays.
11) Dirk Park
523 S Main St, (206) 399-5506, proledrift.com.
12) 519 Art Studios
519 S Main St, (206) 245-8598, 519artstudios.com.
Bryan Ohno's Northwest art haven urban art concept (pictured, 519 S Main St.; 205.459.6857; urbanartconcept.com) also roosts.
13) Beth Cullom's Cullom Gallery
603 S Main St, (206) 919-8278, cullomgallery.com
Traditional and contemporary Japanese woodblock and paper prints abound.
Seattle Downtown - Things to Do
Seattle Things To Do - Japanese Culture with Non-Japanese Musts
1) Seattle Space Needle
400 Broad St, Seattle WA 98109, (206) 905-2100
51 stories high. There may be a long wait so bring something to do in line. You will see a 360 degree view of the city and harbor.
Avoid the pricey restaurant but the viewing area has a clam chowder bread bowl that is delicious. There is parking around the area.
2) Seattle Pier 57 Ferris Wheel/Waterfront
1301 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101, (206) 623-8600
Seattle Pier. Ferris wheel, arcade games for the kids, horse carousel, and plenty of shops and restaurants.
3) Pikes Market Place
1916 Pike Place, Seattle WA 9801
Above the downtown pier. There is the famous flying fish you have to see. If you go early in the morning or late at night you can avoid the tourist that come
in from the incoming boat cruises.
4) World Famous Flying Fish Market
Pike Place, Seattle WA 9801
World famous fresh fish company in Seattle's Pike Place Market where fishmongers throw fish and visitors have fun.
5) Mee Sum Pastry
1526 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101, (206) 682-6780, meesum.com
Chinese pork buns and sesame balls are a must. Inexpensive.
6) Le Panier Very French Bakery
1902 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101, (206) 441-3669
Croissants and coffee. Long lines but worth the wait. Inexpensive.
7) Starbucks - Store Number 1
1912 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101, (206) 448-8762
This the original Starbucks store number 1. Everything started here. If you saw the long line out the door you may ve just walked by it.
If there is a long line, you can go when they open or come right before they close you can avoid the wait. During August they open at 7:30 am and close t
8:00 pm at night. If you love coffee you will love this.
8) Pikes Clam Chowder
1530 Post Alley Seattle, WA 98101, (206) 267-2537
Ranked number 1 on yelp and winner of many awards. Get the clam chowder sampler - 4 small cups of clam chowder and bread. Inexpensive.
9) Seattle Mariners Game
1250 1st Ave S, Seattle WA, 98134
For $10 you can enter a beautiful stadium to see the home team place. Food here is typical of ball parks.
You can park next to the stadium on a 6 story parking structure if it isn't sold out or go early. Ask for seats out of the sun.
10) Seattle Pier 57 - Waterfront
301 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98121, (206) 623-8600
Seattle Pier that has sea food restaurants, shopping, Ferris wheel, arcade for the kids, flying horses carousel and also where the Ferry Boat leave for Bainsbridge Island.
Parking lots all around.
11) Seattle Pier 52 - Ferry Boat to Bainsbridge Island
801 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98121, (888) 808-7977
This is where you drive your car on to a Ferry and enjoy a 35 minute scneice view of Seattle. See Bainbridge section for things to see.
Japantown International District, Seattle, WA
Address: 600 5th Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98104
Tips at the International Uwajimaya Market Building
The location of the Japantown International District is not far from JapanTown
Parking: you can park in the larrge lot and validate for $7.00
Looking for Japanese food places? At the Japanese market, pick up the local Japanese newspapers ideas in the area.
In 1928, with a dream of bringing traditional Japanese food to fellow Asians in the community, Fujimatsu Moriguchi began making specialty Japanese fare and selling
it out of the back of his truck to Japanese fishermen and loggers in Tacoma, Washington. Word spread as the popularity of his food grew and soon Fujimatsu needed more
space. He and his wife, Sadako, decided to open a small market in Tacoma to serve the growing Asian population. The Moriguchis named their store Uwajimaya - "Uwajima"
being the name of the area in Japan that Fujimatsu had learned his trade, and "ya" meaning store.
At the outbreak of World War II in 1942, the store closed its doors as the Moriguchis along with their children were sent to a Japanese internment camp. Upon release in 1945,
the Moriguchis returned to the Pacific Northwest to reopen Uwajimaya in the historic Asian neighborhood of Seattle known today as the International District. The Moriguchis
also made another important change to their store at this time: they expanded their offerings by importing food items and wares directly from Japan, and later, from other
1) Seattle Uwajimaya
600 5th Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98104, (206) 624-6248
A large Japanese market in the international district. There is a food court with international foods.
I visit Uwajimaya whenever I'm in Seattle (or Portland). It's like an entire Japantown under one roof - Kinokuniya bookstore, supermarket, gift store, and restaurants.
And the fish department
2) Kinokuniya Bookstore
525 S Weller St, Seattle, WA 98104 (206) 587-2477
This one is like the one in San Francisco's Japantown, just smaller, with both the stationery and the bookstore in one place. It's still a great place though, with its Japanese fashion
710 6th Ave S, (between Cherry St & Lane St), Seattle, WA 98104, (206) 355-4084
Inexpensive Japanese items, like kitchen gadgets, etc.
515 S Main St, Seattle, WA 98104, (206) 467-4004
I came by just after opening for dinner and right then felt like this was a nice getaway off the main street and in Seattle's old Japantown. It's a moderate, calm and welcoming space
5) Maekawa Bar
601 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104, (206) 622-0634
I would come here just because it reminds me of restaurants in the SF Japantown. The food is ok. I ordered the beef tongue, the maguro mini-don, and the takoyaki.
They were all fine
6) Fuji Sushi
520 S Main St, Seattle, WA 98104, (206) 624-1201
A solid longtime player in Japantown. FS does classic Japanese cuisine; don't look for anything fusion/derivative/interpretive or any of that trendy jive.
What they do they do reliably
7) JCCCW, Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington
1414 South Weller Street, Seattle, WA 98144, (206) 568-7114.
Established in 2003, the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington is dedicated to preserving, promoting and sharing Japanese and Japanese American history,
heritage and culture. Founded by a group of longtime community leaders, we are a true community based organization with staff, board members, volunteers and supporters
from throughout the Seattle area Japanese and Japanese American communities.
Japanese Culture - More Things To See
1) Japanese Gardens - Kubota Garden
Renton Ave S & 55th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118
Japanese Gardens Seattle Japanese Garden 2.5 - Kubota Garden acres, https://kubotagardens.com
2) Wing Luck Asian Museum
719 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104
Tour of Japan town, japantown history.
3) Seattle Japanese Garden
1075 Lake Washington Blvd E, Seattle WA 98112, (206) 684-4725
Japanese Gardens Seattle Japanese Garden 2.5 - Kubota Garden acres, https://kubotagardens.com
Japanese Information Sources
Sources: Jean Nakayama from Minakei Restaurant
Tour of the JP Building next to Minakei Restaurant.