Japantown Near Me
If you’re a JA (Japanese American) you likely went to J-Town as a kid with your baachan. This is a small area of San Francisco with three indoor malls and one pedestrian-only block filled with a wide variety of Japanese shops.
Here you can find ramen restaurants and shops that sell teapots and origami paper. You can also get caught up in J-pop—Japanese popular culture that started with Sanrio and has now expanded into fashion and music.
Japantown San Francisco
One of only four Japantown’s in the United States, San Francisco’s Japantown is a fun place to explore. The district is a shopping and cultural center that celebrates the Japanese culture in its many forms. Whether you’re looking for anime comics or traditional kimonos there is something for everyone in this unique neighborhood.
The heart of the district is Peace Plaza which features a five-tiered pagoda that was given to the city by its sister city in 1968. The plaza often plays host to community celebrations and festivals.
Japantown is also a great place to find unique gifts and household items. The Japan Center Mall has a wide range of stores that sell authentic Japanese products. Those who enjoy a relaxing experience should check out Kabuki Springs and Spa which offers professional massages and soaking baths. The spa is divided into women-only, men-only and coed sections. Those looking for a more affordable option should look no further than the Best Western Hotel Tomo which brings wacky Japanese style into each of its rooms.
J-Town is a small complex hidden behind a nondescript building on Steeles Ave E. It opened in 1998 and includes a range of Japanese businesses, including a grocery store (here’s one of the few places you can get Kobe beef), a high-end butcher, a fish monger, a great bakery, and restaurants.
You can buy everything from kimonos and antique folk art to the latest in J-pop music and cosplay fashion, plus tea, incense, and porcelain pottery. There’s even a traditional Japanese bath house.
If you come during the Cherry Blossom Festival, expect lots of people. You may want to use a parking app, as the Japan Center garage can fill up quickly during these times. Fortunately, there are many other options nearby. You can also park at Kabuki Theater’s annex, which offers the same rates. Parking is free after 7 pm on the weekends. During the week, you can try to score spaces at other garages around the area.
The city of Toronto is lucky to have a Japantown, located in the heart of the city’s Chinatown. The area is a gathering place for Japanese restaurants, grocery stores, and other cultural businesses. It is also home to a number of Japanese festivals.
From the outside, J-Town looks like an ordinary industrial strip mall. But once you step inside, you’ll find a cluster of Japanese shops that include a grocer, ramen restaurant, and bookstore. Many of the shops are family-run or independently owned. One of the most popular is Uncle Tetsu, which serves Japanese cheesecakes that are becoming a local favorite.
Originally opened in 1998, J-Town has a wide selection of Japanese food. There is a high-end butcher that sells Kobe beef, as well as a bakery and patisserie. Heisei Mart is the shopping center’s grocery store, which offers a range of Japanese products and imports. The shop also has a bakery and a takoyaki stand that are open on weekdays.
Whether it’s picking up fresh manju from Santo Market or sipping a frothy bowl of udon at Roy’s Station, locals are still drawn to Japantown. But it’s less Nihonmachi than Jtown now, with lotus blossom banners replaced by street-art style murals and the neighborhood embracing a pan-Asian aesthetic.
Many of the community-oriented small businesses that served Japanese residents in Oregon’s historic Japantowns (known locally as Nihonmachi or Xiao Riben) now serve multiple populations. They include a wide range of food and retail shops, laundries and baths, and service-oriented hotels. Many of the businesses are owned by non-Japanese, but family help is still required to run them.
The Japantown Community Benefit District provides important services to one of only three remaining Japantown’s in the country through economic business development for property owners and small businesses, beautification of public spaces, and promotion of a cultural destination that celebrates traditional and contemporary Japanese culture. The district is led by a board of directors, with representation from each of the neighborhood’s 12 legacy businesses.