A Little Tokyo, Los Angeles history, culture and food tour
Nestled into the heart of Downtown Los Angeles is Little Tokyo, a cultural district that has been around since the late 1800s. It started as a small community of Japanese immigrants but has grown from generation to generation. It has suffered through many hardships, such as the Great Depression, World War II, and many economic downturns, but has bounced back each time.
Japanese American National Museum
The Japanese American National Museum is an educational center that shares Japanese Americans' fascinating history and contributions to the United States. Throughout the year, there are many rotating exhibits and a few permanent installments. It started as a humble building in 1992 but has grown into a large pavilion with galleries and a theater. This museum is a must-see sight for understanding the history of Japanese American culture and Little Tokyo.
Japanese American National MuseumJapanese American National Museum, North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Visitors interested in the arts would love visiting the East-West Players Asian American theater. This community-based space has numerous theater productions and entertainment events throughout the year. These productions highlight Asian American and Pacific Islander talent, sharing diverse stories with their audiences. There have been over 228 plays and musicals throughout its existence. If you have the chance to visit and watch a show, you'll thoroughly enjoy this unique experience.
( Credit Facebook: East-West Players )
East West PlayersEast West Players, Judge John Aiso Street, Los Angeles, CA, USA
James Irvine Japanese Garden
The James Irvine Japanese Garden is an award-winning garden with beautiful trees, a waterfall, and Japanese landscaping. It's a great place to walk around and find peace within the bustling Downtown LA area. You can find this garden within the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center. There are workshops, classes, and events held at this center throughout the year, so be sure to check before visiting.
James Irvine Japanese Garden at JACCCJames Irvine Japanese Garden at JACCC, San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Japanese Village Plaza
The Japanese Village Plaza is the beating heart of Little Tokyo. Walking around this area will make you feel like you are in Japan. This plaza is one of the places I always take guests to when visiting LA. It's fun walking around, exploring the shops, grabbing drinks at a coffee shop, and enjoying the karaoke performances in the middle of the plaza. If you're not sure where to visit in Little Tokyo, this is a great starting spot!
Japanese Village PlazaJapanese Village Plaza, East 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Double Tree Kyoto Gardens
One of the most beautiful hidden gems within Little Tokyo is the DoubleTree Kyoto Gardens. It isn't a large garden, but it is perfectly landscaped. Coming here will make you feel relaxed because it is very tranquil. It has a waterfall embedded in lush greenery and flowers. The architecture and landscaping will make you feel as if you're in the middle of Kyoto. I highly recommend taking a break here between all of the shopping and eating!
120 South Los Angeles Street120 South Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA
Nijiya Market is a small Japanese market located within the Japanese Village Plaza. It's fun to walk around inside and grab some specialty products. Occasionally, they have samples of the yummy treats that they sell. I love picking up a musubi or a bento box from there and grabbing a few tasty Japanese snacks. They also have some terrific ready-made sushi if you're looking for a quick bite to eat.
124 Japanese Village Plaza Mall124 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA
There's always a line outside of Daikokuya, but it's worth the wait. If you love ramen, this is one of the best places to get it in LA. Their signature dish is the Tonkotsu ramen, a milky pork-based broth infused with soy sauce and other flavors. My favorite part is the soy sauce marinated soft boiled egg, which is creamy and savory. They also have spicy miso ramen and spicy sesame vegan ramen.
( Credit Facebook: DAIKOKUYA Ramen )
327 East 1st Street327 East 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA
Fugetsu-do is a legendary mochi shop in Little Tokyo that you must visit. This family-owned store has been making mochi the traditional way since 1903! Mochi is a delicious rice cake that you can eat with various condiments and comes in different flavors. You can tell that they put a lot of love and care into their product because it tastes incredible! Fugetsu-do is hands down my favorite mochi in the LA area.
315 East 1st Street315 East 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA
Mikawaya Mochi Ice Cream
My parents used to take me to this place when I was a kid, and now I have to stop by here every time I'm in town. While Fugetsu-Do has the best mochi, Mikawaya has the best mochi ice cream. This sweet treat comes in endless flavors, including chocolate, mango, plum wine, island coffee, and green tea matcha. My favorite flavors are mango and green tea matcha, but all of them are tasty.
( Credit Facebook: Mikawaya Mochi Ice Cream )
MikawayaMikawaya, Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Diners looking for no-fuss, very traditional sushi would love Sushi Komasa. At this establishment, you won't find Westernized versions of this tasty delicacy. Instead, you'll find high-quality sashimi and rolls. Additionally, they also sell tempura shrimp and vegetables, fried chicken, and barbecued eel over rice. You can get all of these dishes in a set or a la carte. I love going here when I want some high-quality sushi while in Little Tokyo.