It is a serene place to remember the Japan Town of Yesteryear
Early immigrants from Japan settled in the Salt Lake Valley in the early 1900s. These were people who left their home country of Japan to find a better life in America, which was considered to be the "Land of Opportunity." Most of the earliest immigrants were young men who wanted to earn money to help their families in Japan or to better themselves.
These men found work on the railroads, in mining, or became farmers or business owners. They worked hard for years. Some were able to bring women over from Japan to become their brides. They married and started families.
Salt Lake City became a gathering place for these Japanese people. They established a JapanTown in the area of First South and Second West. They started businesses such as stores, barbershops, hotels, and restaurants. There were Japanese churches which were set up in the area.
That area was where the Japanese farmers and others from the areas of Salt Lake, Utah, and Davis Counties would go to patronize the businesses and buy Japanese groceries or to socialize. It was called JapanTown. There was also a JapanTown in Ogden, Utah.
The Japan Town was displaced in the 1960s when the Salt Palace Convention Center was built in that area. The Japanese Church of Christ and The Salt Lake Buddhist Temple remain on First South, but the businesses were closed or relocated.
In an effort to remember the JapanTown of yesteryear, members of the Japanese American community have been involved with trying to preserve some of that history. There is a Japanese garden area now established as a Memorial on First South between Second West and Third West next to The Japanese Church of Christ on the north side of the street.
The Nihon Matsuri (Japan Festival) of Utah is generally held on the last Saturday of April each year in that location in Salt Lake City.
It is a place to remember the JapanTown and reflect on the history. The public is invited to stop by to check out the memorial site.