Los Angeles, CA

Things to do in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles

Travel Bugs World

Los Angeles's Little Tokyo is a bustling area full of historical and cultural restaurants and shopping. Here are the highlights of Little Tokyo and things to do that will make for a fantastic day out.

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Little Tokyo Los Angeles

Little Tokyo in Los Angeles is a National Historic Landmark District. Built in 1885, it was established as the cultural center district for Japanese Americans in Southern California. Today it is the largest of official Japantowns in the U.S.

Little Tokyo offers you a slice of Japan with its historical and cultural restaurants and shopping. The area's five or so blocks are filled with sushi joints, restaurants, streetwear vendors, dessert spots, and more.

Shopping in Little Tokyo

In the compact area, you can find boutique stores selling Japanese products. There's everything from cute to vintage and opportunities to buy unique gifts seen nowhere else.

There are fun graphic t-shirts, designer and streetwear, Japanese beauty products, vintage Japanese paraphernalia, Anime collections, books, home goods, and so much more.

Nijiya Market, the authentic Japanese market, sells fresh Japanese produce, plus snacks, drinks, and specialty items. There's a bakery, fresh sushi, and summer salads.

Additionally, they offer food delivery and an online grocery store if you are craving Japanese but are not ready to get out of the house and into the crowds yet.

"We love coming to Little Tokyo not only do they have the best Japanese food they have some really cool shops. They also have live music on the weekends." - Carol B, Jan 2020, Tripadvisor.
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Eating out in Little Tokyo

There are so many places offering food in Little Tokyo and many sushi spots, including the 40 years old Sushi Gen and the vegan sushi at Shojin.

There is the popular noodle house Daikokuya serving their famous tonkotsu pork broth.

Then there is the oldest restaurant in Los Angeles's Little Tokyo, Shabu Shabu House serving authentic Japanese hotpot. You order freshly sliced cuts of meat, noodles, and raw vegetables to cook piece by piece at your own table.

Many bars serve Japanese beers, whiskeys and Little Tokyo even has a sake bar, Sake Dojo, serving sake.

To finish off a tantalizing day of food, a highlight for sweet-tooths is a visit to Mikaway. For over 100 years, they have their infamous mochi ice cream. The chewy rice balls with ice cream filling in flavors such as green tea, black sesame, red bean, plum wine, and strawberry are mouth-watering.

Or there's Bae's soft-serves with flavors such as charcoal pineapple, Oreos, or cinnamon toast crunch, and other wild flavors swirled into jet-black cones, making perfect Instagram moments. It's ice cream art!

Other things to do in Little Tokyo

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple

The Higashi Hongashi Temple is a lovely example of Japanese Buddhist art, architecture, and landscaping.

The temple's traditional roof is built with over 30,000 tiles imported from Japan. Lanterns adorn the ceiling of the main chapel, and there's a grand statue of Amida Buddha on the altar.

They have weekly Sunday service and memorial services once a month.

MAX Karaoke Studio

If you really want to get into the modern Japanese culture, you need to get yourself to MAX Karaoke Studio.

You can rent a private room and sing to your heart's content. There are songs in English as well as Japanese.

Japanese American National Museum

For museum buffs, the Japanese American National Museum offers modern art to historical exhibits. There are thousands of artifacts on display in their permanent collections.

Additionally, as part of Go Little Tokyo's 6th Annual Delicious Little Tokyo, the museum is holding a virtual event on July 22nd, 'on a journey through Little Tokyo's culinary past, present, and future!'

Japanese American Cultural and Community Center

The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center offers many events and activities throughout the year, but the highlight is a visit is the James Irvine Japanese Garden.

The garden consists of a stream through a lush green area complete with cedar bridges and feels very peaceful and relaxing.

Additionally, at the center is the Aratani Theater, home to events from Asian American musicians or performers such as the traditional Japanese theatre, Kabuki.

Festivals

Little Tokyo has regular festivals, such as Nisei Week in August, and Delicious Little Tokyo, offering an opportunity to try Japanese foods.

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Travel writers reporting on NewsBreak to help you improve your lifestyle and give you ideas on how to get more adventure and travel in your life. Having traveled to over 25 states in the U.S. (& lived in 3), our goal is to find interesting & fun things for you to do. Follow us for inspiring stories each week.

Los Angeles, CA
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