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San Francisco's Japan Town

Posted by mountainoluv, 20 September 2014 · 1506 views

San Francisco Japan Town Peace Pagoda Nihon Machi shopping Kinokuniya Bookstore
San Francisco's Japan Town It’s been a while since I made a blog post. I’ve been kind of busy, but really procrastination is mostly to blame, ha ha!

This one is going to be about a trip I took to San Francisco. In particular, it will address my visit to Japan Town in San Francisco. By the way, sometimes they refer to it as Nihon Machi. I was on vacation with a family member for four nights in San Francisco. I was staying at a place called the Good Hotel, located in the SOMA neighborhood. I wanted to see Japan Town, so that was our priority one of the days we were there. We had to walk about four blocks to get to a bus stop for the appropriate bus. It’s always a hassle to take public transportation. In San Francisco, however, it is an even bigger hassle to drive. The hotel I was staying at charged $30 per night for parking. (I didn’t have to pay, however, because I traveled by train.) Anyway, the bus took us to where we wanted to go. Japan Town is located near the intersection of Geary Blvd. and Webster Street. We walked around for some time, and then went to a place called ‘New People.’ There were three levels of shops, and a cinema in the basement. I thought it was going to be bigger from the description in the guidebook, but there were only a couple of stores per level. A highlight for me was the fancy toilet seat in the restroom. It was heated, and it shot warm water from two different angles. I had heard of such things, but I had never experienced it before. The person I was with wanted to get a tea service at a tea shop that was on the first level. This isn’t my type of thing, so I just sat there. My companion seemed to enjoy it.

After that, we went to a shopping mall across the street. The highlight of the mall for me was the Kinokuniya Bookstore. I was familiar with this bookstore because I had been in the one in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. I was also in one in Honolulu, Hawaii. It is a very large and nice bookstore, with lots of selection. In the rest of the mall, there were some unusual shops. Oh, and I could tell the building was old. It seemed to have a 1970s feel to it. It was a little light on choices for food, but we wound up finding a place that met our needs and we got food there. There are actually two malls, east and west, with an open air plaza in between. The malls are the Japan Center Mall and the Nihonmachi Mall. In between, there was a nice attraction: a Peace Pagoda. It was presented to San Francisco by their sister city, Osaka, in 1968. There was a certain amount of litter and broken glass in the area, but except for that, it was nice to look at. We wound up spending ~3 hours in the area, before catching the bus back to where we came from.

OK, so that was it for my visit to Japan Town (Nihon Machi) in San Francisco. If you are ever in San Francisco and you are at all interested in Japanese stuff, it would definitely be worth a visit!

WHAT? SF has a Japan Town??? Man I was at SF during August! I've seen their China Town, did a brief exploring of Korea Town but not Japan Town because I wasn't aware of it.


There's a Little Tokyo too?! GRRRRR 


Thanks for telling me this. Next time I go to Cali I'm definitely going here!!

Thanks for the comment.


Ha ha, yes, L.A. has 'Little Tokyo' and S.F. has 'Japan Town.'


Regarding L.A., if you can make it to the Gold Line (light rail), there are three good stops, all in a row. Coming from Pasadena, first you got Chinatown. The next one is Union Station. If you get out there, across the street is Olvera Street, the oldest street in L.A. There is a shopping area, with booths of Mexican souveniers and Mexican restaurants. Think of this like 'Mexican Town.' The next stop is Little Tokyo. One thing I should've mentioned about Little Tokyo in L.A. is that they are supposed to have some nice luxury hotels there. (Not that I've ever stayed at any of them, ha ha!)


It seems like the little tokyo's/japan towns are more Americanized, while the Chinatowns are more authentic, like earthy. Come to think of it, L.A. has more Americanized Chinatowns, namely, Monterey Park, San Gabriel, and Walnut, ha ha!

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