5.8 out of 10

Little Tokyo

Ranked 37th best neighborhood in Los Angeles
34.0503851441532 -118.236411652455
Great for
  • Eating Out
  • Nightlife
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Shopping Options
  • Gym & Fitness
Not great for
  • Childcare
  • Parking
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Cost of Living
  • Peace & Quiet
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists

Reviews

5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"Comtempory Art, Sushi and Japanese Fondue"

The tiny Little Tokyo neighborhood has benefited greatly from its central location in what is basically Downtown LA. I don’t know much about living in this area, its mostly hotels and high rises around here, but as far as coming here—this is a great spot for eating out and going to museums. Two thirds of the buildings in this area date from the 1970’s and after, so this does not have that old, run down look of much of the Downtown area.

You, of course, have a number of great Japanese restaurants here from the sinus clearing Curry House to cheap but yummy Mr. Ramen. If you want something a little more unusual try Shabu Shabu, (Japanese fondue). Those are just a few of a number of places, I could go on and on about--like Chin Ma Ya, Kushi Shabu, Teishokuyo and Shehiro. And, if you are just looking for cool nightspots to have some saki or take in the atmosphere, here are two recommendations, The Lazy Ox and Sushi Gen, I have great memories at both. In addition, with the nearby hotels and the great though overpriced shopping at little malls like Weller Court Shopping Center (where Curry House is located), this is a great part of town to stay in if you are tourist here (and have the dough to pay the higher prices).

As you might expect this is also the location of the Japanese American Museum. The museum is kind of fun—if slightly small—place to visit. They offer compelling exhibits celebrating Japanese life and achievements in the United States and fun programs like their popular sushi making working shop so that you can buy your own ingredients and make your own home made sushi. Much larger and fairly impressive is the Geffen Contemporary Museum (one of whose facilities is here in Little Tokyo). The Geffen Contemporary features contemporary art done after 1940 and has not only a large selection of contemporary art in its collection but also a fair representation of architectural exhibitions. For those of us who are amateur lovers of architecture like I am, this is just smorgasbord of intellectual and aesthetic delights.

In fact, the whole area in the Downtown area has really grown to reflect the central place that Los Angeles has come to occupy on the West Coast. No longer can San Francisco or Seattle claim to have a leg up on Los Angeles in terms of culture or commerce. This is the New York of the West Coast.
Pros
  • Great Japenese Food
  • Good Contemporary Art Museum
  • Good Hotels
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Crowded
  • Parking Hassles
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5
2yrs+

"Little Tokyo"

Little Tokyo is named a National Landmark and is composed of many little Japanese restaurants, markets, stores, and shops. While it is a great place to visit, a place to get some of the best Japanese food around and shop the different markets and venues, the neighborhood itself isn't a best place to live. While many LA neighborhoods are known for their hospitality, welcoming atmosphere, and family friendly blocks, Little Tokyo isn't known to offer those amenities.
A great place to visit? Absolutely. Some of the best Japanese food in the country- it's authentic, locally owned, and fairly priced. The markets and shops reflect the beautiful culture and heritage of Japan right here in LA. A place everyone should visit but not the place for just anyone. Someone who embraces and enjoys living in a Tokyo-reminisent area would find it outstanding, but most will just enjoy it as a place to visit and not to call home.
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"A taste of Japan"

The area marked as Little Tokyo includes both Little Tokyo and the Arts to the east.

Little Tokyo itself was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1995. Japanese Americans were removed from the original Little Tokyo during WWII. When they returned from the internment camps, many moved nearby to areas like Boyle Heights. There was very little housing remaining in Little Tokyo.

But Little Tokyo as an area continued to exist. Because of its location, the land was always attractive for redevelopment. A lot of the business redevelopment of the area involved Japanese banks and businesses. It remains as a community center for Japanese Americans, a tourist attraction, and a home to a small population.

You can go to Little Tokyo to experience a taste of Japan. There are ramen shops, sushi bars, and places to buy Japanese merchandise. You can find all types of Japanese cuisine as well as sweet shops. The Weller Court offers many of these as well as karaoke clubs. The Kinokuniya Bookstore is in Weller Court. You can buy Japanese books, manga, and CDs there. This Japanese bookstore has branches all over the world.

The Japanese Village Plaza in the center of Little Tokyo is very “touristy.”

The largest market there, Mitsua Market, is no longer purely Japanese as it was bought by a Korean company. (There are other Mitsua Markets in other parts of Southern California). Marukai Supermarket, although small, still offers “one-stop” Japanese shopping.

The Kyoto Grand Hotel and Gardens is in little Tokyo. While it calls itself a serene location, it also boasts of its proximity to the Music Center and the Staples Center.

The Japanese American National Museum should not be missed. It has an exhibition chronicling 130 years of Japanese American History. There are many events held at the museum featuring live performances or movie screenings. They also host walking and tasting tours of Little Tokyo.

The East West Players is the premier Asian-American theatre organization, which was established in 1965. The Players perform with a blend of Eastern and Western traditions, aiming to build bridges between East and West. They have an active performance calendar, plus workshops and other events.

The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center is the home to many civic arts organizations. It has a gallery which hosts exhibitions from Japan, a theatre, a Japanese garden, a cultural room, and memorials to Japanese Americans who died fighting in U.S. wars.

The Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple is close to the Japanese American Cultural Center. The Zenshuji Soto Mission is east of Alameda Street. To the south of it is the Shotokan Karate of America dojo.

The extension of the Museum of Contemporary Art, called Temporary Contemporary or the Geffen Contemporary, is on the east side of Little Tokyo.

While there is much to do in this area, and many businesses operate there, not very many people live in Little Tokyo. There are some buildings for older adults, plus condominiums, and converted lofts available.
Recommended for
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 1/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"One of the best place for Authentic Japanese Food"

Temple St cuts through a small little Japanese enclave, Lil Tokyo. Lil Tokyo has many small family owned Japanese restaurants like Daikokuya, which specializes in authentic Japanese restaurant. There is 2 markets which you can also purchase already prepared foods and other groceries that’s usually only in Japan. This place is one of the places to visit if youre a Japanese fanatic. But one of the turnoffs about this place would be getting there since it sits in the heart of Los Angeles. But an answer to that would be the train station, Union Station, is maybe 4-5 blocks away. And they have a newly built MTA which is a public tram station that would bring you just across the street to Lil Tokyo.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids

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