California Japantowns - Exploring the preservation of history, culture, and community...

San Francisco’s Japantown

Founded in 1906, San Francisco's Japantown was the first Japanese American community to settle and establish itself in the United States. As a community, the neighborhood has continued to evolve, and efforts continue to ensure support for the future viability of the greater Japantown neighborhood for the next 100 years.


JAPANESE AMERICAN HISTORY WALK The San Francisco Japantown Japanese American History Walk integrates interpretive signage, historical business/organization building plaques, and Japanese American History Walk icons highlighting points of historical and cultural significance to the Japanese and Japanese American community throughout San Francisco’s Japantown (Nihonmachi). A public project funded by the State of California Proposition 40 Bond measure (The California Clean Water, Clean Air, Safe Neighborhood Parks, and Coastal Protection Act of 2002), it creates permanent historic and educational markers in a combination of private and public areas of San Francisco’s Japantown. The History Walk engages, educates and enriches visitors, making Japantown a place for discovery, exploration, validation, inspiration and recognition. For an online version of the SF Japantown History Walk, go here.

San Jose's Japantown

If you walk down Jackson Street in San Jose’s Japantown today, you will experience the increasingly rare feeling of a neighborhood where history and heritage reside in the keepers of the shops and the people walking along the streets. In California, where most other Japanese-American neighborhoods were lost after the internments of World War II, San Jose's Japantown is a rare treasure.



Little Tokyo, Los Angeles

Little Tokyo, in the heart of downtown Los Angeles has undergone significant urban renewal over the past 30 years, much like San Francisco's Japantown. The area was first inhabited in the early 1880s by Japanese laborers lured by the availability of jobs in the railroad and farm industries. Today, Little Tokyo remains a popular tourist attraction for visitors to Los Angeles and a touchstone for the Japanese American community, which commutes in to eat, shop, and attend classes, civic meetings, and religious services.