Photowalk: Little Tokyo

On Saturday, a friend and I were able to take a trip Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, CA. For the uninitiated, Little Tokyo is a district in which many Japanese-Americans frequent. As such, there are many shops and restaurants catering to their needs. It is considered a national landmark and a popular cultural attraction. If you’ve never been, consider this photo walk a little guide. (All photos taken with my trusty Nikon D3100 with the 18-55mm Kit Lens and CPL lens filter. And messed up by the JPEG conversion.)

Union station in LA as seen from the outside. From here, it’s around a half-mile walk to Little Tokyo.

The walk is just a straight shot down Alameda St. I advise you go on a cool day if you can, as walking there is brutal during the summer months.

Luckily, the morning was fairly cool.

The first thing usually seen when entering Little Tokyo is the Japanese American National Museum. This is a historic museum depicting Japanese American History.

Across the street is the Japanese Village Plaza. Here, there are many different restaurants and shops to fulfill your needs. In the distance we see the Miyako Hotel.

A mural with various depictions of Japanese Americans.

What appears to be a Japanese guard tower or water tower at the entrance to the plaza.

Across the street we see various restaurants and shops.

The plaza in question. It’s empty since most Japanese establishment open around 11am.

Some visitors sitting on a bench near an interesting stone arrangement.

The Little Tokyo Mall. While it isn’t very big nor does it have many shops as of late, there is one shop that is famous worldwide.

Jungle. This is a shop that caters to Anime/Manga fans alike. The store sells many, many Anime-related goods ranging from figures, character goods, and collectibles. The store also sells many old Japanese series such as Godzilla, Sentai Rangers and Kamen Rider.

Sharp readers and devoted fans will recognize that Jungle was the site of the US release of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya DVDs.

As the sign says, pictures are not allowed within the shop. Not wanting to cause any trouble, I respected the rules, despite wanting to show you the inside.

Jungle has a second location across the street, Jungle 2nd. This store focuses more on Anime DVDs and Manga, as well as clothing and music. There are also Gunpla and Lolita clothing for sale. Next to it is the famous Ramen restaurant, Daikokuya. The Ramen is incredible.

The view of Downtown LA while crossing the street to Weller Court.

Weller Court is located on Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Street, which is named in honor of the Japanese Astronaut who tragically lost his life  during the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster.

A Memorial honoring Onizuka. A model of the Challenger is displayed, with a memorial plate displayed on the base.

Weller Court is a small complex that has a few restaurants and places to shop, most notably the Kinokuniya Bookstore and Marukai Japanese Market.

Kinokuniya is a Japanese Bookstore chain that sells various Japanese Books and Stationary.  There is also a large selection of Manga. Camera rules apply here, as well.

Hunger had set in, so we decided to eat at Curry House.

The lovely menu, depicting their famous curry.

Had to go with the Menchi Katsu.

It all looks good. What tickles your fancy?

The food’s arrival. It looks better up close.

After stuffing our faces, we decided to meander into Marukai.

Marukai is your basic grocery store, except that they mostly stock Japanese goods. There are loads of tasty desserts and confections here.

Anything stand out to you?

Walking back to make some final purchases.

Upon arriving back in the plaza, we found a charity event going on to help raise money for the victims of the recent Japanese Earthquake. We happily donated some money.

After some more shenanigans, it was getting later in the afternoon and we decided it was time to head back to the Station and hop on a train home.

Barely made it in time. The train left at 4pm, and we got to the station at around 3:50pm.

My purchases for the trip, with what little money I had. If you plan on going, make sure to bring a good amount of money.

That concludes my little Photo walk/Guide to Little Tokyo. If you ever have the chance to go there, I would highly recommend it. There are loads of places to shop and places to eat, and it’s scenery is quite nice. Bring a friend and head on down.


2 responses to “Photowalk: Little Tokyo

  1. Nice shots! I just took the Metro Blue line to Olvera St. trip yesterday and plan on doing Little Tokyo next. I noticed that the Metro train was made in Japan. I didn’t realize how spectacular looking the inside of the Union Station was! I’ve been going to Little Tokyo since a kid in the 70’s. My crack back then was the new tiny Hello kitty store that opened. It was my ‘secret store’ that I only told a handful of friends know about. Mothers were soon knocking at our front door asking where I got the cute stuff with the little white cat from. My brother saved most of his robots and I saved some old “Candy” anime things. Was there any buzz going on about the Save Little Tokyo campaign? There was concern over Koreans buying it out or something.

    • Yea, Union Station is very pleasing to the eye, and it sort of reminds me of Grand Central in New York. Very nice! I can only imagine how it must have looked back then. I am not entirely sure about the Save Little Tokyo Campaign, as I don’t go very often, so that is news to me. I think it would be a shame if Koreans were to buy it out, it would destroy the authenticity of the place, in my opinion. Nothing against Koreans, of course.

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