Japantown, Little TokyoRoughly bounded by Los Angeles, Alameda, 3rd and First Streets on the DASH shuttle route
A National Historic District and focal point for local Japanese-Americans, Little Tokyo offers a lot to see. You'll find the expected Japanese restaurants and shopping in Little Tokyo, but there's much more.
Visiting Little Tokyo
A Little Tokyo highlight is the Japanese American National Museum, the only one in the country focused on Americans of Japanese ancestry. Exhibits include original barracks from the Heart Mountain internment camp. Nearby is the Go for Broke Monument, honoring Japanese American veterans of World War II and at 244 S. San Pedro Street, Japan America Theatre stages Kabuki classics and historical dramas.
Other Little Tokyo points of interest include Yagura Tower, a replica of a rural Japanese fire lookout tower located in front of Japanese Village Plaza on 3rd Street, James Irvine Japanese Garden and Jodo Shu Buddhist Temple at 442 E 3rd St. An interesting timeline runs along the sidewalks, showing how each address was used in different time periods. Just look down to see it. Every August, Nisei Week adds extra color and fun to Little Tokyo, with parades and festivals.
One of the best ways to get a taste of Little Tokyo (literally) is with a guided tour. For a less-structured approach, try a self-guided tour of Little Tokyo at ExperienceLA, which will take you past Buddhist temples, outdoor artwork, art galleries and gardens. Little Tokyo Business Association also suggests a walking tour itinerary and Los Angeles Conservancy offers guided Little Tokyo tours (reservations required).
No matter how you're touring, the Little Tokyo Koban is a combined police substation and visitor center, located at 307 E. First St.
The Geffen Contemporary which is part of the Museum of Contemporary Art is also in Little Tokyo.