Top 10 Things To Do At Little Tokyo In Los Angeles, California

Little Tokyo los angeles things to do

Exploring the Japanese Village: A Cultural Haven in Los Angeles

Nestled in the heart of Los Angeles, the Japanese Village is a small community that offers a plethora of Japanese culture. From authentic cuisine to clothing, anime stores, and other Japanese-themed shops, this place has it all. Let's go!

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Travel Tips
  • For flights, Skyscanner is excellent for comparing the best airline deals.
  • For accommodations, our family trusts for reasonable prices.

Little Tokyo los angeles things to do

Where to Park in Little Tokyo

This is our favorite parking spot as it's safe and convenient and best of all it's just a minute walk from Little Tokyo or The Art District.

Brunswig Square
Address: 360 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Parking Rates:
  • Monday to Friday: 2 USD every 15 minutes, Maximum rate of 12 USD
  • Entering after 4 PM: Flat rate: 5 USD
  • Weekend Parking: 8 USD all day

Little Tokyo los angeles things to do

What To Do in Little Tokyo

Immerse yourself in the rich Japanese culture by visiting the Japanese Village Plaza. It's a small but vibrant neighborhood that boasts a wide range of Japanese-related shops, including anime stores, clothing boutiques, and restaurants that offer delicious Japanese cuisine.

Saul, who lived and studied in Japan for a few years, loves visiting this place as it reminds him of home. I truly admire his ability to speak and write Japanese, a skill he honed during his time there and yet he remains modest about it.

Little Tokyo los angeles things to do

Visit The Japanese Village Plaza

Japanese Village Plaza
Address: 335 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

The Little Toyko Art District was just a minute away from where we parked, and we didn't have to go around in circles looking for parking.

What To Do Inside the Japanese Village Plaza

Little Tokyo los angeles things to do

1. Check out the Japanese Style Bell Tower

Check out the "Yagura" which means tower in Japanese. It's the first thing you see if you're coming from First Street. The tower is small but it's a great entrance to the Japanese-inspired plaza.

Little Tokyo los angeles things to do
In Japan, they said the lanterns are a symbol of good luck and happiness.

2. Enjoy the Lanterns

There's something about lanterns that always puts a smile on my face.

Little Tokyo los angeles things to do

3. Discover the Wishing Tree

A special tradition takes place during the Tanabata Festival where people write their wishes on small pieces of paper and hang them on bamboo trees. In Little Tokyo, you can participate in this celebration by visiting the Wishing Tree. Write down your own wishes and hang them on the tree, you never know – they might just come true.

Little Tokyo los angeles things to do

4. Shop for Bonsai Trees 

In Japanese culture, Bonsai trees have a deep connection to spirituality and Zen Buddhism. The Japanese culture is all about balance and zen, which is why it's no surprise that they have the most centenarians in the world. When you maintain a balanced life, you can live a longer, healthier life. While admiring some bonsai plants, I couldn't help but feel the desire to grow one myself someday.

Little Tokyo los angeles things to do

5. Find Anime Merchandise

  • Style Outlet, Address: 334A E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
  • Tokyo Japanese Lifestyle, Address: 114 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (located in the Japanese Village Plaza)

For those looking for budget-friendly anime merchandise, Style Outlet is a good option. Although the store may be small, crowded, and unorganized, that's part of the thrill. You never know what kind of anime treasures you'll uncover – whether it's a one-of-a-kind keepsake or a simple souvenir. Don't forget to check out Tokyo Lifestyle while you're at it!

Little Tokyo los angeles things to do
My husband found a fantastic deal inside the village – a "How to Draw Chibi" book that he had always wanted, for a great price.

6. Shop for Japanese Products

Favorite Stores in Little Tokyo: Sanrio Store and Kinokuniya

  • Sanrio Japanese Village

Address: 115 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (located in the Japanese Village Plaza)

Little Tokyo has a lot to offer when it comes to shopping, but two stores stand out among the rest for me. The Sanrio Store is a haven for fans of Sanrio characters like Hello Kitty, with a range of colorful merchandise that includes plush toys, stationary, and accessories. 

  • Kinokuniya

Address: 123 Astronaut Ellison S Onizuka St #205, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Kinokuniya, on the other hand, is a Japanese bookstore chain that offers a vast selection of Japanese and English language books, manga, anime, magazines, stationery, gifts, and snacks. This store is a favorite of Japanese language learners, manga enthusiasts, and book lovers alike.

Little Tokyo los angeles things to do

7. Try Onigiri at Nijiya Market Little Tokyo Store 

  • Nijiya Market Little Tokyo Store

Address: 124 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles, CA 90012

For the budget-conscious, you can buy Japanese snacks and drinks here and just chill in the plaza.

Little Tokyo los angeles things to do
My husband loves the Onigiri or Japanese Rice Balls at the Nijiya Market.

Unwrapping Onigiri the Right Way

Saul always scolds me whenever I unwrap my onigiri like a sandwich, but as with most Japanese culture, there's an art to it. Here's the proper way to do it: Pinch the plastic flap labeled "1" and pull it downwards. Continue tearing it all the way around, then move on to "2" and "3". By following these simple steps, you can enjoy your onigiri the traditional way without any scolding!

Little Tokyo los angeles things to do

8. Satisfy Your Sushi Cravings

  • Kura Revolving Sushi Bar

Address: 333 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

For sushi, we highly recommend Kura Revolving Sushi Bar. While their Sherman Oaks location is our usual go-to spot, be warned – it's a popular place and can get pretty crowded, especially on weekends.

Little Tokyo los angeles things to do

9. Try the Best Ramen in Town

  • Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen

Address: 132 S Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

If you're a ramen lover, there's no better place to be than this restaurant just a short three-minute walk from Japanese Village. My husband and I were amazed by how delicious their ramen was. You can even customize your order to your liking, from the type of noodles, broth, and sauce, to leaving it up to the chef's recommendation. Whether you're watching your calorie intake or simply craving a bowl of ramen, this place is a must-visit.

  • Mr. Ramen

Address: 341 1/2 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

If you're looking for another ramen spot to try, Mr. Ramen is another option. I would highly recommend their curry dish – it's my personal favorite. Located only four minutes from the Japanese Village Plaza.

Little Tokyo los angeles things to do

10. Explore the Best Dessert Spot

  • Somisomi

Address: 332 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

If you're looking for a unique dessert experience, I highly recommend Somisomi. However, this ice cream parlor is not Japanese but specializes in Korean-style soft serve, served in charming fish-shaped waffle cones. Trust me, they're absolutely delicious! If you're interested in trying out something different, Somisomi is a must-visit. Stay tuned for my next blog post, where I'll be sharing some exciting things to do in Koreatown, Los Angeles.

Excited for Japan: A Trip to the Motherland

Our upcoming trip to Japan has me bursting with anticipation. After experiencing Little Tokyo here in Los Angeles, I can't wait to see what the country itself has to offer. This is just a taste of what's to come on our highly anticipated adventure.

Have fun and be safe ^__^

Do you want more adventure?
Here is a Compilation of all my thrilling escapades over the past few years. Perhaps it's time to revisit your own bucket list and make some progress towards achieving your goals.

Where am I going next?

For my next adventure, we're thrilled to finally visit one of California's most breathtaking mountains – Mammoth Lake! 

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