Japantown in San Francisco
(also known as Little Osaka, Funayville, or J Town) comprises about six square city blocks in San Francisco, California, USA. San Francisco's Japantown is the largest and oldest such enclave in the United States.
The main thoroughfare is Post Street, between Laguna Street and Webster Street. Its focal point is the Japan Center (opened in 1968), the site of three Japanese-oriented shopping centers and the Peace Pagoda, a five-tiered concrete stupa designed by Japanese architect Yoshiro Taniguchi and presented to San Francisco by the people of Osaka, Japan.
Built and settled as part of the Western Addition neighborhood in the 19th and early 20th century, Japanese immigrants began moving into the area following the 1906 Earthquake. (Before 1906, San Francisco had two Japantowns, one on the outskirts of Chinatown, the other in the South of Market area. After 1906, San Francisco's main Japantown was in the Western Addition, with a smaller one in the South Park area.) By World War II, the neighborhood was one of the largest such enclaves of Japanese outside of Japan, as it took an appearance similar to the Ginza district in Tokyo. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of this relationship, one block of Buchanan Street, in Japantown, was renamed Osaka Way on 8 September 2007.
Attractions and characteristics
The area is home to Japanese (and some Korean and Chinese) restaurants, supermarkets, indoor shopping malls, hotels, banks and other shops, including one of the few U.S. branches of the large Kinokuniya bookstore chain. Most of these businesses are located in the commercial center of the neighborhood which is a large shopping mall built in the 1960s as part of urban renewal efforts and is run by Japanese retailer Kintetsu.
San Francisco's Japantown celebrates two major festivals every year: The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival (held for two weekends every April), and the Nihonmachi Street Fair, held one weekend in the month of August.
- Japantown for other Japanese neighborhoods
- Japanese American internment
- Neighborhoods of San Francisco
- 49-Mile Scenic Drive
- Japanese American National Library
- Kinmon Gakuen
- Google Maps street view of the Peace Pagoda.
- Japantown Task Force, Inc.
- Free walking tours of Japantown
- Fatlace Japantown