Nestled in the heart of Los Angeles, there’s a hidden gem that will transport you to the vibrant streets of Japan. Say konnichiwa to the Japanese Village Plaza, a cultural oasis that offers a captivating glimpse into Japanese traditions, cuisine, and shopping.
Whether you’re a Japanophile, a curious traveler, or a local looking for a unique experience, this is a must-visit spot that promises to immerse you in the beauty and richness of Japanese culture.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about LA’s Japanese Village Plaza…
A Rich History
Originally established in the 1970s, the Plaza served as a vibrant hub for the Japanese-American community. Over the years, it has evolved into a destination showcasing a wider range of shops and eateries whilst retaining its distinctive charm.
The architecture instantly transports you to the streets of Japan, featuring imported Sanshu blue tiles and red paper lanterns.
The traditional yaruga (fire tower) adds to the authentic atmosphere, making you feel as if you’re actually walking through a Japanese village market.
The Flavours of Japan
No visit to Japanese Village Plaza is complete without indulging in the authentic flavours of Japanese cuisine. From mouthwatering ramen stores, to sushi bars and impressive teppanyaki grills, there is something to satisfy every taste so definitely head here hungry.
Got a sweet tooth? You’re in luck as Yamazaki Bakery offers a tonne of treats and baked goods to satisfy your cravings. Also, don’t forget to sample the freshly made Mochi – a sweet treat consisting of small balls of ice cream wrapped in chewy rice cake. It’s seriously too good to miss.
Find Your Perfect Souvenir
If you’re feeling like #treatingyourself, this is your place. The Japanese Village Plaza is home to a tonne of stores and boutiques that offer both traditional and modern Japanese goods. Explore the artwork, browse through clothing and find unique souvenirs to take home, because you totally deserve it.
Anime fans, you’re all covered at this spot with a variety of merchandise and cosplay stores, while Hello Kitty enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the world of Sanrio.
Additionally, Nijiya Market – a Japanese grocery store – is a fun place to take a stroll around and pick up traditional ingredients, allowing you to bring a taste of Japan to your own kitchen.
Immerse Yourself in Japanese Culture
Beyond shopping and dining, Japanese Village Plaza offers a load of entertainment and cultural experiences to enjoy. Throughout the year, the plaza hosts a variety of events and festivals that showcase the authentic traditions and heritage of Japan.
From traditional tea ceremonies to festive celebrations of Japanese holidays, there’s always something happening.
We definitely recommend visiting during Spring to see the beautiful Cherry Blossom Festival, Sakura Matsuri. Alternatively if you’re heading here in August, be sure to enjoy Nisei Week, an annual festival which celebrates Japanese-American culture.
The Wonders of Japan
Japanese Village Plaza is a captivating destination which offers visitors a glimpse into the beauty of Japanese culture. Whether you’re seeking a memorable shopping trip, a culinary adventure, or a chance to immerse yourself in cultural festivities, the plaza has it all.
How to get to Japanese Village Plaza from Freehand Los Angeles:
From Freehand Los Angeles, you can get to Japanese Village Plaza by:
- Walk: You can walk from Freehand Los Angeles to Japanese Village Plaza in 27 minutes.
- Car: You can drive from Freehand Los Angeles to Japanese Village Plaza in 6 mins.
- Bus: Walk to 7th / Broadway and get the ‘40 – Downtown LA – Union Stn’ bus for 6 minutes. Get off Los Angeles / 1st and walk 6 minutes to Japanese Village Plaza.