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​Little Tokyo's Key Role in L.A.'s History

Behind the bustling crowds and neatly arranged rows of restaurants, shops, offices, and residences is a colorful history that has shaped Little Tokyo since the late 1800s. For 132 years, this hearty community has survived everything from world wars to a roller coaster economy to emerge as one of Southern California's most popular cultural communities. Learn how it all began.

Read the full story.
Little Tokyo: 
Urban Adventure

Amid the intense activity of Downtown Los Angeles' current development boom, the 135-year old community of Little Tokyo has retained its enduring authenticity and emerged as one of L.A.'s coolest places to dine, shop, find entertainment, and live.  

Charming, walkable and friendly, Little Tokyo is setting a new, more relaxing pace and invites everyone to experience its charm sometime soon. Visitors will find dozens of delectable food options, great bars, live performances, world-class museums, and shopping that is not only eclectic but also affordable. 

It is no wonder that new residents are moving into the area every day, and visitors in increasing numbers are discovering Little Tokyo's many hidden gems.
In the 1960s, buses on electric rails carried folks to and from Little Tokyo. This one is heading west on 1st St. and Central Ave.
Questions about this website?  Contact Little Tokyo Business Association, 250 E. First Street #201, Los Angeles, CA 90012 - 213-880-6875.


Monday, Dec. 9
8 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Aratani Theatre
244 S. San Pedro St.​
Bassist and co-founder of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, rock star Flea introduces his memoir and tells his fascinating life story.

Sunday, Dec. 15
3 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Aratani Theatre
244 S. San Pedro St.
This annual presentation of authentic Hawaiian music and dance is presented by Halau Hula Keali'i O Nalani & the Aloha Hula Dance Studio. To purchase tickets call (323) 399-5731.

Saturday, Dec. 28
7 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple
815 E. 1st Street, Little Tokyo
Bring 2019 to a rousing close at this 1970's style dance party benefiting the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center.  Dress in your 70s best. Order tickets by Dec. 13.

Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020
1 p.m.
Aratani Theatre
244 S. San Pedro St.
​Celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Rat at JACCC's 37th annual Kotohajime (Beginning of Things) and shooting of the ceremonial arrow, a Japanese tradition and cultural program curated by Master Artist in Residence Hirokazu.  Added this year is Hatsu Ori (First Weaving). Ticket information.

Now thru April 25, 2020
Enjoy an outdoor exhibition of 10 new site-specific artworks on windows across our historic neighborhood.


1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month
7:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Courtyard of East West Players
120 Judge John Aiso St.
Enjoy one of the longest running public art performance series in Los Angeles.

Ongoing - Saturdays 6:30 a.m.  ~ Sundays 8 a.m.  ~ Mondays 6:30 p.m.
Zenshuji Soto Temple
123 S. Hewitt St. 
Everyone is welcome. By donation. 
For more information, visit www.zenshuji.org.

Last Saturday of the Month
10:15-12:15 a.m.
Next tour: Dec. 28
Starting point: Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave.
Learn about Little Tokyo's fascinating history and discover what's new about this culturally rich and emerging community.  Guided by knowledgeable docents, this walking tour is conducted the last Saturday of every month, weather permitting.  $15 fee includes admission to the Japanese American National Museum.  Reserve a space.

Learn about Little Tokyo's history, art, and activism. Contact Scott Oshima at (213) 628-2725 ext. 107 or email soshima@jaccc.org to make a reservation.

Starting at 9 a.m. at Metro Bike Share station
100 N. Central Ave.
Ride from Little Tokyo to Boyle Heights. Presented in partnership with API Forward Movement and organizer Chris Weir.  Schedule.

Little Tokyo Branch Library
203 S. Los Angeles St.
Mondays & Wednesdays 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Tuesdays & Thursdays 12 noon - 8 p.m.
Fridays & Saturdays 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Closed Sundays
The Library is brimming with activity throughout the year, including teen game nights, anime club, anime drawing, Nisei story-writing, origami, English conversation classes for citizenship, computer classes, preschool storytime, toddler and infant storytime, Japanese storytime, and more.  Click here for a complete schedule.
For information on events, Metro transit, parking, and walking tours, click hereGo Little Tokyo is a Little Tokyo Community Council (LTCC) project developed and produced by Community Arts Resources (CARS-LA) and made possible with support from Metro.
Little Tokyo in the News

Los Angeles Times
Four Hours: Let Little Tokyo Surprise You

Writer Julissa James spends four hours in Little Tokyo and discovers gourmet coffee, specialty shops, restaurants, bars, and more, which she features in her article: Let Little Tokyo Surprise You.  Read the article here.

L.A. Eater
Seven Delicious Things to Eat in Little Tokyo

Seven Little Tokyo restaurants are featured by L.A. Eater, 
a national online food news and dining guide. Among the 
eateries featured are Aloha Cafe, Cafe Demitasse, 
Daikokuya, Fugetsu-do, Honda Izakaya, Jist Cafe, and 
Marugame Monzo.  Check out the full article here.

Big Seven Travel
7 Unmissable Things To Do in Little Tokyo

From museums to the many Little Tokyo restaurants and bars, it’s one of L.A.’s most historic and popular multicultural neighborhoods. Here’s Big Seven Travel's pick of the top things to do while you’re in this unique part of downtown Los Angeles.  More information
Moco loco from Aloha Cafe.
Housemade gyoza at Daikokuya
Mixed wagashi at Fugetsu-do
Combo at Marugame Monzo
Shogun Santa Returns 

Come to Little Tokyo and take a picture* with our delightful emissary of Christmas cheer, Shogun Santa.
Appearing at 
Japanese Village Plaza
335 E. 2nd Street, Little Tokyo

Saturday, Dec. 14
Sunday, Dec. 15
Saturday, Dec. 21
Sunday, Dec. 22

11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

*There is no charge for pictures with Shogun Santa when you use your own cell phone or camera. ADDED THIS YEAR: Free gift wrapping courtesy of the Roitary Club of Little Tokyo.

Sugar Plum Fairy opens at East West 

East West Players presents Sandra Tsing Loh's Sugar Plum Fairy, a delightful holiday show directed by Bart DeLorenzo at David Henry Hwang Theater, 120 Judge John Aiso Street, now through Dec. 22. 

This comical treat follows a 12-year old girl and her dream of dancing the lead in The Nutcracker. Audiences of all ages are invited to enjoy this sweetly whimsical coming of age story. Ticket information.
Shogun Santa explains to a youngster that he is Santa Claus's cousin from Japan.