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Little Tokyo - A World of Simple Pleasures

Amid the intense activity of Downtown Los Angeles' current development boom, the 131-year old community of Little Tokyo has become a cool place to dine, shop, find entertainment, and live.  It is home to some of Downtown's newest hot spots.  

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.
​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 131 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.
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.
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Live Samurai Action Coming to Little Tokyo

The Little Tokyo Business Association and Burai Productions proudly present a unique theater experience, a traditional-style samurai stage play performed in English.  BURAI: Standing All Alone, is set for three performances, Aug, 28 (8 p.m.), Aug. 29 (8 p.m.), and Aug. 30 (2 p.m.) at the state-of-the-art Aratani Theatre, 244 S. San Pedro St.

Don't miss this opportunity to see a live performance featuring an outstanding cast of actors and martial artists performing live on stage. One of Japan's leading swordplay choreographers, Keiya Tabuchi (Katana, The Last Samurai), brings the action to life.

Set in 19th century Japan, BURAI is the gripping story of family honor, loyalty, pride, and a samurai warrior’s struggle to hold on to his inner spirit amid incredible odds. This original play is written and directed by Naoki Fujiyama.

Tickets are $35 for general admission, and $25 for JACCC members, seniors over age 65, and students with current school ID.  Group discounts (for groups of 10 or more) are available. Call (818) 880-6875 for details.

Click here to purchase tickets.

Ongoing - Daily Monday to Friday 
Morning Meditation
Zenshuji Soto Temple
123 S. Hewitt St. 
6:20-7 a.m. 
Everyone is welcome. By donation. For more information, visit www.zenshuji.org.

Friday-Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 14-15-16
L.A. Tanabata Festival
JANM / MOCA Plaza, 1st St. & Central Ave.
​From the opening ceremony on Friday evening thru Sunday, the L.A. Tanabata Festival brings food, entertainment, and colorful  paper sculptures rooted in Japanese traditions.

 Aug. 1-30
JIDAI: Timeless Works of Samurai Art
Japanese American National Museum
1st St. & Central Ave.
Museum hours-Tu-Wed-Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-5 p.m. & Thurs noon-8 p.m.
An exhibition of rare and historic weaponry--swords, armor, and other traditional pieces dating as far back as the Kamakura Period (AD 1185-1333) will be presented for a limited one month engagement..  For details, visit janm.org.

Saturday, Aug.. 15
Natsumatsuri Family Festival
JANM Free Family Days
The Japanese American National Museum's annual summer celebration highlighted by performances, crafts, activities and featuring Taiko Project, Minyo Station, and Random Ninjas.

Aug. 15-16 & Aug. 22-23
JACCC Salutes the 75t.h annual Nisei Week Japanese Festival
244 S. San Pedro St. 
11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Enjoy live outdoor entertainment and view indoor exhibits by skilled artisans as JACCC joins in celebrating the 75th annual Nisei Week Japanese Festival, one of L.A. most enduring cultural events.  Performing will be taiko drummers, dancers, musicians, DJs, and martial artists.  Inside the center, find ikebana, bonsai, hand-made Japanese dolls, callligraphy, and tea ceremony displays and demonstrations.  Far Bar of Little Tokyo is providing Japanese fusion food and beverages.

Aug. 15 & 16
Nisei Week Book Fair
JACCC Plaza & James Irvine Japanese Garden
244 S. San Pedro St.
11 a.m.. - 6 p.m.
Heritage Source and Kinokuniya bookstores join in presenting authors Marsha Aizumi, Naomi Hirahara, Kerry Yo Nakagawa, Lora Nakamura, Stan Sakai, Todd Shimoda, Amy Uyematsu, and others for book-signing and discussion of their works.

Sunday, Aug. 16​
Throughout the Streets of Little Tokyo
Parade Starts at 5:30 p.m.
Highlighted this year by the magnificent NEBUTA, an illuminated float from Aomori, Japan, the Grand Parade will feature hundreds of colorful dancers, musical groups, taiko drummers, dignitaries, beauty queens, and much more.  For information about all the Nisei Week events, go to niseiweek.org.

Aug. 28, 29, and 30
Samurai Action Play - Live on Stage 
(Presented in English)
Aratani Theatre
244 S. San Pedro St.
Friday (Aug. 28) 8 p.m., Saturday (Aug. 29) 8 p.m., Sunday (Aug. 30) 2 p.m.
Presented for the first time in Downtown Los Angeles, this dramatic play features authentic sword-wielding action rarely seen outside of Japan. Set in 19th century Japan, BURAI is the story of a skilled samurai swordsman who is torn between carrying out the orders of his ambitious master and the samurai code he swore to uphold.  Ticket information here.  For group discounts, email board@visitlittletokyo.com.

L.A.'s most enduring cultural celebration, the NISEI WEEK FESTIVAL (AUG. 15-16, 22-23) marks its 75th Anniversary this year with many new and returning features. Don't miss the Grand Parade on Sunday, Aug. 16, 5:30 p.m., as it brings beauty and music to the streets of Little Tokyo. For details, visit niseiweek.org.
Eat, Shop, Play in Little Tokyo 

Eat, Shop, Play Local is Metro’s campaign that promotes the unique and culturally-rich businesses located adjacent to the construction route of the new Regional Connector Transit Project.

Don’t wait for the new rail line to open! You can participate and support Little Tokyo and Downtown Los Angeles businesses and be entered to win cash prizes today. Learn how.

Follow Metro on Facebook and Twitter for more information on:

Lunch Meet-Ups*
- Special Events
- Quarterly Drawings