Japantown

Japantown shares its heritage with the rest of the city, all within six laid-back square blocks.

Like its specialty sushi rolls, Japantown crams a lot of awesome stuff into a tiny space. The neighborhood’s iconic Peace Pagoda towers over Japan Center, an indoor shopping mall buzzing with activity. As an enclave of culture and entertainment, this neighborhood hosts springtime festivals (the Cherry Blossom Festival is a traditional favorite) and nightly performances (karaoke is performance, right?). Although it's already a must-see neighborhood for the culturally curious, Japantown’s centrality provides an added bonus.

See 10 places to stay Save this neighborhood

On the Map

Japantown is within Western Addition/NOPA and bordered by Pacific Heights

  • Public transit is Easy
  • Having a car is Possible

San Francisco International Airport: 26 minutes by cab
Golden Gate Park: 41 minutes by public transit
Fisherman's Wharf: 30 minutes by public transit
The Ferry Building: 24 minutes by public transit

Cultural Significance Shared with San Francisco

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Designed by architect Yoshiro Taniguchi and presented as a gift from Osaka, Japan, Japantown's Peace Pagoda signified more than an entrance into the city's Japanese community. It represented a commitment to cultural exchange.

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The neighborhood hopes to preserve its identity in an ever-evolving city.

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USA SF Japantown mb
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USA SF Japantown mb

San Francisco is working to secure Japantown's future as the cultural and historical heart of the Japanese American community.

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USA SF Japantown mb
USA SF Japantown mb
Pixel
The neighborhood is peaceful with great places to eat and a central hub to get around. Cabs are always available and Japantown has many interesting places to explore."

Robert

Visited in 2013

Japanese Pop Shops at the Neighborhood Malls

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Japantown's malls might not be what you're accustomed to exploring. The Kinokuniya, Kintetsu, and Miyako malls' scrunched corridors brim with Japanese specialty shops.

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Colors as bright as neon signs and purposely-placed pastries greet shoppers as they peruse each of the stalls.

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Japantown's malls are meant for more than buying material goods.

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They also serve as gathering places and full-service errand centers.

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USA SF Japantown mb

And when you're looking to imagine Japan outside of San Francisco, you can do that, too.

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Osaka's Castle stands in miniature majesty at the Kinokuniya Mall.

Photography

Airbnb works with local photographers to capture the spirit of neighborhoods all around the world. The photography on this page includes work by:

Michael Blumenfeld is a commercial photographer based in San Francisco. When not shooting, he loves rooting for the Giants, haunting used-book stores, and following his appetite around the city. He's inspired each day by the energy and diversity of the Bay Area. This project for Airbnb was a great opportunity to tread both the beaten and unbeaten paths of a city he feels privileged to call home.

Michael Blumenfeld

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