Japantown History Walk

The Japantown History Walk

Taking in the sights of Japantown is an easy, scenic walk. Stroll at your own pace, wandering bustling Post Street and lingering along pedestrian-friendly Osaka Way (Buchanan Mall) or choose a more organized tour for a fascinating history lesson. Enhance your walk with the interpretive signs marking The San Francisco Japantown History Walk. The self-guided tour takes visitors from the beginnings of Nihonmachi to present day Japan Center. Historic photos along with informative text tell the stories of the first Japanese immigrants and the community they built in the city’s Western Addition after the 1906 earthquake. Early Japanese Americans shaped a vibrant neighborhood of stores, restaurants, churches and temples, even theaters. The history walk also traces the unjust evacuation of Japanese American residents during WWII and their efforts to pick up the pieces of their lives after returning from the internment camps.

The history walk includes photos that show the enormity of the renewal project in the early 1960s that redeveloped the area to make way for the Japanese Cultural and Trade Center, now known as Japan Center. It also points out the historic buildings that were preserved, well as cultural icons such as the Pagoda and origami sculptures, created by the late Ruth Asawa, a local artist of much renown. The History Walk is a scenic 10-block stroll that takes one back in time to the heart of Japantown.

NDD Creative was selected as the project team commissioned to create the Japantown History Walk, a self-guided walking tour, featuring historically and culturally significant landmarks in the community. Working with the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC), NDD designed the Sensu (fan) sculpture and 17 permanent interpretive signs and plaques of the 10 block walking tour as part of an innovative cultural tourism program.

Japantown Tour by Edible Excursions

By Sandra Cifo by Edible Excursions

San Francisco is home to one of only three remaining Japantowns in the United States, and their guides, some of them born in the neighborhood and residents for decades, take total pleasure in showing it off to locals and visitors alike. Tastes may include sweet potato lattes from YakiniQ Café; onigiri (rice balls); okonomiyaki (Japanese frittata); sweet and savory mochi from one of Japantown’s first businesses, Benkyodo Confections; and authentic Masala dosa with chutney from DOSA on Fillmore. After the tour, you’ll be the expert on where to find the best bites in the neighborhood.

Japantown Cultural and Historical Walking Tour by the National Japanese American Historical Society

A guided tour through San Francisco Japantown with an emphasis on the history and culture of the Japanese American community in San Francisco. Throughout the year by request

Sign Up for Our Newsletter