What to do in Japantown, San Jose


This mural on Jackson Street was created by a husband + wife duo from Hawaii, and commissioned by Empire Seven Studios. | Photo by SJtoday staff

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Last month, we introduced to you our friendly neighborhood competition — the Battle of the ‘Burbs. After more than 500 votes, we’re happy to announce that our winner is Japantown. 🏆

This little town, or nihonmachi, is one of three Japantowns in the US — and today, we’re giving you a tour of this beloved neighborhood. 🎏

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This beautiful neighborhood is full of history, culture, and fun things to do. | Photo by SJtoday staff

⛩️ Its early days…

Around 1890, Japanese Issei (first generation) pioneers migrated to Santa Clara Valley, joining the Chinatown community of Heinlenville. However, in 1942, Japantown’s growth came to a halt because of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII. Following the return of Japanese residents in 1945, Japantown grew into the bustling + diverse community that it is today.


Along with its popular poke, Santo Market is a full service grocery store. | Photo via @foodieswithek

🍽️ Eat + drink

This neighborhood is known for being a foodie hot-spot, with historic establishments like Shuei-Do Manju Shop + Santo Market still serving San Jose since the 1950s.

A shot of Cukui's store inside.

Cukui puts a spin on Bay Area sports team logos by adding some Hawaiian flair.

Photo by SJtoday staff

🛍️ Shop

🔍 Explore

There’s a lot to discover about Japanese heritage, history, and culture through various activities + festivals.


This large mural on the side of Exhibit J Town was done by artist Andrew Schoultz. | Photo by SJtoday staff

🏠 Live in Japantown

Japantown is a great, walkable neighborhood with many new housing complexes sprouting up — check out some of these rental listings.

  • Starting at $2,750 for a 1BD, 1BA, Exhibit J Town is Japantown’s newest apartment building — decorated by local creatives.
  • For $3800/month, this 1,200-sqft, 3BD, 2BA house in the heart of Japantown is newly-remodeled and features a red torii (Japanese gate) at the front.
  • Sixth & Jackson Apartments is an upcoming luxury apartment building featuring studios and up to 3BD homes — join the interest list for opening updates

Which neighborhood should we explore next time? Let us know by emailing hello@thesjtoday.com.

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