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Your Guide to Japantown: Things to Do & See

Every San Francisco traveler has Chinatown on their list of things to do and see but what about Japantown? This part of the city is often overlooked but surprisingly has a lot to offer visitors. Part of the attraction is that it draws in fewer people than say Chinatown, making it ideal for taking your time to stroll the streets and dine at your leisure. With only three Japantowns left in the U.S., San Francisco’s is the largest, oldest surviving one. So, venture to a slightly less visited part of the city and use our local guide to Japantown and discover what this eclectic town has to offer and why it's one of our favorite things to do in San Francisco. 


What to see & do:

Peace Pagoda

Donated to Japantown as a gesture of goodwill by the city of Osaka, San Francisco’s sister city, the Peace Pagoda stands as a historical monument to be admired. Its design was inspired by a set of round pagodas found in Japan’s ancient capital, Nara. This structure is a tribute to the expression of the Japanese culture and its contribution to the city.

image of Peace Pagoda in Japantown

Sundance Kabuki Theatre

As the first multiplex in San Francisco, the Sundance Kabuki Theatre is a great place to enjoy a new flick with an adult beverage. Food and beverages from the Balcony Bar and Bistro Bar are allowed in the auditorium during specific showings.


Kabuki Springs & Spa

Indulge in the ultimate spa experience while on your vacation at Kabuki Springs & Spa. Choose from a professional massage or bath. Or simply enjoy one of the saunas or steam rooms.


Cottage Row

Get your camera out for this one! A bit off the beaten path is Cottage Row. Located on Busch Street between Webster and Buchanan, this mid-nineteenth century collection of row houses offers visitors a unique glimpse into the past.


Where to eat:


Enjoy a steaming bowl of Ramen with chewy noodles in either pork bone or chicken broth. Only a few served in the city, Waraku offers a fish-based hot “dipping” broth served in a bowl with toppings and noodles on the side.


Kiss Seafood

If you are a seafood lover, this is your spot! Kiss Seafood is a cozy dining experience that brings to life the true essence of Japanese food. Be sure to make reservations ahead of time as their dinner card fills up fast.


Crown & Crumpet

Enjoy tea-time at Crown & Crumpet’s Tea Stop Café. Outfitted with Victorian-themed decorations this cute spot is the ideal place to relax while enjoying a cup of tea and of course a traditionally toasted crumpet.


Sophie’s Crepes

Enjoy the sweet taste of crepe cones at Sophie’s Crepes. With a blend of French and Japanese flavors, patrons can choose from sweet or savory flavors.  


For an extended list of places to eat in Japantown visit here.


Where to shop:

image of shopping in Japantown San Francisco


Bargain shopping at its best, Daiso is the ultimate shopping experience in Japantown. All product sold are Asian brands only and cost anywhere between $1 - $2, typically. Items for sale include beauty products, food, home décor and so much more.


Japan Center Malls

Located in the heart of the neighborhood is a series of malls connected, Japan Center Malls serves as the biggest attraction in Japantown. Shoppers can buy anything from Japanese electronics, kimonos, bonsai trees and more.


Where to stay:

Located only fifteen minutes from Japantown, Inn San Francisco is your perfect hideaway in the city. Located in the heart of the Mission District we are your home away from home in San Francisco. Book your stay with us and explore the many sights and sounds San Francisco has to offer.

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