Explore DTLA’s Little Tokyo

Founded in the late 1800s, Little Tokyo has grown into a bustling hub of delectable food options, great nightlife, world-class museums, and eclectic shopping. A major attraction is the restaurant and bar scene, but Little Tokyo offers so much more than just great sushi, saki and Japanese whiskey.

Venture off the beaten track and you’ll find everything from historic cultural centers, to live theatre, a Buddhist temple, a cook-your-own-dinner restaurant, and even a glitzy bowling alley! Immerse yourself in authentic Japanese culture during Nisei Week, or soak up the local vibe at the Little Tokyo Night Market.

You’ll never run out of fun things to do when you explore DTLA’s Little Tokyo!

Kaliju vs Heroes: Mark Nagata’s Journey Through the World of Japanese Toys

Japanese American National Museum

100 N Central Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90012

With mighty fangs, menacing horns, and iridescent gold scales, the lizard monster Drazoran crushes an imaginary city while Captain Maxx, wearing a bright red suit, flies in to save the day. Drazoran and Captain Maxx are two of the monsters and heroes that emerged from the creative mind of Mark Nagata, a toy designer and fervent toy collector. In this new exhibition, Drazoran and Captain Maxx join hundreds of dazzling vintage and contemporary Japanese vinyl toys on display. The Japanese American National Museum is the largest museum in the US dedicated to sharing the experience of Americans of Japanese ancestry.

Union Center for the Arts

120 Judge John Aiso St A

Los Angeles, CA 90012

The Union Center for the Arts anchors the northwestern end of the Little Tokyo Historic District. Completed in 1923, The building was the former Union Church, the combined home of three Japanese American congregations. After suffering severe damage during the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the Little Tokyo Service Center Community Development Corporation completed a multi-million dollar renovation of the building in 1998 to house three arts organizations: East West Players, America’s premier Asian American Theatre; Visual Communications, nonprofit with the mission to develop and support the voices of Asian American and Pacific Islander filmmakers and media artists; and LA Artcore, artspace dedicated to recognizing diverse artistic accomplishments and bringing innovative exhibits and events to the public.

Shabu-Shabu House

127 Japanese Village Plaza Mall

Los Angeles, CA 90012

Locals line up at this no-nonsense spot for cook-it-yourself Japanese shabu-shabu, a Japanese hotpot dish of thinly sliced meat and vegetables boiled in water and served with dipping sauces, such as ponzo. Choose from 10 pieces or 15 pieces of meat  – your meal comes with raw veggies to cook, noodles to boil, and a bowl of steamed rice. Once the soup is ready, simply toss your veggies into the pot and dip your beef into the boiling soup. Dip in the ponzu sauce and eat with rice.

X Lanes LA

333 Alameda St. #300

Los Angeles, CA 90013

X Lanes is a splashy 50,000 square-foot venue equipped with state-of-the-art LED lanes, competition quality felt billiards tables, private karaoke rooms, and retro to modern video games. You can expect to compete with players from all over the world with the high-performance virtual dart machines. XLanes serves a great selection of American-style grub including appetizers, fresh pizzas, burgers, pastas and even steaks. Planning a party? They can handle special events up to 500 people!

Japanese Village Plaza

335 E 2nd St.

Los Angeles, CA 90012

No trip to Little Tokyo would be complete without a stop at this iconic destination. Japanese Village Plaza offers a unique shopping and dining experience in a relaxing, comfortable atmosphere. More than just a historic shopping center, it is a place where customers can come early and stay late for a variety of services, specialty markets, and gift boutiques. Abundant parking is available on Central Avenue, between 1st and 2nd Street.

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

152 N Central Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90012

A former police car warehouse in L.A.’s Little Tokyo Historic District, renovated by the noted California architect Frank Gehry, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (formerly The Temporary Contemporary) opened in 1983. The location offers 40,000 square feet of exhibition space. WAREHOUSE Programming is open with an expanded bookstore, a reading nook, rest, meet, and workspaces with free WiFi, a coffee cart featuring drinks and food by Cafe Dulce, and several video installations. The current video works on view are by artists Fischli & Weiss and Mark Leckey. Over the course of the coming months, MOCA will be actively transitioning this space into a vibrant, multi-use anchor under the umbrella of WAREHOUSE Programs.

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple

505 E 3rd St.

Los Angeles, CA 90013

Throughout its 2,500 years history, Buddhism has evolved over the years to meet the spiritual needs of the people. The Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple offers a spiritual environment that cultivates individual exploration based on the Buddhadharma.  hrough self-reflection, we are encouraged to strive for harmony with respect for the differences in our diverse community. The Little Tokyo Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple is an affiliate of one of the oldest and largest denominations in Japan, the Shinshu Otani-ha, with approximately 10,000 temples and 10,000,000 members. It espouses the teachings of Jodo Shinshu, also known as Shin Buddhism, a form of Pure Land Buddhism.

Nisei Week Japanese Festival

Japanese American Cultural & Community Center

244 S. San Pedro Street

Los Angeles, CA 90012

Aug 10–11 & Aug 17–18 The Japanese American Cultural & Community Center celebrates the Nisei Week Japanese Festival with cultural exhibitions, entertainment, and activities throughout the two weekends. View Japanese prefectural displays as well as artisans skilled in ikebana, bonsai, Japanese dolls, calligraphy, tea ceremony and more. The mission of the Nisei Week Festival is to promote Japanese and Japanese American Heritage and traditions, while bringing together the diverse communities of Southern California through arts and cultural education.

Little Tokyo Night Market

Aratani Theater Plaza

320 E. 2nd Street

Los Angeles, CA 90012

The Little Tokyo Night Market is held every Thursday night in the heart of Little Tokyo. The event features music, cultural performances, artists, crafters, antiques, collectibles and of course FOOD! Lots and lots of food. The perfect place to spend a balmy summer evening in the city!

Little Tokyo Koban and Visitor’s Center

307 E 1st St.

Los Angeles, CA 90012

Need a map or have some questions? You can find brochures, maps, newsletters, and flyers about Little Tokyo and the Japanese community at the Little Tokyo Koban and Visitor’s Center.