San Francisco’s Japantown, a microhood of the Western Addition neighborhood, is the oldest Japantown in the US and one of just a few left. It’s home to restaurants serving sushi, ramen, and other fare, a shopping center, a Japanese supermarket, and the 5-tier Peace Pagoda.
Japantown is bordered by Fillmore Street, Sutter Street, Laguna Street, and Geary Boulevard, with the main drag of Post Street running through the middle. Located just south of Pacific Heights, it’s easy to visit if you’re doing some shopping or dining along Fillmore Street. Alternatively, book a private city tour or a Japanese food tour to explore with a guide.
Wandering on foot is the best way to experience the neighborhood—check out Peace Pagoda in Peace Plaza, pick up a Bento box at Nijiya Market, browse the shops at Japan Center, or catch a movie at AMC Kabuki 8. For a more relaxing treat, head to Kabuki Springs and Spa, an urban oasis where you can get a massage or enjoy a soak in the Japanese-style communal baths.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There is a lot of metered and free street parking available around Japantown, but pay attention to posted signs about prohibited parking during street cleaning or other times.
- Japan Center has a parking garage.
- If you plan to visit Kabuki Springs and Spa, make sure to check the schedule for the communal baths, as some days are male- or female-only.
How to Get There
If you’re not driving, Japantown is easily reached by cab or ride-booking service, or take Muni buses 2, 3, 22, or 38.
When to Get There
Most shops and eateries open in the late morning; early evening is a good time to take in the neighborhood vibe. The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the city’s top events and takes place in April. The J-Pop Summit and Japan Film Festival of San Francisco are other annual events that draw crowds.
From Japantown, Fillmore Street runs north through Pacific Heights to the Marina District. The blocks between Post and Jackson are home to stylish boutiques and upscale cafes, and locals gather there on evenings and weekends for shopping, dining, and coffee dates.