San Francisco
San Francisco
Peace Plaza Since the 1860's, a significant Japanese population has lived in San Francisco. The center of Japantown is the Peace Plaza, planted with flowering cherry trees. The focal point is the Peace Pagoda and fountain with eternal flame. Across the way, Buchanan Mall, a pedestrian street, is lined with small shops like a Japanese village.
During the Cherry Blossom Festival (April) and on weekends, there are music and dance performances, martial arts presentations.
Nihonmachi Street Fair – Every August, at the Nihonmachi Street Fair, kids can learn traditional arts and crafts, play games, sample Asian food, watch world music and dance performances. And don't miss the delightful Doggie World Parade!
All the details, read our blog post: "Nihomachi Street Fair SF"
Japanese restaurants – Japantown is a wonderful place to come for lunch. There are plenty of restaurants with steaming ramen, gyoza (dumplings) and sushi. Don't worry what's on the menu – most restaurants have a display of plastic food.
Ice cream
Cafe Maiko has softserve matcha (green tea) and kinako (roasted soy bean) ice cream, floats, frappes.
At Uji Time Dessert, try ice cream with sesame, tofu, match flavors in a Taiyaki cone (shaped like a fish) and ice cream balls wrapped in mochi (pounded rice).
Model of Osaka Castle – Downstairs in the Kinokuniya Building, check out a large model of Osaka Castle, multi-story donjon, decorated with tigers at the top.
Buy kites – Buy Japanese style kites, decorated with traditional graphic at Soko Hardware (on the lower level). Best place to fly your kites is Marina Green or Crissy Field.
Paper Tree – Stop into this origami store to see examples of paper folding in very creative shapes – dragons, dinosaurs, a birthday cake. Kids can learn to fold origami, children's books and a beautiful selection of paper to buy.
Shops are filled with fun Japanese plush toys, e.g. totoros from Miyazaki movies Studio Ghibli, Pokemon characters.

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