Japanese Village Plaza
350 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
orean American architect David Hyun developed Japanese Village Plaza in 1984 as the centerpiece of the civic crusade to breathe new life into the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Today it is securely at the heart of Little Tokyo, nestled among attractions like the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC), Japanese American National Museum (JANM), New Otani Hotel, Weller Court and Little Tokyo Square (formerly Yaohan Plaza). Unlike newer Chinese, Corean (Korean) and Vietnamese malls that draw Asian families for weekly shopping and dining excursions, the Plaza attracts visitors in search of rest and refreshment while enjoying the neighborhood's cultural experiences.
The Plaza's ten restaurants and café are all Japanese with the exception of a Corean barbeque house. A favorite attraction is Mikawaya, a Japanese pastry shop that sells mochi ice cream. The outdoor mall's Japanese architectural motif is enhanced by atmospheric shops selling Japanese books, art, gifts and sundry specialty products. The Plaza also hosts special cultural events like New Year's and Nisei Week (July/August) festivities.
The Japanese Village Plaza is within walking distance of attractions like L.A. Civic Center, Chinatown, Union Station and Olivera Street. It's generally quiet, even sleepy, except during lunch and dinner hours and on weekends. The only inconvenience is having to park a block away on Central and 2nd, unless you get lucky with one of the metered spaces along the street.