ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Top 5 JapanTowns In This World

Updated on November 20, 2015
Nihonmachi cherry blossom festival
Nihonmachi cherry blossom festival | Source

Living the Japanese Dream outside of Japan

Sure, you've heard of Chinatown. But have you ever thought about going to a Japantown?

For people like me who have had the chance to go to Japan and experience the culture shock it has to offer, it is an unspoken mission to go and find places outside of Japan that can offer a similar Japanese feeling.

Back in the day when I went, there weren't many Japanese restaurants around, Bubble Tea was not even a thing in the Mangas I read, and finding classes in the many Japanese arts was a tedious search.

Today, if you searched for a Japanese restaurant in town, google will most likely be able to point one out to you. However, finding the original Japanese taste can still be a tough call. One Ramen is not like the other. Besides food, you might not even be able to practice your Japanese language skills on the waiters since they are very often of some other Asian origin.

What better place to go and have the real deal than one of the many Japantowns in this world, also called Nihonmachi and Little Tokyo? Japanese people selling imported and home cooked Japanese goodies. Wikipedia has a great list of probably all Japantowns in this world. Below you find my top 5 picks, I can highly recommend of visiting.

Peace Pagoda in Japantown
Peace Pagoda in Japantown | Source

San Francisco, USA

Probably the best known Little Tokyo there is. With over 50 restaurants and other places to eat as well as 50 other Japanese shopping opportunities and a dozen entertainment venues, it is clearly a top 5 destination. The best part of all: it features a Hot Spring! Almost every picture of Japantown San Francisco shows its main landmark - the Peace Pagoda, a Buddhist building sponsored by its Japanese sister city Osaka in the 60ies.

San Francisco Japantown
San Francisco Japantown | Source
Little Tokyo in Duesseldorf
Little Tokyo in Duesseldorf | Source

Duesseldorf, GERMANY

Right by Duesseldorf's main train station awaits a long street called Immermannstrasse full of Japanese restaurants. There are about 3 book stores, the Nikko hotel and a Manga cafe featuring local Artists to check out as well. Little Tokyo is the biggest Japantown in Europe and host to the biggest Buddhist temple in Europe as well. Check out the Japanese garden.

Japanese garden and tempel in Duesseldorf
Japanese garden and tempel in Duesseldorf | Source
Japantown in Sao Paulo
Japantown in Sao Paulo | Source

São Paulo, BRAZIL

Nothing less expected from a city with the largest Japanese population outside of Japan and the largest population with Japanese inheritance. It came as a big surprise to me when Japanese people told me they either wanted to go and visit India or Brazil as their top travel destination. The gate (Torii) that marks the entrance to this Nihonmachi is a beautiful reminder of all those Toriis in Japan.

Torii in Sao Paulo
Torii in Sao Paulo | Source
Little Tokyo Watchtower
Little Tokyo Watchtower | Source

Los Angeles, USA

A highly visually attractive Japantown is located in a second US city, Little Tokyo Los Angeles, hosting the largest Japanese American population in America. Unsurprisingly, not one but over 5 Buddhist temple can be found here as well as the Japanese American National Museum. Can you imagine that there were already about 3500 Japanese people in this Little Tokyo 100 years ago? Apparently the whole city of Los Angeles was host to 10.000 Japanese immigrants by that time.

Buddhist temple in Los Angeles, Little Tokyo
Buddhist temple in Los Angeles, Little Tokyo | Source
Entrance to Japantown in San Jose
Entrance to Japantown in San Jose | Source

San Jose, USA

... and because the state of California is pretty much just a swim across the ocean, there is a third popular Japantown here. It features another Japanese American museum given its long reaching past and the World War II resettlement where Japanese were forced out of Japantown.

If you are in other parts of the world than described above

There are many Japantowns in other Asian countries, but there is only little information available, so I'm afraid I cannot feature them in my top 5. Bangkok, Thailand, for instance seems to have quite the Japanese population as well with a lovely Nihonmachi. There are some pictures available on google. Malaysia is a big hub for expatriates, too. I can imagine there'd be Japanese areas worth checking out.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Lilli2go profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks a lot Linnea. It is actually very hard to find any information about Japantowns outside of the US. I'd really like to see some other Japantowns in Asia to see how they differ and if they adapt to local culture after all. I also wonder a lot what it would be like to live in a Japantown or even Chinatown (if they would let me....). I'd probably eat too much, hehe.

    • Linnea Lewis profile image

      Linnea Lewis 

      2 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      How interesting. Indeed you hear much more about ChinaTowns than about JapanTowns. Thank you for an interesting hub.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)