While in attendance at the Asian Heritage Street Fair yesterday, I was fondly reminded of all my favorite little hangouts in Japantown. It was a welcome revisitation to some old favorites.
- Super 7: I hit this awesome store first as I strolled the street fair yesterday. From the toy magazine of the same name, comes a store true to its mission: to bring japanese toy culture and art inspired by it to the masses. Note that they sell the appropriately-timed “I .
- Kinokuniya: One of my favorite bookstores, with a wide variety of Japanese magazines, books, comics and more. There is also a english-language section. I have also discovered that there is a location down here in the South Bay, which I have been frequenting.
- Izumiya: One of the few places I know of in the Bay Area that serves one of my favorite Japanese dishes, Okonomiyaki (AKA Japanese Pizza or Pancake).
- On the Bridge: A nice stop for lunch during your visit to the Japan Center, especially since it is centrally located on the Webster bridge. Tasty typical Japanese lunch fare. Try the curry dishes and the uniquely Japanese pasta dishes. Check out the bookshelf of manga while you wait!
- Mifune: A superior noodle house, with some of the best noodle dishes around, fast service and pretty good prices. Kids will love the Bullet Train dish. Remember, it’s okay to slurp the noodles!
- May’s Coffee Shop: I always have to pick up a freshly-made Taiyaki whenever I come to Japantown, and May’s is the place to do it. They make both the traditional red-bean filled Taiyaki, as well as a semi-sweet chocolate filled one that is perfect for kids or the less adventurous. ;) They also have a wide variety of foods that are perfect for people on the go, or just passing through.
- Japan Video: They rent the most comprehensive collection of Japanese movies, including full-length anime movies and full collections of original series (subtitled for you anime purists). They also have a small collection of Anime-inspired toys and goods for purchase. Look for the big Totoro at the front door.
- Tokyo Motor Trenz and Auto Freak: these two stores cater to the most discriminating auto mod crowd, with completely useless accessories that just look cool. They also carry cell phone accessories that you probably can’t find anywhere else (blinky lighted phone straps, anyone?). It’s always fun to browse this store.
- Maruwa Supermarket: Go here for your Japanese snack food fix. Arare, Okashi, Senbei and of course, the popular favorite, Pocky. They also carry a decent supply of typical Japanese grocery products.
- Japantown Denny’s: I know, I know, it’s Denny’s. What’s really interesting about this location is that it used to be a Japanese movie theatre! It has some interesting Asian-inspired decor, and an interesting menu that includes both Denny’s old standbys alongside some Hawaiian plate lunch-inspired dishes.
Although J-Town is small, it certainly is home to a wonderful selection of restaurants and boutiques. Japan Center is one of my favorite places to visit on a rainy day, since most of it is indoors… keep this in mind for the next storm (and here in SF, we all know that can be at any time)!