I’m on a Los Angeles walking tour fever this month. I won’t bore you to death with the details of the Little Tokyo Walking Tour here but I will mention a couple of other LA spots where you can enhance your Japanese experience.
UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden
This estate donated to the University of California in 1965 is located about one mile north of the UCLA campus. It occupies one acre of the Belair community and is a true Los Angeles gem. The garden is only open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10AM to 3PM. Admission is free but a reservation is required. I highly recommend this Japanese garden. For more information, please go to http://www.japanesegarden.ucla.edu/.
If you want to experience affordable great Japanese dining, go to Yamato. This restaurant has several locations in the LA and OC area. They have a location right on Westwood, so it’s very convenient for you to make a stop after your visit to the Japanese Garden. I’m not a sushi eater but my friends say sushi here is good (we’ll have to take their word for it). I can personally recommend almost everything on their regular and teppanyaki dinner menus. Very delicious!
A Japanese Version of Little Mermaid
Catch an early evening showing of Ponyo at the Landmark Regent theatre (located a block away from the Yamato Westwood restaurant). This updated version of “The Little Mermaid” is written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, who also directed other Japanese animated classics Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. According to Lisa Schwarzbaum (Entertainment Weekly), Miyazaki’s retelling of this classic story transforms it to a “parable about keeping a planet in balance, and a vision of multigenerational love.” How can you not want to see that?
Little Tokyo Walking Adventure
I still want to encourage you to go on a docent-led or self-guided walking tour of historic Little Tokyo. You start the tour at the Japanese American National Museum on East First Street and you’ll see the “Go for Broke” monument, a replica of an old fire lookout tower, several Buddhist temples, and so much more. Click here for more information.