When I first moved to San Francisco after living in Japan for two years, one of the first things I did was visit Japantown...
At first, I just did my grocery shopping there. Over time, I found myself missing all the beautiful Japanese products I used to be surrounded with. I spent hours walking around Japantown looking for the minimalist, artisan-made homewares that are abundant in Japan and went home empty-handed and disappointed each time. For a long time (with the exception of a few stores), I've felt like going to Japantown was like going back in time. Many of the businesses looked like shops I visited in Japan, but 20 years ago, and had never changed. This made me worry about the future of Japantown. It was going to need some updates if it was going to survive for future generations of San Franciscans.
As I mentioned earlier, in the last few months I noticed several new businesses breathing life into Japantown and I could not be happier- I've been waiting for years for this! I feel so fortunate to live so close to a Japantown (there are only three remaining in this country, and they are all in California), and it gives me great joy to support the businesses there. Below, I've listed my favorite Japantown shops for you to enjoy: