When I moved to San Francisco in my 20’s, I only went to Japantown as the last stop on the occasional late night out. My friends and I would drink frosty mugs of Asahi and belt out karaoke tunes, along with all the other people who went there to do just that. At the time, Japantown was a sleepy place that hadn’t changed much in 40 years.
While only three businesses still being run by descendants of the original Japantown families remain, I’ve also noticed a few new spots that are breathing new life into this storied neighborhood. In the last few months, I've watched with eager anticipation as many Japantown businesses changed hands and new places have opened in several formerly empty storefronts. It might be the most change the neighborhood has seen since in recent history. I could not be happier to report that many of these new shops and restaurants are being run by new Japanese immigrants, Japanese-Americans or people who just love Japantown and are doing a great job of honoring the heritage of this neighborhood and community.
In honor of the launch of my Japantown tours through AirBnB experiences, I've created a guide to my favorite food spots in Japantown. One of these spots is on my tour and the others are favorites, both new and old. My hope is that this guide helps you feel more comfortable in the neighborhood, and that you feel inspired to explore it on your own time. Stay tuned for a list of my favorite shops in Japantown, coming soon!