San Francisco Japantown Tours and Activities
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San Francisco’s Japantown, a microhood of the Western Addition neighborhood, is the oldest Japantown in the US and one of just a few left. It’s home to restaurants serving sushi, ramen, and other fare, a shopping center, a Japanese supermarket, and the 5-tier Peace Pagoda.
Japantown is bordered by Fillmore Street, Sutter Street, Laguna Street, and Geary Boulevard, with the main drag of Post Street running through the middle. Located just south of Pacific Heights, it’s easy to visit if you’re doing some shopping or dining along Fillmore Street. Alternatively, book a private city tour or a Japanese food tour to explore with a guide.
Wandering on foot is the best way to experience the neighborhood—check out Peace Pagoda in Peace Plaza, pick up a Bento box at Nijiya Market, browse the shops at Japan Center, or catch a movie at AMC Kabuki 8. For a more relaxing treat, head to Kabuki Springs and Spa, an urban oasis where you can get a massage or enjoy a soak in the Japanese-style communal baths.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There is a lot of metered and free street parking available around Japantown, but pay attention to posted signs about prohibited parking during street cleaning or other times.
- Japan Center has a parking garage.
- If you plan to visit Kabuki Springs and Spa, make sure to check the schedule for the communal baths, as some days are male- or female-only.
How to Get There
If you’re not driving, Japantown is easily reached by cab or ride-booking service, or take Muni buses 2, 3, 22, or 38.
When to Get There
Most shops and eateries open in the late morning; early evening is a good time to take in the neighborhood vibe. The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the city’s top events and takes place in April. The J-Pop Summit and Japan Film Festival of San Francisco are other annual events that draw crowds.
From Japantown, Fillmore Street runs north through Pacific Heights to the Marina District. The blocks between Post and Jackson are home to stylish boutiques and upscale cafes, and locals gather there on evenings and weekends for shopping, dining, and coffee dates.
Address: Japantown, San Francisco, California, USA
4 Tours and Activities to Experience San Francisco Japantown
Bring your appetite and your walking shoes for a delicious Japantown food tour. Learn about the history of this unique neighborhood in San Francisco and visit several authentic markets, restaurants, cafés, and tea houses with your gourmet guide. Discover where locals go for the best Japanese food in town, and taste six to seven samplings, from red bean ‘taiyaki’ to sweet rice ‘mochi.’
Download this self-guided audio tour for an independent exploration of San Francisco's historic Japantown. You can travel at your own pace with your private group, stopping and starting the tour whenever you like. The narrator will share little-known stories about the food, culture, and history of the neighborhood; best taken between 10:30am and 3:30pm, Wednesdays through Saturdays, to ensure that the businesses and other stops are open.
See the San Francisco sights you want to see, at a pace that suits your group. Choose from 2, 2.5 or 3-hour explorations. And yes, we stop at the Golden Gate Bridge! Our open-air convertible Jeeps fit 6 guests plus the driver guide. Recommended seating for up to 4 adults and 2 children / teens in the 3rd row seating. Our 2-hour tour covers most of the city's highlights and the Golden Gate Bridge. The 2.5-hour tour adds: A drive down Lombard Street (depending on traffic) and more time in Golden Gate Park or Ocean Beach. The 3-hour tour adds: Time for four to five more locations or a meal stop. Stops can include the Mission District Murals, views from Twin Peaks, view from Coit Tower /Telegraph Hill.
Taking safety measures
Face masks required for travelers in public areas
Face masks required for guides in public areas
Face masks provided for travelers
Cross the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge with a Private Guide See a different San Francisco throughout the night. This tour is ideal for city lights enthusiasts and steam photographers! Enjoy the must-see famous places, from Palace of Fine Arts to Bay Bridge span, but your private tour can go much further and give you a more authentic experience of all that makes San Francisco such a glorious place to visit. For example, I can guide you through an exclusive private tour of Nob Hill, top of Twin Peaks, Golden Gate Bridge, view of downtown skyline from Treasure Island, Embarcadero waterfront, City Hall, The Legion of Honor, Castro and Valencia Streets, North Beach/Broadway, Coit Tower, St. Ignatius Church, Japantown and much more. . . I'll show you places that reveal the true character of San Francisco, as it is known and loved by locals.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What's the best way to experience San Francisco Japantown?
The best ways to experience San Francisco Japantown are:
- San Francisco Food Tour: A Taste of Japantown
- Food, History, and Resistance: A Self-Guided Audio Tour of San Francisco's Japantown
- Open Air Private Jeep Tour of San Francisco (Group Pricing)
- Night Tour - City Lights of San Francisco!
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