Japan Town, San Francisco

San Francisco, aside from being home to China Town, also boasts the more unknown but equally great Japan Town. Bridget Goodman, a writer for bootsnall.com, leads us through Japan Town in her article; Exploring Japan in San Francisco.

“On a recent drive to San Francisco, I had planned to go to the city’s most famous neighborhood, Chinatown. A funny thing happened on the way, though. As I was driving across town, I became distracted by bilingual signs for a neighborhood I hadn’t known existed, Japan Town.

Takara was rated one of the top 100 restaurants in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Gate magazine, but it was a little out of my price range. Instead, I chose the more modest Mifune Don. In the glass case of plastic foods outside Mifune Don, I saw one my Japanese ESL students had told me about – okonomiyaki. Inside, the more detailed menu advertised it as “Japanese style pizza”. My beef and egg okonomiyaki ($8.35) was round and small like a pizza and may have been baked in an oven, but to me it had a consistency more like an omelet than a pizza. It was topped with mayonnaise, a brown sauce that tasted vaguely like a thin barbecue sauce, and shavings of dried (possibly smoked) squid. It may not sound appetizing, but I assure you it was delicious.

After eating lunch and browsing Ichiban Kan, I went across the park to the west side of Nihonmachi. There were many more gift shops and restaurants. Ironically, the most popular restaurant seemed to be the authentic crepe place. Next to it was my treat of the day – Kinokuniya Bookstore. Kinokuniya is a San Francisco branch of a store in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo. As I walked around the aisles looking at the rows of comic books and stories written in Japanese characters, I felt I was back in Asia.”