Japantown N. 5th St./Jackson St., (408) 298-4303. Dating back to the late 1800s, when bachelors from Japan migrated to the area, this historic neighborhood features streets lined with cherry trees that bloom spectacularly in the spring. One of only three remaining historical Japantowns in the U.S. (the others are in San Francisco and Los Angeles), it is just south of downtown and can be reached via the Light Rail line. Standing here at 10:55 a.m. on a Sunday morning, we viewed the huge Dreamliner fly in from Tokyo to land at the city airport here as it does once each day.
These historical sites of interest are situated on residential side streets:
●San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin 640 N. 5th St., (408) 293-9292. Featuring a Japanese garden and a tile roof, this still-active church dates from 1937.
●Wesley United Methodist Church 566 N. 5th St., (408) 295-0367. Established in 1895 as the Japanese Methodist Episcopal Church and at this site since 1913, this church has been remodeled several times.
●Japanese American Museum of San Jose 535 N. 5th St., (408) 294-3138. Thur-Sun noon-4pm. $5, $65+ $3, under 12 free. This newish museum’s permanent exhibits include vintage farming artifacts used by early settlers as well as a furnished replica of the Tule Lake Relocation Center barracks room. The World War II internment exhibits are well done and thought-provoking (for a good background read on this subject, visit here). A free neighborhood map is available here.
Shops, galleries, and Japanese restaurants abound in the neighborhood, and on Sunday mornings from 8:30 a.m. to noon the bustling Japantown Certified Farmers Market unfolds. Happi House (695 N. 5th St./Taylor St., (408) 295-5554. L-D daily; $.) serves Japanese-style fast food. Diners order at the counter--noodle soups, tempura, teriyaki items--and then food is delivered to the table lickety-split.
Annual festivals celebrating the changing seasons include Nikkei Matsuri in May, the Obon Festival in July, and Aki Matsuri in September.
More things to do in San Jose.
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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers