About 1.5 miles north of downtown is San Jose’s Japantown neighborhood. While a quieter community in comparison to Santana Row and downtown proper, it boasts many of the same amenities one looks for when searching for a new condo or loft. Just a few light rail stops or a 3-minute car ride easily connects you to the urban lifestyle of downtown. Its long history, cultural significance, and easy access to all major freeways set it apart from other areas in San Jose.
One of only three remaining Japanese communities nationally, San Jose’s Japantown holds much historical significance both locally and internationally as a historical mecca and repository. Originally founded as San Jose’s Chinatown, Japanese shopowners rebuilt the area after a fire burned down the streets in the late 1800’s. The area was the center for the large community of Chinese, Japanese and Filipino farmworkers.
Projects in this area are the results of an effort to revitalize the 15-block, mostly industrial, neighborhood surrounding the heart of Japantown. Most of the newly constructed residential complexes in the Jackson-Taylor are only three or four blocks away from the heart of Japantown — a four-block stretch on Jackson Street that includes a variety of restaurants, a market, a hardware store, and a broad selection of specialty shops. Japantown includes two pre-schools, a number of Japanese community centers, the Japanese-American Museum, an Asian Theatre, and several martial arts academies.
Japantown also includes a number of shrines, clubs, churches, and social halls which are important institutions for the community. There are more than a dozen restaurants located in the four-block stretch of Jackson Street, and, in addition to the popular Japanese restaurants, they include purveyors of Korean, Mexican and Chinese food.
Two parks are within four blocks of most of the Jackson-Taylor residences, the largest being Bernal Park that was doubled in size as part of the overall improvement program for the revitalization area.
Japantown is a community in transition experiencing a lot of growth and working to both honor the cultural traditions of the past and to infuse new energy from new residents. It is a friendly community, where couples walking hand in hand to their favorite sushi restaurant share the sidewalk with young families headed home after the annual Obon Festival and on their way to their favorite Hawaiian grill.
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