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Visit West LA’s Coolest Japantown Neighborhood: Sawtelle

Sawtelle is one the coolest neighborhoods we’ve just discovered. This area that is located in West LA and known for its rich cultural diversity and vibrant atmosphere is truly a hidden gem of a neighborhood that no one is talking about until now. Some refer to Sawtelle as “Little Osaka” because of its strong Japanese influence. There are many Japanese restaurants, shops, and businesses to explore down Sawtelle Boulevard like affordable sushi restaurants, ramen restaurants, and other Japanese eateries. In recent years it’s also become a hub for art and shopping. Sawtelle’s unique blend of Japanese heritage and contemporary California lifestyle makes it a popular destination for both locals and tourists looking for an enriching and flavorful experience. We stopped by Sawtelle Boulevard aka Japantown and found out you really can  spend a full day here. Check out what we loved!

Where To Shop

Sawtelle Boulevard’s shopping scene is a delightful mix of diverse establishments and caters to a wide range of interests. At Black Market, you can uncover unique and vintage fashion finds perfect for those seeking one-of-a-kind style statements. Daiso Japan is also here. It offers a treasure trove of Japanese goods, from everyday essentials to quirky knick-knacks. Tokyo Japanese Outlet ( located  at 2109 Sawtelle Blvd in Sawtelle Centre) is a haven for fans of Japanese pop culture. The outlet offers a variety of anime, manga, and collectibles. For those wanting to shop authentic Japanese groceries and culinary ingredients, Nijiya Market Sawtelle Store is a must-visit. It has a wide array of imported and fresh Japanese products

Pro Tip: Parking on Sawtelle Blvd can be tough, but here’s a hack:  One Westside Shopping Center is a FREE parking garage that is a short walk to all the amazing food, shops, and entertainment. This is the perfect place to keep your car safe and to take the stress off of finding a street spot to park. You’re welcome!

Black Market LA

Where To Eat

One of the best things about Sawtelle is the food! Among its culinary gems, Killer Noodle Ramen stands out with its fiery broth and bold flavors. If you’re a spice enthusiast, eat here. Marugame Udon, on the other hand, offers a different kind of delight. They serve up fresh and customizable udon bowls that satisfy both the adventurous and traditional palate. For a unique sushi experience, Kura Revolving Sushi provides an exciting conveyor belt concept where diners can pluck their favorite sushi dishes as they roll by. To round off your meal or beat the California heat, be sure to visit Volcano Tea House. They’ll have refreshing boba drinks in an array of flavors.

What To Do

Giant Robot, the pioneering shop that kickstarted Sawtelle Boulevard’s cultural scene, continues to be a cherished landmark. With its eclectic mix of fun house wares, gifts, stationeries, t shirts, comics, plush and toy figures, Giant Robot has been a catalyst for creativity and community.Giant Robot is often cited as the birthplace for Asian Pop Culture products and Uglydolls. Adjacent to the shop, the GR2 Art Gallery has gained acclaim for its ever-changing exhibitions that showcase the works of both emerging and established artists. Together, Giant Robot and GR2 Art Gallery have fostered a dynamic cultural hub on Sawtelle and attracts art enthusiasts and collectors alike. 

Ready to discover more hidden gems in LA? Check out Farmhouse Thai Kitchen in LA.