San Jose’s Japantown- One of only 3 in America

Japantown is a very small neighborhood mainly centered around Jackson Ave. I expanded the boundaries a bit to include the area between 1st and 10th streets and Empire and Taylor Streets.

This is the historic center for San Jose’s Japanese American and Chinese American communities.  San Jose’s Japantown is one of only three Japan towns that still exist in the United States; one in San Francisco and Los Angeles. By 1941, there were 53 businesses in Japantown. Sadly the population was forcibly removed from Japantown and unjustly incarcerated in camps due to the conflict with Japan. On their return after the war many resettled outside of the neighborhood. Yet Japanese culture and the vitality of their community remained especially with many Japanese  businesses and Japanese festivals.

Today about 17% of the population of Asian but this is a mixture of Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese. There is now a large Mexican presence in the neighborhood. From an urban perspective Japantown is a comfortable relatively walkable district with solid density, good public transit, great bike infrastructure, and convenient access to Downtown. Amenity wise there is a large concentration of Asian restaurants and businesses here, plenty of cafes, boutiques, and gift shops along with some other retail amenities. Areas to improve upon include walking access to more and better schools, the need for a  supermarket and drug store, more walkable parks, and more affordable for sale housing. There is actually a high concentration of affordable senior housing here, but for sale one-bedroom condos start at 700K.

Click here to view my Japantown Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Great public transit and access to Dwtn (only 1.5 miles away).
* Excellent bike access with many dedicated bike lanes and dedicated bike stations.
* Only  17% of the pop. remains Asia great diversity with large numbers of Hispanics and Mixed Races.
* Pretty wealthy district but only a bit more than the City average of 115K.
* Excellent streetscaping in Japantown.
* Good amount of dedicated amount of affordable housing esp. senior housing.
* Urban in-fill is generally very good.
* The neighborhood generally seems very safe.
* Great tree canopy especially along the residential streets.
* Cultural amenities including a great array of Asian restaurants, a decent # of bars, cafes, a couple breweries, the Japanese American Museum, a couple art galleries, and the Contemporary Asian Theater.
* Retail amenities include plenty of Japanese grocerias, plenty of gift stores, a public library,  lots of boutiques, a toy store, an art store, and a good number of churches.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* A couple parking lots and autocentric spots but overall the urban form in the commercial district is very good.
* Medium rent is very high at $2,300.
* Really only 2 walkable schools with ok ratings. A public grade and middle school. Several schools 1.5-2 miles away.
* Rentals are a bit limited and certainly expensive. 1-bedrooms lease in the $2,000s, 2-bedroosm in the 2K & 3Ks. Very few 3 bedrooms.
* A handful of condos for sale. 1-bedrooms sale around 700/800K, 2-bedrooms vary btwn 700K and the low Millions. 3 & 4 -bedrooms in the low Millions.
* No parks within Japantown but several nearby including the expansive Guadalupe River Park a mile away.
* No supermarket nor drug store walkable to the district, no post office, 

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