Geary between Fillmore and Laguna • San Francisco, CA 94115
Score (6.5 out of 10)
San Francisco Japan Center, located in the heart of Japantown (aka “Nihonmachi”), is comprised of the Kinokuniya Building, Kintetsu Mall, and Miyako Mall, with the stunning Peace Plaza towards the middle. The Plaza, with its beautiful slate tile fountain, features the 30.5 meter (100 feet) tall Peace Pagoda, designed by world-famous Japanese architect Yoshiro Taniguchi.
Many of the stores have facades to give the center an old Japanese village look. Some restaurants feature seating in the mall to encourage social activities. Even though some parts of the mall are extremely busy, others are quiet. Much dependent on the popularity of the shops inside.
In general, over thirty years have passed since these buldings were built and they have not undergone a major renovation. Typically, this situation leads to a decline in visitors, but maybe not in San Francisco. However, Japan Center does show some some signs of its age.
You’ll find many interesting and one-of-a-kind shops that sell Japanese wares. Many stores cater to the tourist, but the excellent restaurants cater to the locals. Some claim the best sushi can be found here.
A big draw is the AMC Kabuki 8, which hosts the San Francisco International Film Exposition each year.
Not be missed is the Kinokuniya Bookstore. It’s the only San Francisco branch of the famous Japanese chain and carries an extensive collection of mostly Japanese books (with some English titles, too!).
Japan Center is located in San Francisco CA, on Geary Blvd, between Fillmore Street and Laguna Street.
While you are here
Across Post Street is the Buchanan Mall; a pedestrian street that houses more interesting shops and restaurants.
Mondays – Fridays
10 AM – 8 PM
10 AM – 8 PM
11 AM – 7 PM
Restaurants and shops hours vary.
AMC Theatres Kabuki 8
Benihana of Tokyo
Official Site: www.sfjapantown.org
Type: Theme/Festival center
GLA: 69,677.28 m2 (750,000 sq. ft.)
Management Company: n/a
Year First Opened: 1968
Year Renovated: n/a
Size: Average (-0.5)
Architectural Appearance: Average (-0.5)
Cleanliness: Average (-0.5)
Occupancy: Average (-0.5)
Stores: Touristy/mainstream/unique to area
Store Quality: Flagship
Parking: Average (-0.5)
Location: Bring a map, compass, and provisions (-1)
Uniqueness: One-of-a-kind gem