Go Little Tokyo’s seventh annual Delicious Little Tokyo returns to Downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26, for immersive two-day event that presents new ways to indulge in authentic culinary and cultural experiences.
The Little Tokyo community-based, small business marketing initiative features a slate of new and returning favorite taste experiences with hands-on workshops, free activities and giveaways, and three deliciously themed, self-guided foodie tours.
“We’re excited to bring people out for different things and encourage people to piece together a day for themselves with different elements, including a workshop or two,” said Kisa Ito, project director of Little Tokyo. “We’re just so excited about the slate of programs.”
Little Tokyo is the second-oldest neighborhood in Los Angeles. Home to some of the nation’s most important Japanese American institutions, Little Tokyo has been reshaped by WWII Japanese American incarceration camps and decades of redevelopment and displacement while continuing to be the cultural home for the Southern California Japanese American community and a historically multiethnic community.
In a reflective effort to collaborate with the community, Delicious Little Tokyo will partner with more than 30 local businesses, artists and community organizations to promote and preserve the neighborhood.
With an almost entirely in-person lineup of events this year, the tasting element of the historical tours is new and will give attendees an opportunity to learn about Little Tokyo’s culinary mapping.
“It’s traditional for every item on the menu to have a spin on it, which is just a lot of fun, and I think it’s a good representation of the community, and always holding on to that heritage piece and reflecting where the roots are, but also, making it open and welcome to anyone who’s interested in trying it out,” Ito said.
On the plate
History of Little Tokyo Food Tour
11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, June 25, and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 26
In partnership with Little Tokyo Historical Society and the Japanese American National Museum (JANM), guests can learn about Little Tokyo’s rich food history. Guides Bill Watanabe and Mike Okamura of the Little Tokyo Historical Society will highlight the history of Little Tokyo’s longest-standing small businesses and culinary favorites such as imagawayaki and shabu shabu. From the birthplace of the fortune cookie to the first ramen noodle shop in the United States, these sites were integral in the making of the Little Tokyo community and Japanese American food landscape that is known today. $36.
J-Town Treats & Eats
1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 25
Enjoy a self-guided walking tour of Little Tokyo and pick up sweet and savory treats, as well as a limited-edition tote bag, enamel pin, and a couple of special items from two of the oldest retail shops in the neighborhood. The final stop is LT’s hidden oasis, the James Irvine Japanese Garden, which is connected to the new Toshizo Watanabe Culinary Cultural Center at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center. $65.
1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 25
Meet a matcha match on this self-guided walking tour of Little Tokyo. This tour ticket includes four matcha treats as well as a limited edition Delicious Little Tokyo 2022 matcha soft-serve enamel pin. $32.
Little Tipsy Tokyo
Noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, June 26
Enjoy a boozy Sunday brunch featuring specialty cocktails from three of Little Tokyo’s favorite bars alongside delicious food pairings, as well as a limited-edition Little Tokyo tote bag, choice of Little Tokyo enamel pin, and event passport. $85.
Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26
Little Tokyo guests can enjoy J-Town Bingo, an interactive way to explore, learn about and support the historic neighborhood. Pick up a bingo card upon check-in and complete fun tasks around Little Tokyo. Get bingo for the chance to spin the Delicious Little Tokyo wheel for special prizes. At the end of the weekend, all bingo cards will be entered to win a Delicious Little Tokyo grand prize valued over $200.
Saturday, June 25
Furoshiki (Cloth Wrapping), 1 to 2 p.m., $30 ticket includes a furoshiki cloth made in Japan from legacy business Rafu Bussan
Kokedama (Moss Ball Bonsai), 2:30 to 4 p.m., $60 ticket includes materials to create one kokedama to take home
Spam Musubi with Aloha Cafe, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. youth hands-on workshop.
Summertime in the James Irvine Japanese Garden, noon to 4 p.m., free and open to the public
Sun Noodle Saimin at the Toshizo Watanabe Culinary Cultural Center (JACCC), noon to 3:30 p.m., $18
Shodō Calligraphy Demonstration, 2 to 2:30 p.m., free and open to the public, $10
Go Little Tokyo Pop-Up Shop, noon to 4 p.m.
Support the Little Tokyo Community Council in style. Stop by to pick up Little Tokyo sweatshirts, tote bags, enamel pins, vinyl stickers, and hats. Proceeds benefit the Little Tokyo Community Council, various prices
Sunday, June 26
Emoji-pan Workshop with Okayama Kobo, 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m., decorate an Emoji-Pan (chocolate and custard filled sweet bun) at Okayama Kobo. Sold out.
Donut Decorating Station at Cafe Dulce, 1 to 4 p.m., Stop by to decorate (and eat) a dulce donut with glaze and special toppings completely personalized, $5
DIY Summer Blooms Workshop with Moon Jar Design, 2:30 to 4 p.m., Learn how to make a beautiful and sustainable arrangement with summer flowers, $60
Go Little Tokyo Pop-Up Shop, noon to 4 p.m., support the Little Tokyo Community Council in style. Stop by to pick up Little Tokyo sweatshirts, tote bags, enamel pins, vinyl stickers, and hats. Proceeds benefit the Little Tokyo Community Council.
For more information, visit littletokyola.org/delicious