The granite benches seen around Japantown and the Issei Voices Wall at 5th & Jackson are a timeline back to the origins of the town. Quotes and etched photos from the past give the visitor a glimpse into life and times of Japantown San Jose.
Yamato Bath House-1911
Photo courtesy: W. Kanemoto Collection
Please enjoy your walk! Hope you come back again soon!
1. "Ken Ing Low" restaurant building, a remembrance of the Chinese community in the area, retains its architectural character. It was also the site of the Cuban International Restaurant and for 50 years, the site of the Puerto Rican Club at 625 N Sixth Street.
2. This wood frame building, formerly the home of live Japanese theatre, was later used to show films. It was also the rehearsal studios for premiere Japantown performance company, San Jose Taiko. When they were forced to move because of the sale of the building, they relocated rehearsals to a space at 150 S. Montgomery Street n San Jose. Their offices are still in the Issei Memorial Building on 5th Street in Japantown. The Orthodox Ethiopian Church bought Okida Hall, renovated in 2010 and have become a very active presence in Japantown.
3. One of the early boarding houses where single Japanese males stayed while working on farms in the valley. 205 Jackson Street is Hank's Rod and Reel. The building is now occupied by 'Headliners' and Kumako Ramen. Both new urban culture and ramen - something that has become a staple in the normal Japanese diet, both businesses continue to contribute to Japantown San Jose culture.
The Issei Memorial Buiding served
as a hospital from 1910 to 1933. It is currently the home of the San Jose Chapter of the
JACL and Contemporary Asian Theater Scene
5. Across the street from the hospital, this building was a midwifery. 580 N Fifth Street. It has been a boarding house and apartments for many years. In 2007 a huge fire engulfed the building, took one life and threatened everything around it. Luckily, San Jose Firefighters were able to contain the blaze and minimize damage to the buildings next to and behind the building. It is currently, once again, in use as apartments.
6. The 1988 addition to the Wesley United Methodist Church was designed to incorporate the original structure, built in 1941. 566 N Fifth Street. Fifth Street is sometimes referred to as 'institutional row' because, Fuji Towers (started by the community for mobile elderly housing) the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin is on Fifth, the Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj) is on Fifth, the Issei Memorial Building is on fifth and Wesley United Methodist Church. In front of The church is another Ikoi no Ba - 'Community' - the circle is made of two semi-circles of wood, cut from one tree. Photo of Issei Memorial Building: Curtis Fujita
7. The San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin was designed by architect George Shimamoto, and built by the Nishiura brothers in 1937. One of the largest Obon Festivals in the USA takes place here every summer with over 1300 dancers participating in one night in 2012. The community is always welcome! An Ikoi no Ba (off-white granite) with the phrase 'Ichi go Ichi e' (famous saying by Tea Master Sen no Rikyu meaning - "one time, one life") is under one of the small cherry trees in front of the Betsuin. Across the street, cared for by Lotus Preschool is the 'Festivals' Ikoi no Ba. Children from Lotus Preschool, the Northside Boys & Girls Club, the Wesley United Methodist Sunday School and the San Jose Buddhist Church Dharma School decorated tiles with images that they associated with Japantown. These were placed in concrete blocks with help from artist Ken Matsumoto and architect Peter Geraghty from the San Jose Redevelopment Agency to symbolize youth and the joy and future of the Japantown community. 640 N Fifth Street. Photo of San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin Courtesy of: Gerald Sakamoto.