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Day trippin’ to Little Tokyo

A day wandering the shops and public spaces of Little Tokyo transports the visitor to the Far East

Posted: April 6, 2012 6:00 a.m.
Updated: April 6, 2012 6:00 a.m.

A group gathers in one of the many shopping centers located throughout Little Tokyo in downtown L.A.

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I've always loved that candy with the edible rice paper. I remember the first time I experienced that sweet treat in third grade.

You can find rice paper candy and a lot more in the Little Tokyo section of Los Angeles, located in an enclave near First Street and Central Avenue.

It's a fun and short day trip from the Santa Clarita Valley to wander the shopping centers and historic streets of Little Tokyo for authentic tastes and products of Japan.

Check out a small side street - Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Street bordered by Weller Court - that is home to the Challenger Memorial.

A plaque on the memorial honors Onizuka - a Japanese American from Hawaii - who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986.

Established in 1903, Fugetsu-Do, 315 First St., is the oldest candy store in Los Angeles. It is the go-to place for fresh mochi and manju.

The Far East Café, a landmark 1896 Beaux-Arts building on 1st Street, was recently the subject of a $3.8 million restoration that received county, state and federal funds.

Read the sidewalk engravings as you wander down First Street. The street almost literally speaks to visitors and you learn the history of the buildings that inhabit that historic stretch by reading the names and dates of the businesses that once operated on the block.


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