San Jose's Japantown

By James Nagareda

The Japanese started to arrive in San Jose, California, around 1890 in the Heinlenville area, which was once on the outskirts of the city. Many of the businesses that the Japanese opened would serve the needs of the growing Japanese population, who came to the Santa Clara Valley to take advantage of opportunities in the agricultural industry. Out of 46 Japantowns, only three remain in California. San Jose's Japantown is unique in that it is the only surviving Japantown that has remained in its original location. Today, San Jose's Japantown is a thriving and evolving mix of traditional and contemporary arts, culture, and lifestyle.