Japantown itself, also known as Nihonmachi, was built in 1870. However, many Japanese migrants have been here since 1860. Before then, this area was nothing but sandy and barren land with bobcats, rabbits, and quail.
During the devastating earthquake in 1906, this area remained untouched from both the fire and the earthquake itself, allowing a huge amount of San Francisco’s population to move here for shelter.
In 1960, San Francisco embarked on a pioneering program which included razing a five-acre, three-square-block section of Japantown the area bounded by Geary, Post, Fillmore, and Laguna Streets to make way for the Japan Center.
Forty-four years later, the renovation of Geary Boulevard took a huge toll on Japantown. This led to the destruction of many homes in order to widen the Boulevard. On the bright side, this helped lead to the development of the Japan Center Mall. Today, this shopping center is one of many tourist attractions in San Francisco. The mall is home to several Japanese restaurants and gift shops. This just gives us a little taste of what it’s like to be a part of the welcoming, Japanese culture.