Travel your own City

Travel your own City: Week 5

I don’t know about you, but I always lose weight whenever I travel because of all the walking I do while exploring the city.  Whether we join a walking tour or just wander around the downtown streets, we seem to spend most of the day on our feet.   I think it’s so interesting that the minute I get back to Los Angeles, I jump in my car and sit on my butt!

So, for week five of Travel your own city, grab your walking shoes because we are taking this challenge to the streets!

Week 5 Challenge: Go on a walking tour

The Japanese American Museum

I’m not sure why- I’ve traveled around the world, walked home from clubs in London by myself (sorry mom and dad) and spent hours alone in Milan not speaking a world of Italian, but I felt safe in all of those cities. So, why was I letting my own city scare me?  After reading about Little Tokyo in a magazine at the gym, I decided to look up more information about the area and discovered a walking tour put together by VisitLittleTokyo.com.  Knowing almost nothing about the area, I thought this was the perfect way to learn more and get a better feeling for Downtown L.A.  For whatever reason, I’m afraid of Downtown Los Angeles.

Go For Broke Monument

 

So, one afternoon Bob and I drove down to Little Tokyo to investigate this area and explore.  While I didn’t feel like I was back in Tokyo exactly, there were some similarities that reminded me of Asia. Something that quickly took me back to Tokyo was the absence of trash cans. When we were in Tokyo we could not find a trashcan anywhere in the city and Little Tokyo was the exact same way. I’m sure it was just a coincidence but it made us laugh, nonetheless.  Other sites along the way were three Buddhist Temples, several monuments and statues commemorating Japanese American history and tons of shops and restaurants. All in all, the walking tour pointed out places that passer-bys should definitely check out but might otherwise miss.

The only other times I had been to Little Tokyo were at night.  During the daytime, this area looks completely different, and, after getting my bearings here, I feel much more comfortable knowing where everything is and what the streets look like.  The whole tour took about two hours but could last well into in the night if you stop by some of the tea shops or grab some sushi and drinks. I will definitely be returning to visit Senor Fish, a mexican place I discovered right across from The Japanese American Museum!

I would highly suggest this tour to anyone with more than a few days visiting Los Angeles to get a unique view of a really special area of the city. It changed my view on Downtown and really has me excited to venture out more and challenge myself not to be too scared of the unknown.  On a map, Little Tokyo is located near several major subway stops (about a ten minute walk) and near Skid Row, which was the main reason for my trepidation regarding downtown.  I didn’t know how comfortable I would be getting off the subway by myself and walking passed an area known for high crime. Now I realize that even though they are fairly close to each other, I didn’t feel or see any unsafe acts happening around me while in Little Tokyo.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the tour:

Koyasan Buddhist Temple

Yagura Tower, a replica of a fire lookout tower in rural Japan

Ellison S. Onizuka Street, named after the first Japanese American astronaut and a model of the Space Shuttle Challenger

Irvine Japanese Garden

Little Tokyo's History is engraved in the sidewalks.

Join our challenges each week- If you complete a challenge, comment or Tweet us the link! I’m putting together the recap this weekend of the first 5 weeks!