Yesterday as we were driving down Hwy. 1 to Monterey, we decided to stop in San Francisco for a few hours to check out the Nihonmachi Street Fair in Japantown.

I fell in love with Japantown earlier this week when we visited to poke around the shops and restaurants.

I spent a few hours filling my baskets with plates, pots, pans and silverware from Daiso (everything is $1.50!). I can’t wait to use all of my new props when I get home — I got a Madeline pan, milk frother, and banana slicer (because everyone needs a banana slicer). We couldn’t possibly carry it all in our suitcases, so we had to buy two big UPS boxes to ship all of the stuff home.


At the street fair, the whole block smelled like smokey charcoal, juicy BBQ, and sweet, salty kettle corn. There were tons of food trucks parked at the end of the block selling everything from Hawaiian BBQ to boba tea. I was glad that they were generous with samples (where else could I sample sour lychee candy and furikake corn on the cob in less than 5 minutes?!)

{wafu-style hot dog}

We had to sample one of the Japanese-style hot dogs from Wafu Hot dogs. Ours had onions, scallions, nori and furikake on it (and would definitely give ketchup and mustard a run for their money!).

{natural light streamed through the white lanterns during the power outage}

Shortly after we sat down for lunch at one of the restaurants inside of the complex, the power went out! We sat in the dark at a booth with only the light streaming through the skylights and the white paper lanterns. Although everyone was impatient and hungry (including myself), it was actually quite beautiful.

After lunch, I ventured over to a little taiyaki stand. In my opinion, no Japanese festival is complete without this popular festival food. Taiyaki are little cakes made using pancake batter cooked golden brown in a fish-shaped mold. They are traditionally filled with red bean paste, but this little stand also sold chocolate, taro, and chocolate-banana filled taiyaki. I was feeling traditional, and went with the red bean filling (but was quite intrigued by chocobanana).


Do you have a favorite summer festival?

With love,

{sayonara for now}

9 thoughts on “nihonmachi”

  1. I can't believe they have Daiso stores in the US! There's one in Sydney that I just adore, although here everything is $2.80 πŸ™ (And with the exchange rate, that's almost $3.00 American!) I knew they were big in Japan, but it's so cool that they're all over the world. This sounds like a great day; how I wish San Francisco was closer!

    1. Yes they do! I wish they had them back on the east coast πŸ™ Someone could make a lot of money if they opened one in my area! Nonetheless, I think I stocked up on enough plates and towels and Japanese baking supplies to last me a while πŸ™‚

  2. Your photography skills are amazing! Glad you are enjoying your vacation! Our family lived in Japan for three years and LOVED the culture and food. Thank you for reminding me of wonderful times πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much! That is so cool — I wish I could go back to visit Japan sooner πŸ™‚ I really miss the atmosphere… and most of all the food! I'm glad I could bring back some memories for you with my photos πŸ™‚

  3. You were in the bay? No way! I'm back for a visit as well; if the festival's still going on next weekend (and I should probably check), I'd love to go check it out, because SF J-town and Daiso are just amazing. Looks like you had a fun time! What else did you get to do in the area?

    1. Yes! Sadly, I don't think the festival is going on next weekend :(. BUT a trip to Japantown is totally worth it anyways. I am doing a post right now about an awesome little crepe place called "Belly Good Crepes." If you end up going, you should DEFINITELY get one of these.

  4. That sounds so wonderful ^_^. The closest I have ever gotten to a Japanese festival was an anime convention and there was definitely no food being served there, least of all delicious authentic food.

    We don't have any summer festivals here but in the Spring we have something called Batabano which has fireworks, street dances, parades and of course local food being served – oxtail, cowfoot, curry chicken, rice and beans, potato salad, baked macaroni and cheese, fried plantain, stew conch, conch chowder, casava cake, fried plantain, bbq chicken, fried chicken, and stew turtle (stuff like that) :). We also have a Fall festival called Pirate's Week with a pirate theme parade but it's mostly a heritage type festival with pretty much the same things going on that happen at Batabano.


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