Cultural Enclaves: Little Osaka

Sawtelle Boulevard, between around Santa Monica and Olympic boulevards, is today’s hotspot for everything Japanese in Los Angeles.

Photographed by Katherine Workinger

In Little Osaka–not to be mistaken with Little Tokyo in Downtown–you can find everything that makes Japan such a fascinating culture. But if this neighborhood has been getting a lot of attention lately, that is clearly because of its cuisine.

There’s much more than sushi and ramen. High end restaurants sit next to joints serving all kinds of recipes. And, yes, that includes a lot of those beloved fast food specialties sold around every corner in Tokyo that are too often hard to find out of Japan. And also wonderful treats in form of shaved ice and bread pudding.

Of course, as any Japanese city is, Little Osaka is chock-full of over-the-top kitschy window displays and karaoke rooms. And where other enclaves stay stuck in an older version of what their country was, or in a simple caricature of its culture, Little Osaka embraces modernity in the best way. And that’s precisely what makes it authentic.

MOOD Magazine

MOOD is a quarterly magazine about music and food. For it's creators, not many things can beat a good record and a delicious meal. Maybe a well-written story, or a gorgeous photo. Well, that's all in MOOD. The magazine looks at music and food in a cohesive and unique way, with a keen eye to design and high quality writing. Its contributors are located around the globe, and the stories span accordingly.