Let's face it: when it comes to food, fashion, and beauty, the Japanese are running a pretty good game. Thankfully, DTLA's Little Tokyo offers Angeleans our own little outpost that's a sweet respite from the busting city scene—and doesn't require a flight overseas.
A jaunt through Little Tokyo is inevitably packed with treats for the eyes as delicious as the ones for your belly, so we've outlined a few spots to have a perfectly poured coffee, grab Asian beauty loot, shop a hidden vintage gem, and scoop up sweets almost too pretty to eat.
Start your Saturday with a much needed caffeine fix from the pros at Cafe Dulce (134 Japanese Village Plaza Mall). Using premium beans from the likes of Four Barrel and Heart roasters (among other offerings) the baristas here will pour you a velvety smooth latte or you can opt for an iced matcha or black milk tea. Breakfast options include some stellar burritos, but it's really all about the donuts here. Highlights include a green tea custard-filled version or minis coated in Fruit Pebbles. We dare you to resist!
Located in the same plaza, you'll find Maneki Neko (111 Japanese Village Plaza), a catch-all market that sells cute collectibles and stationary—but we head here for the affordable and interesting beauty buys. Because Japan is often at the forefront of skincare and cosmetics technology, the products here often have unique ingredients we may not see in American ones (um, snail extract?). The shop has a huge variety of cult-fave sheet masks under $2, so snatch a few varieties (they even sell some that plaster your skin with a cat or panda face!). We also typically pick up some fun false lashes, moisturizing eye patches, and pore cleansing strips when we're there.
In the midst of all the Sanrio and anime madness, you'll find a vintage boutique that's contrastingly stocked with Americana style goods. Raggedy Threads (330 E 2nd Street B) offers perfectly worn denim and tees, cozy knits, and leather accessories that look like they've already lived a pretty awesome life. The shop even stocks mini versions for for hipster parents who want to make their kids look tiny railroad workers from the olden days. And we mean, with this clothes this cute who wouldn't?
Okay, okay so technically you've already gotten a sugar high once today but it's practically illegal (in our book) to leave the 'hood without a stop at Fugetsu-Do Bakery Shop (315 E 1st Street). Colorful confections here are almost too beautiful to eat (but we will.) The house specialty is mochi (sweetened rice flour candies) and the sweet staff here will wrap up your custom selections like a lovely gift so they're perfect to bring to a housewarming, shower, dinner party, or your own personal at-home snacking session.