At roughly five blocks, Little Tokyo is one of LA’s smallest and densest neighborhoods, bringing together luxury hotels, Buddhist temples and mom-and-pop shops that have been in business for almost a century.
It’s one of the most popular tourist stops in the Downtown area and a vibrant neighborhood where almost one-fifth of its residents are 65 and older – twice the proportion of seniors you find in the rest of the city.
When it comes to “aging in place” in LA, Little Tokyo sets a positive example for other parts of the city. There are 950 units of affordable housing available – most of them dedicated to seniors – as well as access to multilingual case management, caregiving, and public transportation – all within walking distance.
But with its prime central location, there’s a lot of pressure on Little Tokyo these days. Steve Nagano, a former school teacher who moved to Little Tokyo from Torrance after retiring a few years ago has been working to keep the neighborhood the way it is. “We think it will be around when we die,” he says. “But you know, what it’ll be, we’re not sure. Especially with the gentrification, the change in demographics, does Little Tokyo still have same or similar character to what we had when we were growing up? What control do we have?”
Explore Little Tokyo
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