Anime Expo is the biggest anime convention in North America, which brings in visitors from all over the world. As a full time resident of Los Angeles, I’d be a bad host if I didn’t welcome j-fashion fans to my city with a short tourist guide. Obviously, Los Angeles is a huge city with plenty of stuff to do, but here’s some highlights if you’re into lolita fashion or just a fan of Japanese culture.
While not in Los Angeles proper, this indie kawaii shop is about 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles. It’s full of cute stationary, clothing, and more from indie artists. While I have not visited their brick and mortar store, they are a frequent guest at Harajuku Day Los Angeles, so I’ve had a chance to browse their adorable selection.
Celebrating 17 years of business, Japan LA is your one stop shop for all things Sanrio. Keep in mind that they are only open for shopping on Saturday and Sunday, though you can order online and arrange a pick up on other days.
If the dealer’s hall at Anime Expo doesn’t have enough manga for you, check out the selection of books and magazines at Kinokuniya. They have a huge selection of English and Japanese specialty media. They also have posters, stationary, and cute anime merch.
This is also my little plug for checking out Little Tokyo in general. It’s full of delicious food, one of a kind boutiques, and unique cultural landmarks, including the Japanese American National Museum within easy walking distance of each other. It’s definitely a fun place to spend an afternoon!
Los Angeles has not one but two Japanese enclaves: Little Tokyo (just east of downtown Los Angeles) and Sawtelle Japantown, just south of Brentwood. While Little Tokyo is bigger and more bustling, Sawtelle is less crowded and has some seriously excellent food. One of the highlights is Giant Robot, a boutique with an eclectic mix of toys, books, art, and clothing, all inspired by a variety of Asian cultures. In addition to merch from companies like Sanrio, they have lots of indie artists and often host mini art shows.