Japantown Business Association

May 2019

Letter from the JBA

Here’s a breakdown of recent news with the neighborhood and JBA.

We apologize for the lack of updates in March and April — much has been going on in the neighborhood, and we didn’t have enough time to keep on top of the monthly notices. We hope you enjoy our May recap and announcements for June.


Japantown Farmer’s Market

We are very happy to announce the return of the Japantown Farmer’s Market on Sunday, June 16, 2019 — Father’s Day! Our new location is behind Gordon Biersch at 357 E. Taylor Street (N. 8th and Taylor Streets). It will be held in the same space as the Taylor Street Night Market, only three blocks from the old Farmer’s Market location.

Please note: there is no on-site parking available (street parking only), and the market will be down a long driveway, so visitors will need to plan accordingly. While we know this may be difficult for some, we are deeply grateful to our vendors for returning and to Gordon Biersch for providing a home for us. We will be open from 8am to 12 Noon, every Sunday year-round except the last two weeks of the year. We look forward to seeing you on June 16!

Right now, we are unsure of physical capacity for Farmer’s Market vendors, but if you know of any businesses that would like to join should space permit it, please fill out the application.

Agricultural vendor/Grower’s application. Non-Agricultural Application.

Japantown Square

Swenson Builders is providing a monthly construction update for the Japantown Square project. You can see what’s planned for June here.


  1. Street Maintenance: The Japantown Business Association is having the wells around trees on Jackson, 4th, 5th and 6th Streets replenished with gold fines (i.e. ‘DG’, decomposed granite). Gold fines wear away with time and cause a trip hazard for pedestrians. The JBA is working to get the gold fine project completed before the festival season starts in our neighborhood.

  2. Banners: The JBA hopes to move forward on replacing banners and the pole banner hardware on Jackson Street sometime this summer. The JBA received a gracious donation from an anonymous donor for the banner printing. There is more work involved in replacing the banner hardware — they tend to get hit by delivery trucks on Jackson Street, so several poles are damaged.

  3. Pedestrian Safety: A traffic signal will be installed on the corner of 6th and Taylor Streets (between Fuji Towers and Santo Market), after a Department of Transportation study concluded it was necessary. The DOT is currently determining where the approximate $1M in funding will come from, with hopes that Shea Properties/Swenson will handle the construction to save on costs (as they are already on-site). In the meantime, the DOT is suggesting two temporary island configurations for 6th/Taylor. One has a smaller island with a dedicated left-hand turn lane onto N. 6th Street; the other has a larger island with no left-hand turn lane (left-hand turns will be permitted, but will slow all traffic behind it). Here are the diagrams; you may submit your vote to info@japantownsanjose.org.

Crime in Japantown

  1. May 27: Minato Restaurant had its front door smashed and empty register stolen. There are images of the thief on Minato’s Facebook page.

  2. June 3: Car break-in on Jackson Street (in front of Headliners), at 9:00-9:15 in the evening.

  3. 6th Street continues to be a vulnerable area for car thefts, especially after dark and behind restaurants or buildings where visibility is reduced. There were a handful of car break-ins in March and April on 6th and Jackson Streets.

  4. There are regular incidents with people who appear to be under the influence of drugs or suffering from mental illness in Japantown. We are fortunate that none of these incidents have resulted in physical injury to people, only objects. Please be aware of your surroundings and contact 911 and your neighbors if you feel unsafe or are concerned about unstable patrons.

Events & NOTICES

  1. The Jtown Artwalk: the monthly summer event returns to third Fridays in Japantown this summer, starting in June. From 6-9pm, artists, vendors, and musicians will be stationed around Japantown. June 21 is a City-wide celebration of ‘Make Music Day’, and there will be musical performances throughout Japantown to accompany the artist booths.

  2. San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin Obon Practice: Free Obon practice for all ages will be held at the Buddhist Church Betsuin Annex on N. 5th Street on the following dates: June 24, 25, 27 and July 1, 2, 3. Practice is held from 7:30-8:45pm.

  3. Yokoso Mixer will be held on Monday, July 1 from 6-7pm at Roy’s Station. Sushi and drinks will be provided. This is a great opportunity for everyone to get to know the new neighbors that are moving into the neighborhood, and reacquaint themselves with everyone who has been here for awhile. Obon Odori practice starts promptly after at the SJBCB Annex with a performance by San Jose Taiko.

  4. The Beer/Sakewalks: The Beerwalk team wanted to thank all businesses for participating in the Japantown Star Wars Beerwalk on Saturday, May 4. It was a huge success with 985 paid attendees and 52 volunteers from major and local nonprofits. The Beerwalk donated $2K back to the Japantown Business Association to reinvest in the neighborhood. The next Sakewalk will be on Saturday, September 7. There are 11 businesses in Japantown signed up to participate (20 needed). If you are interested in registering your business, please sign up here.


  1. Recognition: We are very proud to announce that Japantown has been recognized by National Geographic as one of the U.S.’s 28 Friendliest Neighborhoods. You can read more about it here and in the Mercury News here.

  2. Burnett Name Change: Burnett Middle School’s name change has now been narrowed to three choices: San Jose Middle School, Ohlone Middle School and Sofia Mendoza Middle School. The three finalists will be submitted to the San Jose Unified School District at their June meeting. Article about the naming choices from San Jose Spotlight.

    Please contact me if you have any questions about recent news. Thank you!


Tamiko Rast
President, JBA