Ever since I visited Tokyo last fall, I’ve become a die-hard fan of Japan. So when I heard about San Francisco’s Japan Town, I excitedly planned an excursion there. According to Wikipedia, Japan Town “comprises six square city blocks in San Francisco,” and “is the largest and oldest such enclave in the United States.”

Also known as “Little Osaka,” the area is rich with Japanese culture, boasting several markets, malls and restaurants carrying Japanese products and services.

I checked out a few interesting shops, but one in particular really caught my eye and imagination. The NEW PEOPLE building, a three-story glass building, designed by the Japanese architectural firm Torafu as a giant art installation, is a J-Pop lovers dream! As soon as I walked into the building, I transformed into a giddy Manga shopping monster!

Join me as I take you on a tour of NEW PEOPLE…

Cool art in the lobby. Chandelier by Kim Songhe. Wall art by Yoshitaka Amano. More on art later (upstairs)!

Business card for NEW PEOPLE The Store.


The ground floor houses a cafe and NEW PEOPLE The Store, which carries an interesting collection of accessories, books, toys and gadgets. I was particularly taken with their assortment of ties and jewelry selections.

That blue-striped bow-tie is totally nerd-punk.

I just LOVE this black tie covered in bows!

A golden wisdom tooth necklace with fun container packaging. By Q-Pot.


On the second floor are boutiques that represent an eclectic collection of clothing labels from the Harajuku district in Toyko:

BABY, The Stars Shine Bright {doll-like, Japanese Lolita fashion} • BLACK PEACE NOW {Japanese gothic and punk}

TOKYO CREATORS GARDEN {nature-inspired boutique} • SOU • SOU {footwear from Kyoto}

(from left) BABY, The Stars Shine Bright, BLACK PEACE NOW, TOKYO CREATORS GARDEN. Photos from NEW PEOPLE site.

Of course I couldn’t leave the second floor without buying something! Look what I got from SOU • SOU.

Tabi-style with toe separation.

More on SOU • SOU:

SOU・SOU is a unique footwear brand from Kyoto that infuses Japanese classic “Tabi” work shoes with vibrant graphic patterns. SOU・SOU’s combination of form-fitting soles and striking modern looks has created a huge following, from dancers to sneaker-obsessed. While new and fun, each shoe is crafted by hand, preserving the best of tradition.
(description from the NEW PEOPLE site)

*On a side note, if you ever find yourself wearing Tabi-style shoes, Kushyfoot
makes a good toe sock that would work perfectly. Great for flip-flops too!


On the top floor is the SUPERFROG Gallery, which showcases the work of Japanese pop culture artists. Here are some of my favorite art pieces.

Heart pillow faces by Junko Mizuno. Chandelier by Kim Songhe.

Feline sculptures, artist unknown. Gallery photos by Dave Golden via Flickr;


If this is not enough sensory overload for you, there is a theater in the basement, where VIZ Cinema plays the hottest films, anime and classics from Japan.

The NEW PEOPLE building is owned and operated by Viz Pictures, Inc. as part of a greater project, the J-POP SUMMIT Project (festivals, events and interactions in the Japan Town area—the next festival is September 18).

This concludes my NEW PEOPLE building tour, a place where you can enjoy retail, art, cinema and food all at once. It was really an AMAZING experience, a taste of Japan, right in San Francisco. For more on NEW PEOPLE, here is an article by the SFGate.

NEW PEOPLE is located at:
1746 Post St
San Francisco, CA 94115

unless noted, photos: Howong + me

In the works… SF {part 3}: more shopping + night life

To see previous entries from my trip out west:

TRAVEL AND BEYOND: San Francisco, a postcard-perfect city {part 1}

  1. vinda said:

    wow, thanks for sharing! i love jap architectures. they’re always so simple yet futuristic and imagination-evoking. love the wall art by amano, too. he’s one of my favorite artists! one day if i have a fashion line i’d love to collaborate with him too, creating series of amazing graphic tees perhaps? haha.
    thanks for sharing the inspiration. looking forward to see more about your travels! 🙂

  2. Clare said:

    This post is full of things I want… That’s the best business card ever and I want that gold tooth more than most things!



  3. amugo said:

    I LOVE Japan and their culture. As an African,do you know how much acres that accommodates the JapaneseTown in San Francisco and how much did it cost them to build? Who was their Architect and their Financial Consultant that constructed their Business Plan presented to the City of San Francisco for approval-?————-what a nice sight to see,and with hope to see it when I visit SF from my LA base.

    Please respond to my questions -thanks for your cooperation

    Amugo Godswill/TeacherLAUSD

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