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“Best Downtown Attraction in LA”

Japanese American National Museum
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Ranked #34 of 559 things to do in Los Angeles
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Museum dedicated to the history and culture of Japanese-Americans.
Los Angeles, California
Level 5 Contributor
57 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Best Downtown Attraction in LA”
Reviewed April 8, 2013

I am little biased because I have a Japanese American background but I think this is the best attraction downtown. The Japanese American story of immigration, surviving racial prejudice and internment, and perseverance to great successes today is also a great American story. The building is spectacular and check their calendar for one of their many interesting events.

Check out this museum!

Visited April 2013
2 Thank nakaboots
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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274 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Windermere, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
722 reviews
302 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 648 helpful votes
“Excellent museum on Japanese-American history in the US”
Reviewed April 7, 2013

The Japanese-American National Museum in downtown Los Angeles provides an excellent historical background on how the Japanese influenced the country's growth and history. The museum is located in the Little Tokyo section and is easy to find. It is a good sized two-story complex with exhibits, a tea room, research center, conference room and a store. It costs $9 for an adult. The museum is open everyday except Mondays and certain holidays. There are also certain times where the admission fee is waived. It is best to check the website for these times Photography is not allowed inside.

All of the exhibits were located on the second floor. You start by briefly learning the early times when the Japanese first came across the Pacific to the Kingdom of Hawaii (before it became a US state) and the mainland of the US. Most of the exhibits are tailored towards WWII and the US Internment of Japanese Americans on the west coast. They have part of one of the original cabins used at one of the camps on display where you can get a sense of what it might have been like.

You can walk through the museum on your own, but you'll get more out of your visit if you take a tour from one of the docents. While I had read most of the information already in the first part of the exhibit, the docent provided more details that filled in the gaps. The second part that focuses on WWII and afterwards show how the Japanese Americans helped the US succeed.

While I thought that the museum focused too much on the internment during WWII, I still learned a lot and would highly recommend visiting the museum. Even those who've been there before will find temporary exhibits that change.

Visited March 2013
3 Thank wbullseye
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Monica
Level 5 Contributor
48 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Do Not Miss”
Reviewed April 4, 2013

Should be required for all those under age 50. Wonderful, informative, factual, easy to get to, safe neighborhood and a friendly, competent staff. Young persons need to understand how badly our culture and society treated Japanese-Americans during WW II.

Visited August 2012
Thank Bill T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level 6 Contributor
223 reviews
152 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
“Japanese Art and History”
Reviewed April 3, 2013

The Museum is in Little Tokio, near a branch of MOCA. There are several galleries with art and history. On one visit we came across an exhibit telling us how to make origami swans for, I don't remember what, but the idea was visitors would make thousands of these to commemorate something. I've forgotten the details, but remember help my wife to make the swan.

Thank Kenneth L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cleveland, Ohio
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Don't miss CHADO, the Tea Room in the Terasaki Garden Cafe”
Reviewed April 1, 2013 via mobile

The museum provides an incite into 20th-century American history that is often swept under the carpet. A must see.
Afterward stop and have tea in Chado; outstanding food served by a knowledgable wait staff, in a delightful garden.

1 Thank MEAS512
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.

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