A favorite San Francisco destination of locals and visitors is the Japan Center Malls East and West, in the complex more commonly known as Japantown. It's a fabulous place to savor delicious, authentic Japanese cuisine and treats, from sushi and ramen to crepes and mochi. It's also an amazing destination for unique gift buying, perfect for this holiday season when you're looking for just the right items for everyone on your list. Explore a diverse array of shops carrying merchandise like silk kimonos, one-of-a-kind watercolor paintings, teapots and tea accessories, anime books and fine jewelry. Playland Japan in the West Mall is a mesmerizing arcade and toy store. Daiso Japan—some call it the Japanese dollar store—is a fun place for inexpensive yet adorable stocking stuffers and small gifts like cute erasers and stationery, plus kitchen and bath wares.
Japantown is also known for its special cultural events. This holiday season, in between the usual J-Pop dance parties, sumo exhibitions and taiko drummers, Japan Center Malls welcomes a special visitor—Santa Claus! He'll be setting up his Workshop and ready to greet his fans. Children are welcome to bring their holiday wish lists to discuss with the Man with the Bag. Santa will also be available for special photo ops. Bring your own camera to capture the moment! Santa will be at the East Japan Center Mall, at Post and Buchanan streets, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 5-6 and Dec. 12-13, 2015, 1-5 pm. The event is free! For more information visit the Japan Center Malls events page.